To build a staircase in the house and to observe all the dimensions and regulations is considered a high art of craftsmanship. However, the situation is different for an outdoor staircase in the garden. Especially if the plot is not on one level, but on a slope, a few steps are always necessary. To design the level differences in the garden, there are already several options. In most cases, prefabricated steps come into question, but they have a great weight and do not always perfectly fit the conditions. If the slope is not too steep, in many cases it is enough to lay stones or gravel on the garden path. Otherwise, a simple outdoor staircase made of wood and gravel is an excellent option that can be perfectly integrated into any natural garden design.
Outdoor stairs made of wood and gravel
A garden staircase is not only for overcoming the differences in height of the plot, but also has a visual impact that affects the overall garden design. It softens the overall appearance of the outdoor area and at the same time leads up to the house or through the garden. The steps should be inserted harmoniously and form an attractive unit with the plants and the existing elements in the garden. For a naturally landscaped garden, outdoor stairs made of wood and gravel are particularly suitable. Another option might be a staircase made of natural stone. However, this will be much more difficult to purchase.
Build an outdoor staircase yourself
When it comes to a hillside property that does not turn out to be longer than a meter, outdoor stairs are suitable as a DIY project. However, if this should be higher, a railing must make a design. Stairs leading to the entrance of the house or basement, whether representative or not, must be approved and meet the requirements of the building code. On the other hand, in the case of a simple outdoor staircase in the terrain, there are not very strict rules.
If you want to build an outdoor staircase in the garden yourself, materials such as concrete, clinker or blocks of sandstone, slate, limestone, etc. come into question. Wood is also a possible option. In this case, the material should be well impregnated beforehand. For outdoor use, boards made of larch, oak, Douglas fir, Bangkirai, Massaranduba and Cumaru are particularly suitable.
Simple outdoor stairs made of wood and gravel: billet stairs
Probably the simplest and quickest solution for an outdoor wooden staircase in a natural garden is a billet staircase. It features a simple construction of stakes, planks or boards and the space in between is filled with crushed stone or gravel. Knüppeltreppen are often found while hiking in the woods. They rarely look appealing, however, they win mainly by simplicity and naturalness. It should also be remembered that depending on the quality, the material has a limited durability.
If you build a billet staircase, you must first remove the floor in the designated places and create a slope. Then boards are laid across and the space between them is filled first with soil and then with gravel. The steps should be twice as long as high, otherwise they will not hold. For safety, two strong wooden stakes can be installed on both sides.
If you want to use thick wooden planks for the construction of stairs, they should first be built into wooden frames, which remain open on one side. With the wooden material should be remembered that it is weathered and in the rain there is an increased risk of slipping. In addition, it rots over time and also the loose covering spreads, so you need to annually recheck the stability of the steps.
Build garden steps yourself: Tips
Regardless of what material you choose for the garden stairs, you need to calculate the correct step height and tread width. There is a universal stair formula, which is based on the human physique and, in particular, the step size of an adult person. The optimal dimension for a step is between 15 and 18 centimeters in height and about 27 centimeters in tread. Thus, a staircase with these dimensions of the steps is perceived as comfortable. If the steps are too high, one is forced to climb. If they are too shallow, you have to go up and down with tripping steps. The stair formula is: 2 x step height + tread = min. 63 and max. 65. In your own garden and especially if the outdoor staircase is not used several times a day, you can deviate from the ideal dimensions for design reasons. However, a certain level of comfort must be provided and eliminate the risk of tripping.
Build a simple outdoor staircase yourself from wood and gravel: Instructions
Before you build a simple outdoor staircase of wood and gravel yourself, you need to measure the difference in level that the stairs should overcome. To do this, take a string or a tape measure and stretch it where the stairs should run. This measurement is essential for the project to succeed. Ideally, the tread height should be 10-18 cm and the tread depth should be about 30 cm or more. If the staircase should also bend, then you can take your own shoe length as a starting point and plan the steps accordingly.
Once you have determined the dimensions of the steps, you can prepare the base or wooden frame. To do this, cut the boards to the desired step height and slightly longer than the desired step width. From one side they remain open and will later be screwed to each other. Therefore, you must not forget about the holes for the screws.
Before assembly, it is recommended to pre-assemble the whole staircase once and eliminate any difficulties during the actual assembly. When the wooden frames are ready, you need to prepare the base.
In order for the steps to be well embedded and thus stable, it is necessary to dig out at least 10 cm of soil with the shape of the wooden frames. To do this, use a pickaxe and carefully work the topsoil for each step. Afterwards, you compact the soil so that it does not give way over time and slip.
Before placing and assembling the wooden frames, it is advisable to use a spirit level to measure the foundation of topsoil so approximately whether the levels are correct and fairly straight. With each step you need to dig a little deeper into the slope on the left and right.
Now you can put the individual steps on top of each other and connect them. You should also use the spirit level to check if everything is correct and the steps are straight. The individual wooden frames are fixed either with long bolts or with additional fasteners on both sides.
After the steps are placed and correctly positioned in the slope, you can fill the material into the steps and compact it. About 10 centimeters you fill in with soil and on top of it you leave a few centimeters, and then put a layer of gravel on top.
It is advisable to line the tread between the topsoil and the gravel layer with pond liner or protective fleece. This will prevent weeds from growing out and also prevent the pebbles from sinking.
When filling the steps, you can first lay a layer of gravel and then use the pebbles or possibly coarse and fine gravel. For additional stability is recommended on both sides of the simple outdoor stairs made of wood to give some soil, stones or gravel as well.
An outdoor staircase made of wood and gravel is a relatively simple hobby gardener or DIY task. However, even if you have used high quality wood that is well suited for outdoor use, you should treat it about once a year and check if it is still sturdy. Also before you install the stairs, wood stain is mandatory.