Step Up Your Hardscaping

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 Which part of your outdoor design holds more meaning than steps? “Steps” flood our imagination and our language. We have giant steps, baby steps, one step forward, and two steps back. We step it up, step down, step aside and step away. We have spring in our step when we make a step in the right direction. We can be a step ahead or a step behind. And we always have to watch our step to keep in step with the times!

 

Needless to say, steps can be a complex matter! Although they work on the simple principle of rising or lowering a path from one level to another, steps mean a lot to people, both literally and figuratively. It’s worth it to take the extra time (i.e., to go step by step!) to get their installation right.

Wood steps tend be the quicker, cheaper option for backyard spaces. The wood can definitely fit in certain designs, but will need replacing after a few years, especially if the wood stairs are placed on a frequently used pathway. Even the most aggressively treated wood can only fare so well in a 4-season environmental zone. The extreme temperatures contract and expand the wood, leading to weaknesses in the structure. Anyone on the east coast with a wood deck knows this all too well.

We, of course, prefer stone. It’s beautiful, it lasts, and is easy to maintain. But beyond the practical features of paving stones, they offer many ways to add to the inherently uplifting spirit a set of steps can represent. A breathtaking trend lately is to install mosaic or other art on the risers of staircases, especially if the steps escalate above eye level. Steps need not ascend in a straight line, either. After all, does life ever go that simply? Curved stairs are a snap with paving stones, as the paving stones can be sized for the project. They also can be made to look formal, rustic or somewhere in between so there’s always an option that complements your outdoor space and taste.

    

 Think of your next steps with some of these ideas in mind. Or for more step ideas visit https://www.ephenry.com/photo-gallery/steps/

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