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pinksand
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Re-doing garden steps!

My wooden garden steps are decaying and falling apart. I had planned to sand and resurface them, possibly with a textured paint since they get very slippery when wet, however they're a bit beyond repair at this point. When I looked at possibly replacing a few steps I noticed how poorly they were installed to begin with so I decided to scrap the whole idea and budget for new steps. My husband and I were going to try to take on the job ourselves, but our schedules alternate so that we don't often have time to work on these things together. I'm also much more motivated than he is during projects like this and unfortunately don't think it's something I can take on alone.

Long story short, I'm getting estimates for the stairs to be redone in stone! Image

I'm thinking of either doing flagstone risers with a single large flat stone stepper like this https://www.omistonework.com/images/ston ... one-lg.jpg or flat boulder steps like this https://www.raveplants.com/landscaping/p ... der-steps/ Any thoughts or suggestions? I have 2 estimates scheduled for next week.
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

It's just a matter of personal taste, but personally I love the ones in the first link and not entirely fond of the second ones, which seem massive and like they would over power the small space.
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tomf
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

I think going stone will be worth the cost and effott.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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tomf
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

Also I like the look of your yard and it will make it look better.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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skiingjeff
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

I agree with Rainbow that its a matter of personal choice. We did steps in our yard with stone and love them because they are sturdy and don't get uneven after many years if done correctly.

You seem to keep the rest of your plantings more uniform rather than rustic so the stone steps seem to fit better with the surroundings. But that could just be because it's the type we like to look at. :)

Good luck with your project. I'm sure whichever you choose will be beautiful!

imafan26
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

I think stone is a good idea, there will be less maintenance since it doesn't rot and especially if you are planning to use those larger stones, it will be heavier so hiring it out to a stone mason who will prepare the base will be better. I would actually myself think that your stairs are a little steep for the stones in the picture so the stones would probably have to be narrower unless you can reroute it to make it less steep.

Even a concrete base finished with stone or textured colored concrete and a handrail at least on one side would be practical. The upper part where it is less steep the stones can be wider and larger.
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pinksand
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

skiingjeff wrote:You seem to keep the rest of your plantings more uniform rather than rustic so the stone steps seem to fit better with the surroundings. But that could just be because it's the type we like to look at. :)
Everything here was planted by the previous owners so actually uniform isn't quite my personal taste. I've kept everything here since the shrubs are so well established and help fight erosion... but they wouldn't be my choice if I were starting fresh.

I'm hoping to actually have the steps extend a bit further up than they currently go and eventually extend the garden up with a curved border instead of the currently straight edging. I think our decision on the style will ultimately be dependent on price... we'll see!
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
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pinksand
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

The project is underway and should be finishing up today! I went with the boulders. I couldn't find anyone that did the dry stacked look under the large stepper pictured in my first link and this quote came in better than another company that quoted me for mortared flagstone risers like these

Image

The wooden steps ended up being fairly hollow from decay
Image

After demolition
Image

Steps installed but in need of some cleanup
Image

Image

Looking down from the top, I'm going to extend the garden on the right up to the curve of the top step probably this fall. I'd love to do the same with the space to the left (looking down), but it's a much larger space and there's a lot of exposed rock that makes it difficult to grow anything there. I have lots of ideas but that's for another year and another thread ;)

I'll post some final photos once the crew has cleaned up the space and I've mulched. The shrubs should fill back in and soften the edges of the stones which I think will be nice.
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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pinksand
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

I just finished the curved bed at the top of the steps and figured I'd post the update here.
Image

I think it's far more attractive than the straight bed that was there. It's a tricky spot for planting due to the dryness of the slope and the fact that there are boulders under the soil. So far I've planted a lavender plant that's been in need of a home and will probably get some more to join it. I also planted baby hens and chicks that I've been growing from seed since winter. There's a tiny serviceberry tree growing in the middle that was planted a couple years ago. I will probably transplant various other plants from throughout the garden that can tolerate dry conditions.

I'll take a photo from the bottom of the steps and post it as well!
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

imafan26
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

Looks beautiful.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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pinksand
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Re: Re-doing garden steps!

Thanks imafan! I honestly just love having stable steps that don't wobble anymore :) My dog LOVES to just sit on the the top step and watch the world go by. The old steps were really unevenly spaced with different depths. Even though these are natural and obviously imperfect in their shape and form, they're easier to climb and descend.

Here's a photo from the bottom.

Image
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson



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