Outdoor steps can be completely utilitarian. They can be made out of a couple of slabs of poured, unvarnished concrete and they will do the job of moving a person or a pet from ground level to the house’s porch, stoop or deck. But most people would like their steps to be a bit more than just functional, for even uninspiring steps have to be measured perfectly. If the measurement of a step is off by even a little bit, it can cause stumbles. These can lead to accidents. This is why it’s always a good idea to leave step-making to a professional contractor.
Outdoor steps can be made of all sorts of materials and can be quite beautiful. They can be a focal point for a garden or landscape and can contribute greatly to a home’s curb appeal. For example, a few steps that lead up to the landing of an old fieldstone house might be the same color and material of the house and be bordered by plantings of flowering shrubs. This can enhance the look of the house’s facade.
Another flight of outdoor steps can be made of brick laid in appealing patterns. The patterns can even be echoed in the railing or even the glass in the front door. Steps can also be made of durable wood like cedar or teak, which will fade to a beautiful, silvery gray over time. Colorful ground covers like vinca can be planted even between the open treads of the steps.
Step materials should also be tailored to the climate. Wooden steps like the ones mentioned about are good for warm climates where they’re not subject to the vicissitudes of harsh winters, while steps made of tough stone like granite aren’t harmed very much by hard winters. However, flights of stone steps should be no higher than a tread or two, because they can be slippery when they’re wet or icy. Flights that have more than three steps should have railings, and these too should be tailored to the overall look of the house or the landscape.