This post will give you a good idea on how to build garden steps using paving slabs and bricks for garden construction purposes.
This may seem obvious to many but whether your planned garden steps are going up to a set of patio doors, or connecting down into a lower garden; steps need to be built of uniform height and width as variations in step dynamics can cause accidents as well as falls, as people can become wrong-footed.
An ideal garden step has a riser of 6”(150 mm) with a tread of 18 to 20” (450 to 525 mm), in calculating the run of steps up a garden bank. Therefore, the number of steps needed is determined by dividing the total height to climb (you will need to get this spot-on) by the riser height (150 mm).
This will then give you the number of treads (steps) required to achieve the climb comfortably. The next step is to measure the linear distance carefully for the set of steps i. e. The distance horizontally.
Divide this distance by the number of steps that you need (from the 1st calculation) – this will then give the tread length. Using a timber batten measure and cut a spacer to this length for tread construction.
Build the risers using two courses of brickwork on a concrete foundation, build-in cavity wall ties protruding from behind behind the riser, back-fill with concrete level with the top course of bricks.
Using the spacer, build the next riser on the concrete back fill with the same method, you might have to work from the side of the step carcass to avoid treading on new work.
Proceed up working carefully and cleanly, when completed and gone hard, you can pave your step carcass with your preferred slabs of paving (for example, Indian stone; like as shown in both the images).
Leave an overhang of 1 to 1.5” over the brick riser for the rain to drip over, stick the paving slabs down carefully with 3 to 1 soft sand-to-cement mix, with the paving falling slightly towards the front for drainage.
These paving slabs need to be adhered to the carcass very well as a loose slab on a step is very dangerous!
Point-in the paving as you build as the pointing mix will blend-in with the bed mortar whilst still wet.
Occasionally, if the site dynamics demand, steps will need taller risers than the standard 150 mm mentioned, as in the top picture – where the limitations and maths dictated that these risers had to be 175 mm. Most people are okay with this height of step but care should be taken with the very young and elderly who might find these difficult.
Also please note, that in terms of health and safety, a tailor-made handrail should be fitted to the steps.
You should now have a good idea on how to build garden steps.
(c) Copyright 2013, Mark Cook, All Rights Reserved. Written For: gardenconstruction.net