Landscape steps might be needed in various places.
Outdoor steps might be incorporated into a walkway design where they are necessary to lessen the steepness of the walk. There might be a raised patio
where a transition is required to get to a lower or upper level. Landscape steps can also be used where they would make for easier access along a steep area.
When designing garden steps, it works well if the height of the riser multiplied times two, plus the depth of the tread equal between 24" and 27".
The materials used for the steps should go well with any paving adjacent to them, whether that be walkways or patio designs. Be sure to see my page with videos of some excellent examples of Stone Steps and Paver Steps
Here are some different paving materials that you can use for landscape steps.
You can certainly use brick risers and treads to match your walk or patio.
However, you might also consider brick risers and bluestone treads. Depending on the width of the steps, the treads can be one continuous slab of bluestone or cut into pieces.
I prefer one piece as then there are no joints, as shown in this photo and also the photo below.
You can also use one large solid piece of bluestone which serves as both the tread and the riser. Each one looks like a large long block of stone, perhaps 6" high by 4' long.
Bluestone "steppers" or "garden stones" are also available. These are large irregularly shaped pieces of bluestone. Since bluestone looks pretty with brick, any of these design ideas will look great. You can see a picture of the bluestone steppers here. There is also a photo of them further down on this page.
However, you can also use bluestone treads with stone risers. This is a nice option, as it stone risers break up the bluestone paving a bit. The stones making up the risers can be either dry laid or face stone mortared on concrete. This photo shows the risers done in face stone.
Bluestone treads can be either natural cleft or thermal finish.
There are a few different options to coordinate landscape steps (materials) with paver walkways or patios. You can use a coordinating block, such as Versa-lok Mosaic for the risers.
Treads of landscape steps can be made out:
I try to match the block and concrete pavers.
A nice combination that I used recently was the Eagle Bay - Grand Cay Cobbled paver in the "Blue Ridge" color along with the Eagle Bay Anchor Highland Stone (this was the block for the risers and nearby walls) also in the "Blue Ridge" color. They looked great together. All of the selections were a mixture of grays and tans. Here are some of my favorite paver suppliers and specific pavers that I like.
You can also use the above mentioned bluestone steppers with paver walkways or patios, as long as the paver color looks well with the bluestone.
You might also be interested on my page and great video on porch steps.
I love to use the bluestone steppers right in the lawn. They can be as wide and as deep as you like. I will often create small planting beds along the edges of the steps with low growing perennials such as Thyme or Sedums. You can also use groundcover. This all creates a very casual and natural area.
They can also be used with large planting beds. Here, it is as if the steps are going through the plantings.
If many landscape steps are needed, I prefer to group them. You
might just need three steps, and in this case I would try to place them
together. If you need as many as ten, for example, I would create a
grouped series, such as four, three and three. There would be walking
space or landings between these groups.
"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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