Our home came with no landscaping on the sides or in the backyard so we designed a plan for it which includes several patios, landings, planting beds and a pool area. Since money is always an issue with projects like these, we have divided it up into several small projects instead of trying to do it all at one time.The first thing we had to do was gain access to our backyard. The side of the house drops off down a 40 foot hill with no way to get down other than walking very carefully or sliding. Our home has lots of stone on it and we wanted to keep a look that was natural and matched the design of the house. After looking at all our options we decided to go with natural stone stair treads for the job.
The stones we chose were Tennessee Crab Orchard Stone which is a sandstone that has brown, tan, gray and rust colors in it that match the colors of the existing stone already on our house. Each tread measures 18 x 36 and is between 4-5 inches thick to give them a more natural look. They are sawn on 5 sides with a rough texture on the front lip which make them look weathered and not blocky and they have a sandblasted finish to give them dimension and make them less slippery to walk on when they are wet.
Some people may be able to install these stair treads themselves but we hired a landscaper to put them in for us because each stone weighs approximately 300 pounds and we needed to install 55 of them up a rather steep incline which was not something we felt we were remotely capable of doing ourselves. When they installed them, they placed them so they curved down towards our back yard which gives it a grand look that also blends in well with the flow of the hill and also makes them easier to walk down. Because they were installing it into an existing bank and there was still going to be a hill of dirt on one side of the stairs, they added rubble strips on the side to keep the soil and the pine straw in place so they did not wash away.
The stairs were added in the fall of last year and we love the way they look. Minimal planting were added at that time to just replant some bushes and bulbs that were displaced from another project but now that Spring is here and were are moving on with other projects around it, we are looking forward to plantings being added around it to really make the stairs pop.