You Can’t Get There From Here. Grade changes in a landscape require steps to transition from one level to another, to prevent erosion, and for safety. Whether quarried natural stone, concrete (block or pavers), or brick, they should be solid and useful. The most common material for landscape steps is natural stone.
Step design starts with the style of the landscape and home. Steps add interest to the landscape and can make a statement at an entry, pique curiosity about the destination, or simply provide easy access to other parts of the landscape. Steps and stairs can be decorative, with or without rails, lit with low voltage outdoor lighting from top to bottom, edged with plants to add color, curved or straight, with or without landings.
Correct sizing is important. The common formula for landscape step construction is a 6-inch riser and a 12-inch tread. However, riser heights from 4 to 7 inches can be used. The relationship between riser and tread should remain constant throughout the entire flight of steps/stairs. Wide steps are perceived as more welcoming and allow side-by-side climbing. Plus, wider steps also allow for container gardens or a private spot to sit.
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