DIY Outdoor Staircase

by Amy
When we moved into our home two years ago we knew we needed to fix the stairs and walkway that came off the driveway to the back patio of the house. The stairs were built about 18 years ago and were completely sloped, slanted, name it. An accident waiting to happen.
These are the original stairs and by looking at the picture they don't look too bad, but they are totally slanting down the hill and almost impossible to walk on. The before and after might not look that drastic, but in person the change was huge.
We ripped up the stairs one at a time beginning at the bottom and rebuilt each one. Before beginning the stair positioning and spacing was measured out and marked. You have to be very careful to keep your measurements accurate. If you mess up 1 inch at the bottom it will impact how you finish the stairs.
Each stair was built with ground contact treated 6x6. Each board was fastened to the ground using a 2ft piece of rebar and then pinned together using a 12inch spike.
All the old wood was removed, but we kept the original slate stone to use for the re-build which saved us a ton of cash.
Of course we asked the question...won't these slope down the hill again in another 18 years? Well, yes and no. Anything is possible. We added the rebar to each stair re-build; the original stair case did not have. We also corrected a water drainage issue that was at the top of the stairs adjacent to the driveway. This allowed water to pour down the hill and get under the stairs causing major erosion.
This is the original bottom of the stair case and the walkway.
Now that the building is done landscaping will be added in the fall.
There are 14 stairs total. We also plan to add lights to the stairs once the budget allows.
Along the right side of the stair case there are evergreen bushes between the stairs and the house. We added a full bed of pine straw or pine mulch and it fills in the area nicely instead of having to use regular wood mulch. This gives a varied texture.
We had 3 estimates on the labor cost of the project and we were quoted between $3-4K for just labor. We completed the stairs and the walkway with treated 6x6's, gravel dust, rebar, large nails/pins and slate stones we already had. Both projects cost around $800 for supplies to complete the stairs and the walkway.
Glad the project is over! Now I'm saving for the outdoor LED lights to attach to the stairs. Adding lights and finalizing the landscaping will be lovely.
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • Tim Tim on Aug 17, 2017

    I am wanting to build outdoor stairs just like these. I do not know how to begin. How does the incline of the slope dictate how I begin.

  • Sara Sara on Sep 22, 2018

    We love this tutorial but I’ve some questions. We are doing the same project in our yard. The pictures look like you have a thin piece of wood under each 6x6 on the front side. Am I seeing things? Also, where is the spike? And how did you fix the drainage issue?

  • Way85179907 Way85179907 on Jun 26, 2023

    We did this yrs ago on our riverbank, we filled steps with limestone, looks great but weeds grow up & we have drainage problems so how did you fix that?

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