Simple Paving Tips for Steps


Steps can be an important design feature in your yard and garden, and it is worth spending some time making sure that they fit in with the general look. As a rule, garden steps should be less steep than stairs in the house and a minimum of 3 ft. wide. The more shallow and the wider the steps, the more leisurely the effect. An attractive impression can be made with steps that are built across the entire width of a small garden and incorporate both planting holes and container plantings.

Make sure that the materials used for the steps complement the house and garden. You may be planning on adding steps leading to your home gazebo or deck or patio. You might also have a fence or gate that is made of a particular type of material. Keep in mind that the material you choose will enlist a certain effect.

If you were to use wooden steps, this would give a more natural woodland effect, while concrete steps might give a more formal look to your landscape. Metal steps are best used close to the house. For example, wrought iron steps can be effective when leading down from a balcony, while brick steps with stone or concrete blend well into many areas.

paved steps

The stone brick should be repeated elsewhere in the garden, such as in the paving material for the path or terrace. Old stock bricks and natural stone will give a traditional effect, whereas new bricks and sharp white concrete can bring a modern feel to the garden.

To create a frame for your steps, line them with raised beds or as a simple row of stakes. Shrubs look good incorporated along your steps. They can screen parts of the steps and make them look more natural and appealing,

Helpful Hints

When planning steps for your garden, consider carefully the proportions of the riser(height) to the tread(depth). Generally, the deeper the steps, the shorter the riser should be to facilitate easy stepping. Here are some guidelines to follow.

Tread                Riser

14 in.                6 in.

16 in.                5 in.

18 in.                4 in

When you are calculating the total height of a step riser, allow for the height of the mortar joints and the thickness of the paving slab, as well as the height of the riser  unit.

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