Changes of Level – how to use steps to add interest to a garden design

It is the case that most gardens, unless situated on the Wash or the Somerset levels, are on some form of slope. Many have to cope with steep level changes either from external doors to ground level directly next to house or further down the garden as the ground slopes away or rises. These slopes can be shallow or steep in gradient and afford designers not only challenges but also opportunities for inventive designs.

stone step treads - steepOf course, steps are the solution to slopes. They take you form one level to another and change the perspective of the space. From the bottom of a set of steps you see the risers, whereas from the top just the treads and mid-flight a little of both. As they form such a stand out feature in the garden, it is important to make sure they are interesting as well as safe. Whether you choose beautifully sawn sandstone paving or a more unusual paving slab, the design of the steps offers plenty of opportunity for creativity.

Some of the details a landscaper, architect or designer will have to consider are:

  • The height of each individual riser
  • The depth of each tread
  • The type of paving stones – sandstone, limestone, granite, etc.
  • The surface – natural, riven or sawn paving slabs
  • The shape of the front edge of each step. For example, bullnose edging
  • The shape of the whole flight – straight, curved or wrap around steps.
  • Whether or not to add a wall or railing to either side of the flight
  • Choice of matching or contrasting coping stones for any wall
  • Selection of pier caps to match the coping stones to finish off any walling
  • Whether the sloping land to either side of the steps is to be planted, laid to lawn or retained with some form of walling.

In a small area, where there is the need for a couple of turns to cope with a steep drop in a tight space, we are able to cut step treads and risers to a designer’s or architect’s 3D CAD drawing and specifications. Our Bespoke Stone Centre is able to cut individual step treads with a curved front edge using our CNC machine. Our technology optimises the use of the stone by calculating the most efficient layout for the individual pieces, thus reducing wastage.

Steps tend to be used all year round and so we would highly recommend sealing the patio slabs. This will make the stone easier to clean in comparison to unsealed stone. Regular jet-washing will help to keep the surface dirt-free and, therefore less slippery, in wet weather and reduces the risk of permanent staining to lighter colours, such as Fossil Mint Indian sandstone and Mint Indian sandstone.

So on your next sloping garden project please get in touch with one of the London Stone team and see how we can help supply you with the perfect flight of stunning steps. For inspiration take a look at our gallery of pictures of paving suitable for steps.

By London Stone Blog | Published 22nd October 2014
Previous Post Next Post