Landscape Design forum: sloping walkway and stairs problem

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Jul 30, 2020 10:43 PM CST
We bought this house a year ago and something needs to be done with this walkway before next winter. Covered in ice or snow it's deadly. I hope you can tell from the pictures but it has a pretty good slope to it, the stairs as well. I assume this just happened over time. Over the 15 feet from the concrete to the stairs it drops about 18 inches. I'm not sure exactly where to start.
If I raise it to nearly level to eliminate the slipperiness, do I have to raise the surrounding area as well. I don't want bury the Wisteria tree too much. On the stairs side of the fence it drops off quite a bit too.
Should I start with stairs and get them where they need to be first, then connect the walkway ?

thanks for any advice or input you can offer.

Thumb of 2020-07-31/wilcurtis/2e9f89

Thumb of 2020-07-31/wilcurtis/b7174d

Thumb of 2020-07-31/wilcurtis/329e32

Lockhart, Texas (Zone 8b)
Hydroponics Greenhouse Region: Texas
Aug 5, 2020 8:34 AM CST
My first thought was that, if this is your forever home, it's worth making this into a major project. I bet it didn't become a slope over time, but someone just wanted a walk and did the least they could do. I assume that below the steps, it's okay, or at least not so hazardous.

I think that if I had the problem, I would add, if needed, an additional step to level between the steps and the gate. Then, I'd think about using a couple of steps down from the landing by the house to level with the gate from that direction.

You will have to attend to the sides where the yard will be higher than the bottom of the upper steps, but that can be managed with timbers or some more permanent installation, like concrete abutments.

I'd seriously consider sinking posts for a handrail at least as far as the gate on one side. It's still going to be slick when it's ices. If you're going to be in this house for life, there will come a time when you will really want things arranged so that you can move confidently. I have found the conundrum to be that, by the time you're so old that you really need things like leveled surfaces and handrails, you're getting too old to do a lot of those projects yourself. You will be sooooo happy you did those projects now.

And take the opportunity to make all the steps conform to proper rise and run. Little is more difficult to negotiate than poorly designed steps. That last step down to the walk looks like a bit too tall for comfort and safety.

Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Roses Zinnias Region: Missouri Cat Lover Dog Lover Bookworm
Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: United States of America Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Aug 5, 2020 6:05 PM CST
I agree
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Aug 6, 2020 11:57 AM CST
That walk and steps was deliberately laid the way it is , probably to simply blend in with the surrounding.

You can level it by laying a section of bricks x distance, step down, another section, step down etc., etc. , etc.
You will NEED to put a solid base under it whether it is level or not.

This will involve a LOT of time, and possible equipment.
While the base under the current walk is solid, as can be seen by the fact the bricks all seem to be level to their original laying, if you set them level, you will need a base of crushed rock laied level and then compacted level with a powered compacter, then sand screeded level to set the bricks on, edging to keep the bricks from moving, the bricks compacted, then sand swept between the crack of the bricks etc., etc., etc.
Our standard was bricks were laid 3/8 of and inch high and then compacted to desired level over 1/2 inch of sand.
The lawn area along the walk will have to be removed and dug down at ten inches on each side so you have room to work resetting the bricks.

Those steps were set that way on purpose, to level them as above for the pavers but the steps must locked in place, some how.
Is that concrete between the steps?
Are those steps large stones or separate pieces cemented together?

From the pictures that looks like it was laid at two separate times, not all at once a long time ago.
What I wrote here is at best an abstract of needs and problems.
When laying some thing like this, unless you are good with using a stone saw to cut bricks to odd shapes to fit, YOU NEVER, EVER do not start at one end and work to the other.
I worked on huge paver site at a college once and the ass hole college dude wanting it done insisted till my boss gave in we start at to side and meet in the middle.
We had a huge problem of pinching and trying to shave bricks , dozens not a few, to make the pinch point not so obvious.

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