Steps for our lake house bank.... Picture

newoldhouserApril 29, 2014

We are in need of some type of steps for our steep lake bank. I would love to hear what options you all think would work! Stone, brick, diy/professional???? I have no clue! Thanks so much.

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Should be step' patio,add pergola,fence.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 8:57PM
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I would love a pergola at some point, but we aren't having any fences. We have 2 brick steps off the porch then it's just grass all the way down the hill to the lake. Just wondering what y'all's opinions were on what type of stairs/steps we should use.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 12:05AM
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Wow what a gorgeous lake house. I'd just roll down the hill until I hit water! Depending on your taste towards formal or informal. I see fieldstone or flagstone maybe. If formal, straight down the hill with a landing court in the middle of the hill with stone benches and landscape planters built in. You could also grade natural grass steps in with stone or brick as retaining wall edges for a softer descent. If you don't want grass, fill each step with gravel like granite for traction. I grew up around the Chain of Lakes in Wisconsin where many cottages put in boardwalks down to their lake fronts. You could vary that theme by zigzagging a gravel banked path down the hill. Do a simple web search for Garden Steps, a bunch of great images come up with every sort of material shown. The house is traditional and classic, so I'd carry that down the hill as an interpretation. Have fun with your project and enjoy the house.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 5:58AM
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Does any of the pictures in the below link appeal to you. Seems like you could go lots of different direction. All depends on what style you like and what your budget is.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of steps

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:36AM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

Great looking house.
My preference would be for a set of simple clean lined concrete steps poured in a "floating" manner that undulate down the hill.

By coincidence we're working on a set of steps ( 30) that lead down a steep hillside.
One of the most interesting aspects of the stairway is the undermount lighting that will be used.

You might find it interesting. It is called LED wet tape under-mount lighting and it gives a beautiful soft glow to the steps.

here is an example taken from the website of Houzz.
Architect unknown but the lighting designer is Greg Mackell.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 3:52PM
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At the moment your steep slope appears stable and fully grassed. Soil type and potential erosion problems should be your main consideration as to final choice. Frankly, I would not cut into the slope. Wooden steps well detailed by a master carpenter would work and possibly avoid problems. In your Zone 10 climate consider paying the extra dollars for cypress wood or one of the Trex type composite products.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 4:06PM
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I think that traditional steps look better when flanked with wide cheeckwalls and are set into the grade rather than sitting on top of it. So I'd use cheeckwalls at the house and at the bank. And keep the steps W I D E . (Narrow/average steps will bring the whole look down a few notches. The steps also stand a chance to be used as seating and as a gathering area from time to time.) As far as material, concrete would be fine, but since you're already using brick at the house, you could continue with it, if keeping the theme is desired. The sketch is scratchy, but I think it can give you the general idea. I intended the width to appear same as at house, but not sure if accomplished.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 6:53PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Do you have a budget?

I ask because you can DIY with railroad ties, bricks between, all the way down, or you can spend a lot and get it professionally done.

Where do you stand?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 6:55PM
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I mean:

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:37PM
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Or add a patio.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:53PM
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    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:59PM
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Thank you all so much for your help! I have decided I want to look into stone steps. Like the picture. I'm not sure if this is a diy job though. We have the man power, just not exactly sure how to go about it. I don't exactly have a budget, but of course... I'm not looking for the most expensive steps I can do. Thanks again for all your input.

And elysianfields......there has definitely been some rolling down that hill! Thanks for y'all's compliments.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:29PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

the type of steps that you show above are not in the realm of a first time diy project.

also, that rock style doesn't really speak to the architectural style of the architecture.

in a case like this , it would enhance the property value to have your architect marry the style of the steps to the architecture.

all too many times , especially on this diy website, we see poorly mismatched hardscape installations devalue the property instead of enhancing it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:13PM
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I would also check into what kind of regulation there is as far as installing steps along a shore line. You may find that inset steps that require digging into the bank have different permissibility than wooden ones that are set on top with less required digging.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:22PM
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Would brick steps down a hill like mine be a possibility? Pros/cons? That would match my architectural style, right?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:30PM
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I think the stone steps you chose fit really well, they carry the light color of the house down the hill, you can landscape along them down the slope seasonally. Though I prefer that natural edge to things. It's a cottage by a lake, not a mansion in Beverly Hills, anything you do will increase your property value. We are in a cottage in the woods that landscapers in the 50's used remnant concrete pretty heavily as accenting. It ages like stone and grows moss on it. These are old formal garden stairs that were not installed well and tilted.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 3:07AM
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This is what the stairs look like now after being filled over so I could use the old ones beneath for drainage. When it pours up here, the water comes down behind the house and spills into a flume that drains to the road. You would have to have someone drop a load of stone slabs as close as possible to your slope, you can dig impressions where they will set, then flip them into place. Big job, though I took a sledgehammer to all the formal walks and a patio in our yard and reused it all for other projects.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 3:15AM
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Thanks so much, I was second guessing myself on the stone!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 9:26AM
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Of course brick steps would be a possibility if you're using brick steps elsewhere. It's carrying on a theme, which is generally safe, unless it goes on ad infinitum. Then, it could become a little boring, but that's very unlikely to happen on a small scale residential project. Sometimes, it can add interest to mix materials, if the mixing is done judiciously. (Frequently we see it done with abandon. While many people find it likable, I don't think it speaks to good taste, class, or genuine good looks beyond a certain point.) There are cheap, homely ways of doing things, or more expensive and classier ways: Use brick laid on edge for the treads, rowlock style (not flat.) Overhang/project the nose of the treads outward one inch beyond the face of the treads. Probably use colored mortar. Treads should be 16" front-to-back depth. 6" riser. The exposed portion of a cheekwall should be 16" width, not 8". If sacrificing on these details, it would be better to use concrete.

The "con" of using brick is expense or not working out the design details correctly. There are innumerable examples of brick and concrete combining with handsome results, so it's easy to imagine brick cheekwalls and concrete steps -- or the reverse -- working well. It's also easy to imagine concrete as the sole material working well.

I agree that the stone steps (shown in the 21:29 picture) are out of character for the rest of the development ... especially knowing that brick steps are at the porch.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 9:27AM
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I forgot to mention that my lake bank is a rock wall. My porch is lined with brick and has two brick steps off of it. So I do have a mixture of materials. I'll post a picture of the rock wall in a little while. Thanks for all the input!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 12:27PM
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I am surprised no one has mentioned a hand rail. Please have a rail.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 3:55PM
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