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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.
Concrete steps and boulder wall lead from the front yard to backyard.
Curving steps with stone veneer and smooth stone caps.
An elegant limestone staircase with large-format treads leads to a luxurious outdoor living room.
This split asymmetrical staircase, divided by a built-in planter, leads to a saltwater pool.
Irregular boulder wall and Chilton stone steps add some rugged character to this backyard.
Stone steps cut from boulders blend right into this stacked boulder retaining wall.
A path from the front yard descends down this saw-cut boulder staircase past a basalt column bubbler and native perennials.
Natural stone steps with flagstone walkway.
Multiple sets of steps run up a steep slope which helps this family safely access their outdoor spaces and the lake.
Our Design-Build Process
When their neighbor’s yard transformed from a hill of dirt into a terraced backyard, this homeowner decided it was time to make some changes of their own.
Empty nesters in the process of moving back to Minnesota from California, these homeowners envisioned a tranquil and relaxing backyard with a walk-out patio with wood burning fireplace. Upstairs, they wished for a private dining patio close to their kitchen.
Working through uncooperative weather and into December, our designer and installation crews went the extra mile (or ten) to create this suburban luxury landscape.
The focus of this project was to make the back yard wheelchair accessible and add curb appeal. The project was completed over two years. The front yard was completed first, then the backyard.
These Edina homeowners wanted a place to greet neighbors in the front yard, places to entertain in the back, and a spa they could use year-round.
Front yard landscape design drawing on the modern farmhouse architectural style of this Edina, MN home.