max. & min. front to back dimension for steps for shallow rise

by Don
(Newark, DE USA)

Question about landscape steps for slopes.


Shallow hill about 5 foot high slight grade, what would be the min dimension and the max dimension for the front to back of the steps using large pavers for instance.

ANSWER

Hi Don,
Are you looking for the number fo steps or are you looking for the height of the risers....or both. Either way, along with the 5 foot change in elevation, I would need the horizontal distance (or angled) from the bottom of the slope to the top of the slope. Then I can advise.

Thanks,
Susan

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Outside Steps | Door Step

by Celia
(Ontario, Canada)

This is a question about outside steps and the beginning height as you step out the door.

Hi,
My question is regarding the very top step where the thresh hold of the french doors are. Can the thresh hold be extended outward to form sort of a small landing, approx. 2 1/2 feet? Any pictures that I've seen of a patio, the stairs always start from under that thresh hold. When you build a deck, the deck goes right to the thresh hold of the french doors so I'm wondering if the same applies when constructing a patio.

Thank you.

ANSWER

Hi Celia,
The first step down outside any door entry should be at least four inches. You can design that first step to be a landing as you described, but it should be a minimum of four feet deep (although you can get away with three feet) for comfort.

The reason for this is so that no water problems are created at the door where water might enter the house. In addition, if you do create a landing, it should pitch away from the house at 1/4 inch per foot.

The reason you often see decks at just about the same level as the door (actually they are a bit below) is because water does not collect on a deck. There are opening between the deck boards which allow the water to seep through.

I'm not sure if you are asking this question due to the fact that you just like that look or if there is an issue. If so, let me know what it is. There are various ways to solve problems such as these. Sometimes you have do re-grade an area so that a patio works right regarding drainage.

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Outdoor Steps


(Cheshire)


We have about 20 outdoor steps leading down to our modern apartment. The steps are made from terracotta tiles with step edge ribbed for grip. They are set onto cement with 2 brick risers.

The tiles are breaking and are not made anymore, so we are looking to replace them. We would like a more contemporary look and want them to be non slippery/weather resistant. Can you suggest any materials for a reasonable diy man?

Comments for Outdoor Steps

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Mar 21, 2009
Step Paving Materials
by: Susan

Here are some materials you might take a look at: (These would look well with a Mediteranian color.)

Travertine Pavers - these come in so many colors, that you might find one to work well with your surroundings. Not slippery. You could use matching tile for the risers.

Bluestone - this looks well with brick. You could do the risers in face stone or re-do in brick. Treads can be separate pieces or one long piece of bluestone.

Susan

Mar 21, 2009
Concrete Base of Steps
by: Anonymous

I had hoped to cover the brick as well. The steps are bounded by the building wall and a 4' side wall in a peach brick. I intend to paint the wall with a "mediterranian colour".

Some tiles are not in good condition. They are chipped and cracked. I will remove these to get to the concrete base to resurface with another more contemporary paving material.

Mar 21, 2009
Landscape Steps
by: Susan

Are you considering re-doing the brick risers of the landscape steps also or are those to remain?
What does your house look like, material-wise, as it should all go together?
Are the steps in good condition, ie, is the concrete stable...are there any cracks, etc.?

Let me know and I'll try to make some suggestions.

Susan

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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
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