garethlittle
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Log steps stopper stake length

Am planning building some simple log steps, the kind you see on nature trails, this kind of style:

Image

I haven't been able to find any clear instructions for making these and the one thing I'd really like to know is how long the vertical support stakes should be. My garden is very steep so was thinking it would have to be long enough to have around 75% of the stake below the ground and 25% above, but wanted to get confirmation. Does anyone have any experience of making these kind of steps?

Would greatly appreciate any help anyone is able to give me.

Gareth

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Gary350
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Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Log steps stopper stake length

I have built those kind of steps 50 years ago. Don't use soft wood like pine or soft maple or you will be replacing rotten logs in 3 years. If you decide you want each step to be a 6" step up the logs need to be 7" diameter so bottom side of log will be 1" deep setting in dish shape soil so log does not try to roll. End stakes need to be hard wood and a minimum of 1 ft deep. If you start at the top of the hill and work down it is easy to get the first step even with the soil at the top of the hill. If you start at bottom then top step might turn out to be 3" or 9" step up instead of 6" that you want. I personally like 8" steps but that means I have to use 9" diameter logs. The hardest part of this project is finding logs the same diameter. But if you totally depend on the 2 stakes to hold each log in place then log diameter is not very critical. Steps are quick and easy to build if you don't worry much about log diameter being too small but steps become a mini water fall when it rains then soil washes away from the logs. If you build each step to match random log diameters then you get, 5", 6", 7", 8". steps all mixed together this works good if the hill slope is not the same all the way up the hill. If you volunteer to work the Appalachian trail one summer you get to build this type steps. I wish I was young enough again to spend the whole summer camping in the wilderness.

garethlittle
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Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:02 am

Re: Log steps stopper stake length

Thanks for your quick reply. I guess my steps will be quick mismatched/rustic since as you mentioned, the slope is not at a consistent angle and I already have some logs of varying sizes. Thanks for telling me about the stakes, I'll go with a minimum 1ft length under the ground, that was the part I was most worried about. Wish I could get hands on instruction but have to make 3 of these around my garden so will hopefully be reasonably good at it by the time I finish!

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