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.
How to build steps
- 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.
- String line
- Tape measure
- Builder’s trowel
- Spirit level
- Pointing trowel
- Paving slabs
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