Getting around a yard is easy if it is perfectly flat. If it has a noticeable slope, installing garden steps can make gardening more convenient. Besides making the space more functional, these garden steps give structure and add aesthetic appeal to the property. They can be made of different materials, and some of the most popular ones are stone and concrete.
Stone Steps vs. Concrete Steps: Aesthetics and Durability
Although more difficult to install due to their sheer weight, stone steps are preferred by homeowners because of their attractive appearance. They look more natural and come in more colors and textures than poured concrete, which tends to be a neutral gray. More design options give homeowners more freedom to match their garden steps with their chosen landscape design aesthetic.
When it comes to durability, stone steps are also a better choice. Unless laid properly, concrete likely cracks over time. Additionally, individual stones are easier and more affordable to replace than badly damaged concrete steps that must be demolished and repoured.
There are two ways to perform stone step installation. The formal approach involves careful measurement and calculation since it requires constructing the garden steps with precise riser height and tread depth. It may also need a considerable amount of excavation work. Since this method is time-consuming and challenging, working with a residential landscaping team is the best option. Unless homeowners have sufficient experience, performing DIY is not advisable.
Installing stone steps can also be done more informally. It needs only a minimal amount of excavation. The treads are made to float by embedding slabs of rock in the soil. Experienced DIYers can opt for this method, but they should prepare to move around and position heavy building materials on their own.
Here is the process involved in a typical stone step installation:
1. Calculate the Step Width
Generally, garden steps must be 3-5 feet wide. Determine the exact step width using the width of large rock slabs or placing smaller stones side by side.
Use stakes and strings to lay out the stairway on the slope. Next, remove the grass with a spade and form a flat surface to make a step. Set the width of the excavation with the layout strings as a guide. A good rule of thumb is to make garden steps 7-8 inches high and 12 inches deep. Flatten the surface and smooth the excavation with a garden rake.
3. Place the Stones
Create the steps by positioning the stones in place. Their front face must be relatively smooth and level. To achieve this, remove or add soil beneath the stones. Once the steps are level, set the stones into the soil using a rubber mallet. Repeat this process until all garden steps are created. Ideally, the following steps must slightly overlap the back of the previous steps by several inches.
Stone steps can complete the look and improve the functionality of gardens. Since installing them in your yard can be complicated and involves hard labor, hire residential landscapers to do the work for you instead of completing the tedious task on your own.
At DSLD Land Management, we specialize in hardscape design from natural rocks and other construction materials, such as wood, iron, concrete, and pavers. Contact us today at 205-437-1012 or email email@example.com!