Landscape Steps
Bluestone, Brick and Pavers

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".

  • For example, a 6" riser and 12" tread would be comfortable, according to the above math. This is a very common relationship.
  • Risers can be anywhere from 4" to 9" high. However, staying below 8" will be more comfortable when using the steps.

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.

Outdoor Steps With Brick Walkway or Patio

Brick walk with bluestone treads.

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.

Brick Walkways
Brick Patios


Outdoor Stairs With Bluestone Walkway or Patio

Bluestone steps set in concrete.

If you have a bluestone walkway or patio, you might consider either the bluestone blocks or steppers. Take a look at some great project pictures and information on bluestone steps.

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.

  • Natural cleft bluestone is where the edge of the stone that you see is very straight and precise.
  • Thermal finish bluestone has a rougher, wavy edge.

Hardscape Design



Landscaping Steps For Paver Walkways and Patios

paver steps and walkway.

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:

  • bullnose pavers (shown in photo above)
  • paver coping stones (which are wider than bullnose)
  • matching block cap stone, which is used for tops of walls

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.


Steps in Lawn or Through Planting Beds

Fieldstone steps are both the riser and tread.

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.


Landscaping Costs
Find out what actual parts of a landscape cost. Plants, different paving materials, steps, pools, ponds, lighting, and more are all listed along with many photos to show examples!

Patio Plans For Inspiration
See actual patio plans that I did for some of my clients. Both 3D and plan view designs are shown so that you can use them or get ideas for your own project. Explanations are also provided.




Consider a Professional
Online Landscape Design

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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!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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