HELP! - Installing steps on a lakeshore

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by rfeedus, May 27, 2008.

  1. rfeedus

    rfeedus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I am trying to figure out the best way to build steps that lead down to our dock. I have built timber/brick and anchorstone steps before but never on a shoreline that freezes in the winter. Our lot has about a 4 ft drop from the lawn down to the water level. The rest of the shoreline is supported by a boulder wall. Currently there are timber steps that are in shambles. What I am most concerned about is the heaving that is caused by ice in the winter. I don't want to build something this season only to have to re-do it next.

    First things first: should I use timber, anchorstone or large stone steppers? second, how can I keep the class 5 (base gravel) from being washed out from under the lowest step/ affected by heaving ice - Should I run the boulder wall across the front of that lowest step?

    Does anyone have any suggestions?
  2. rfeedus

    rfeedus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I am willing to entertain all ideas. Don't be worried about giving bad advice. I am just looking for suggestions!! Please help.
  3. Ooomwizard

    Ooomwizard LawnSite Senior Member
    from atlanta
    Posts: 296

    Landscape timber makes good steps but rots out after time. It is the cheapest and easiest to install. It also looks somewhat natural in an outdoor setting.

    Block steps are also more difficult to install (to level and support on a grade) and cost more. They may after time heave as you suggested or come loose or shift.

    Natural stone steppers are going to be costly and most difficult to install. Good heavy stones from 4" to 8" thick will give a very natual look and are very stable, maybe even last for decades. It'll take some grunt work to cut a landing for the stone then roll or wheelbarrow the stone to the location. Get some big pry bars to scoot the stone into the best postion and have shovels, picks, a masons hammer (my choice for fine dirt leveling) and some laborers.

    Most expensive is "cut stone" steps. Very much like natural stone steppers but cut into nice step shaped pieces.

    No matter what you use I would suggest you put the steps in with a level. I've seen many many DIY stairs that are uncomfortable to walk on because they incline with the grade. Seen many retaining walls that slope with the grade too, they make me shudder. :nono:


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