How to Plan Landscape Steps
Landscape steps can add great charm to your garden and also give you a safely place to walk from without trampling the grass or flowers. While these fixtures are usually built by a contractor, you can easily build them over a weekend without outside assistance. This cuts down on costs and also leaves scope for improvisation. Follow the simple steps below to tackle this project. For best results, work on a weekend when it is not likely to rain or have other wet weather.
Step 1: Marking the Landscape Step Area
Choose where you want to build the steps. Mark the place by lining it with stones or sticks. Decide what kind of filler you want for the landscape steps. Both rock and gravel look great and drain well. Alternatively, you could use an assortment of both.
Step 2: Deciding the Height of the Stairs
It is up to you to decide how high you want your stairs to be. The gradient of the steps too are dependent on what you like. Ensure that the height you decide upon makes the steps look neat. You can decide to have fewer steps with greater height or more steps with lesser height.
First, measure from the topmost part of the first step area to the bottom of the last step. This gives you an idea of the height of the steps. Now, measure the lengthwise distance between these points to calculate the length of the landscape steps. Make sure that you drive the stake into the ground and measure from ground to the bottom. This allows you to calculate the horizontal and vertical run of the steps and gives an approximate idea about the amount of stones or gravel you will need to fill up the steps.
Step 3: Making the Ground Ready
Use a shovel to dig out the place where you want the steps to be built. Dig a minimum of 8 inches deep. Make the surface even by removing the pebbles. Place a few broken rocks to create a structure, similar to a platform. Insert a board on it —the step form.
Step 4: Laying the Wood Frames
Purchase wood sheets according to the size of the steps. Join two pieces to a base piece in a vertical manner. Place them one over another by gluing them to their outer edges or driving in long spikes at the edges. The frames must not coincide with each other. Repeat this till all are attached to form a stairway-like structure.
Step 5: Setting the Steps
Create a mortar out of a thinset mortar pack. Add water to make the mixture not too lumpy, but also not too lose. Use a trowel to spread this into the empty spaces between the frames. Place the initial layer of crushed stones, and take care to fill in the gaps. You could top it up with a gravel layer.
Keep adding sets of crushed stone or gravel till the frame height is reached. Repeat this until you have built all the landscape steps you want.