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    Building steps


    Summary: Learn how to build garden steps.



    Some gardens are on two or more levels, which will require paths on different levels to be linked by steps.


    Method

    • To work out the number of steps needed, divide the height of the slope by the height of one riser (include slab and mortar height).
    • The easiest way to measure the slope is to attach a length of string to a beanpole at the bottom of the slope and tie the other end to a peg at the top of the slope, making sure the string is level.
    • Then measure the distance between the string and the ground at the bottom of the slope.
    • Using a string line, mark out the width of the steps on the slope, and mark the front of each step, checking they are the correct sizes.
    • When you have dug the steps, compact the soil on each tread with a rammer.
    • Excavate a base on the first tread 6in deep and twice the width of the bricks you are using.
    • Fill this base with a 100mm (4in) base of hardcore, and then pour a layer of concrete on top.
    • Once the concrete has set, lay the first course of bricks for the riser, keeping the bricks level with the string line as you would when bricklaying.
    • Fill in the risers with hardcore until they are flush with the bricks and compress firmly by hand.
    • Position the slabs on a 10mm (½ in) deep layer of mortar, leaving a small gap between them.
    • Check that they are even with a spirit level.
    • Mark the position for the next riser onto the slab and repeat the process: mortar the bricks, add hardcore and lay the slabs. Continue in this way for the remaining steps.

    To measure the slope, attach a length of string to a beanpole at the bottom of the slope and tie the other end to a peg at the top, making sure the string is level.

    Once you have marked out  the width of the steps on the slope, and each step, you can dig out the steps.

    Excavate a base on the first tread 6in deep and twice the width of the bricks you are using and fill it with a 100mm base of hardcore, and then pour a layer of concrete on top.

    Position the slabs on a 10mm deep layer of mortar, leaving a small gap between them and check they are level.




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    Tools Needed
    • String line
    • Tape measure
    • Spade
    • Rammer
    • Builder's trowel
    • Spirit level
    • Pointing trowel
     
    Materials Needed
    • Cement
    • Sand
    • Aggregate
    • Bricks
    • Paving slabs
     
     
     
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