In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook explains how to build wooden landscapes steps.
Building wooden landscape steps
- Drive 1×2 stake into ground, then use straightedge and level to find height of top step; mark height on stake.
- Use level to find height of grade at bottom; mark height on stake.
- Measure between the two pencil marks to determine total height of all steps.
- Dig two trenches at bottom for installing 6×6 sleepers flush with grade.
- Use a circular saw and handsaw to cut 3-foot-long sleepers from a 6×6 timber.
- Treat cut ends of sleepers with wood preservative.
- Drill two 9/16-inch-diameter holes through the sleepers; position the holes 6 in. from each end.
- Set sleepers in trenches, making sure they’re level with the surrounding grade.
- Use sledgehammer to drive 48-inch-long rebar through the holes in the sleepers and into the ground.
- Set two 6×6 treads on top of the sleepers, forming the first step.
- Place sleepers on top of first sleepers to support the second step.
- Fasten the timbers to the sleepers with 10-inch-long landscaping screws.
- Backfill around sleepers with pea gravel.
- Continue adding 6×6 sleepers and 6×6 treads for each of the remaining steps.