Designing Landscaping Steps in Michigan

boulder landscape and stone steps

Landscaping steps are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also one of the best ways to increase property safety and accessibility. If you’re thinking about installing landscaping steps, you need to have a practical plan that outlines the overall scope of the project. In this article, we’ll cover some of the factors that you need to consider while you’re planning this project.

Factors to Consider When You’re Planning Your Project

Before moving forward with your landscaping project, there are four critical factors you should consider, including:

Michigan’s Building Codes

Make sure you are well aware of the local and state requirements surrounding external stairways. For example, the state of Michigan has very specific requirements for both internal and external stairways. First, riser heights should not exceed 8.25 inches (measured vertically). Secondly, handrails must be installed on steps that have four or more risers. Lastly, exterior stairways must have at least one light source in the vicinity (ideally near the top landing).

The Amount of Foot Traffic

Before choosing the material or determining the step height, it is crucial to know who will be using the steps most and how many people will be using them. If you have small children or senior adults, you want to prioritize their safety. You also want to determine if the steps will serve as decoration, garden pieces, or landscaping focal points.

The Number of Steps/Size

To figure out how many steps to include, you will need to know the total rise of the stairs. The total rise is the vertical height one will travel to get to the top of the stairs. You can place a long wooden board vertically at the bottom and measure the distance from the ground to the top. This would be your height. To know the number of steps, divide the total rise by the rise of each step.

The Material

You can build your landscaping steps from a wide range of materials. What you choose heavily depends on the landscaping design, your budget, and the purpose of the steps. Marble, travertine, granite, sandstone, and limestone steps are the most common types of outdoor steps.

How to Select the Right Landscaping Stone for Your Steps

If you already have an idea of the steps you want and how you will use them in your outdoor setting, your next step is choosing the most suitable stone for the job.
Ideally, you want to decide whether you intend to use the space for entertainment, a walkway to your garden, or a purely decorative piece that will have little-to-no foot traffic. If you use the ground near the steps to entertain family and friends, you want to make sure that the stone you use is decorative, easy to maintain, durable, and safe. Choose a material that will be flat and not too rough on the feet.
If you’re adding decorative steps, determine whether you need to add a water feature or any other landscaping feature like a sculpture at the top or around the steps. The steps can then be used occasionally by people who want to reach the landscaping features.

Find Your Solution With Help From Design One

Need to revamp your outdoor setting with steps? Turn to Design One. We can help you install any outdoor feature, including beautiful landscaping steps. From start to finish, we’ll work closely with you to ensure that you get the style and function you need. If you’re ready to discuss project details, fill out our online form today, and we’ll get you started with a free estimate.

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