steps outside patio doors (small backyard)

KarenApril 12, 2006

We have a small backyard, just about 35' deep by 40' wide. Our patio doors are 4 steps above the ground.

We want to build a patio at ground level (the houses are close together, not much privacy so don't want to build a deck at door level). I've seen photos of steps right outside the patio doors but I'm wondering if that's ok to do.

I don't want to waste space by having a small non-useable landing at the top of the steps, then the steps. It really juts out and makes our small yard look much smaller. I want to put the steps right outside the doors, straight to the ground with planters on either side. And then our patio on the ground.

So, do I need the landing or can I just do steps? H

ere are some photos of patio doors with steps, and also of our backyard showing the builder small deck that will be torn down.

I'd really appreciate any photos you have showing steps outside your patio doors. thanks much.

Patio picture I found with steps and a planter on either side that i really like:

another beautiful patio with just steps outside patio doors:


My backyard. This small 8x5 deck will be removed. I want to put just steps outside the door with no landing.

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The difference for you is that you will be required to have hand rails because of the height. Landings are necessary when a door opens outward. Yours and the ones in the pics are sliders, so you would not have to step back when opening the door. I think that you will find that building code will require hand rails when there is more than three risers.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 12:15PM
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macfairman(10 N. CA)

You will be required to have a landing and steps with hand rails, as other posters pointed out. We have a similar situation though I decided to go with a large deck (in about 5 years when we can afford it though...).

One reason the deck looks like it juts out is that ... it does! The grass is uniform around it. If you were to put in a patio that went around in the left of the photo and connected out into the yard and then back to the deck, and then used the area on the right for a perennial bed with some tall plantings, the deck would look like it fit in well.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 1:37PM
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A general answer - I think steps without a landing is fine (you were concerned with looks right?).
As for code considertions, you'll have to check. But putting in handrails won't stop you from having your stairs.
I might consider making them wider than the doors, So that the planters you plan on line up with the with the edge of the house there (don't forget to plan for the rails if they are going to be some sort of outside mount).

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 8:50AM
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Brent_In_NoVA(z7/6 VA)

Tearing out your old deck? Could you mail it to me? (just kidding). We actually just purchased some lumber to build a set of stairs out into my backyard. In our case, it is a temporary solution until we have enough money to build a real deck. We decided on a landing that is about 2' deep. It seemed better to have something to step onto rather than stepping right out onto the stairs. I have a door that swings into the house.

- Brent

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 2:37PM
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A friend of mine has a situation similar to yours.

The way he handled it was to build a raised paver patio-it's quite large and one step down (well--two steps counting the step out of/into the house) onto the patio, and then three steps from the patio onto the lawn. The level of the patio falls right between the level of the door and the lawn. He constructed it with those stackable wall systems. He has plantings planted around the perimeter and it is quite nice. You could do a deck at the midline too--would probably be a lot cheaper.

I don't know if you'd be interested in this midline solution, but thought I'd throw it out there. It would bother me to walk up and down 5 steps with no landing, especially if I had to carry stuff like a tray of food or a pile of squirt guns and open and close the door at the same time. It's something to think about.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 4:04PM
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