Getting around your property as easily—and safely—as possible is incredibly important but something that is not often given a lot of thought. However, if your property has steep slopes then ensuring it is easily traversable can be a challenge. This is where the implementation of steps can make a tremendous difference.
Even if your property has significant grade changes, the incorporation of walkways with steps can help make it much easier to get from point A to point B. Of course, being such a critical element of the landscape design, it’s important that the addition of steps is not an afterthought. You want to work with a landscape contractor who will incorporate these elements into the overall design in a way that enhances the landscape both aesthetically and functionally. After all, good hardscaping work should always achieve both of those purposes.
One of the key factors that your landscape contractor should be thinking about is how comfortable the stairs are to use. Nothing feels more awkward than walking down steps that were designed without much thought to their usage. Unfortunately, since landscape steps are often an afterthought for contractors, they’re simply not always given the attention they deserve.
The main factor to “comfortable” stairs is the length between them. It’s often most natural to traverse a steep slope by having a walkway with steps that are spaced out every so often—as opposed to just all steps in one big row.
The width of your walkways should also be considered. A general rule of thumb to follow is that a walkway should be wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side so that it doesn’t feel as though people need to walk in an awkward single-file line. Generally speaking, walkways should be somewhere around 5-feet wide if possible.
The other big factor in adding steps to your walkway is making it safer. Of course, if your stairs are not properly installed or safety isn’t kept at the forefront of their design, then it could completely defeat the purpose. The last thing that you want to do is make your property less safe by installing steps.
One thing to think about when it comes to keeping your landscape steps safe is how well the steps can be seen in the dark. If you have a property in which people are coming and going in the early morning hours or after the sun has gone down, then you’ll want to think about landscape lighting. Steps are a trip and fall hazard, particularly when people don’t see them coming. But if you add lighting to fully illuminate the steps, you’ll ensure that they can be easily traversed.
Similarly, in keeping safety at the forefront of your mind, you’ll also want to think about handrails. That’s a simple and easy way to make sure that people can go up and down your stairs with ease.
Getting it Right
When it comes to adding steps to your landscape, there may be a bit more to it than you realized. That’s why it’s important to choose a landscape contractor who won’t make steps an afterthought and throw something together that doesn’t fully meet your needs. People count on your property being safe and easily traversable. If you find that your landscape could benefit from adding walkways and steps, then consulting with a professional who will be able to offer you effective solutions will help keep your property functioning as it should.