Boring to Beautiful Back Yard Steps

10 Hours

The new boxed in brick steps had plain wooden risers that from below looked like a stack of lumber until they got a great new look.
Looking Across New Brick Steps
This is what the new brick steps looked like as you walked up them, From this view you can see the bricks and they look fine, but the yard is on a hill and further down the step risers all blended together to resemble a stack of lumber. BORING!
Front view of steps before painting
This is what the steps looked like while approaching them from the bottom of the hilly yard. Using your imagination, the step risers can be visualized as a vertical canvas for a design.
Test a design on a photo with colored pencils
Take a "before" photo and make several copies of it to try out different designs by using markers or colored pencils. Don't worry about lines crossing over to include more than one step. In fact It's more eye catching when the design is fluid like an optical illusion. I made four designs before I drew the one I wanted to use.
The pattern is drawn on graph paper
Once the design is decided upon draw it on 8 1/2" X 11"graph paper; one square equals one square inch of step riser. Number the steps on the design to keep track of them later. Also label the colors. Then transfer the design square by square to large easel-sized newsprint paper; the kind with the grid squares, like the graph paper has. You will have to cut and tape pieces the newsprint together to make the correct "life sized" patterns for each step.
Cut along the lines separating the individual steps, then, step by step, transfer the design to the wooden risers by cutting along the design lines to make it easy to trace the pattern onto the wood.
Then paint your design. Paint one color at a time, and before painting the next color, view the steps from below, to make sure your design is lining up. You may have to make slight adjustments on where the color lines are before starting the next color.
The Completed Project
This was taken on a very sunny day so the design on the top-most steps isn't as visible as it really is. But the effect is awesome!
The Long View of the Completed Steps
The cost of this project will depend on whether you have to buy paint and graph paper, or whether you have some already on hand. I used exterior wood stain in four colors.

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3 of 16 comments
  • Lisa
    on Jul 26, 2015

    I think this was very imaginative and I love that you used stain. Paint might have stood out more, but then you would have had to deal with peeling and chipping. Awesome job!

  • Marlena
    on Jul 26, 2015

    Beautiful! Your color choice pulls it altogether! Thank you for your quick response.

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