We used sandstone flag paving as infill between oak sleeper steps to create a durable and attractive solution to stepping down to the lawn from the patio. By forming the tread infill area using the same paving as the patio, the style is retained right down to the lawn.
This solution was chosen because the house is occupied by a band of young kids who like nothing better than tearing around and generally falling about all over the place. Forming the steps from the sandstone flag paving would have posed a risk to the kids if they happened to trip and fall. The end result is a softer edge, and one that we think looks great!
Quite often, the corners of patio steps are typically formed from the exposed edges of paving slabs, which are left slightly overhanging bricks or blocks that form the riser. This creates issues such as sharp edges, open-bottomed mortar joints and a risk of chipping to the edge of the exposed paving. By using bulky sleepers to form both the edge and riser, it is possible to eliminate these problems. Although the timber is hard, especially if using oak sleepers, it is still a much more forgiving material when compared to paving. Furthermore, the exposed corner can be routed along it's length to provide a chamfered edge to make it much more safe.
It is easy to securely fasten the sleepers in place, as they can be well embedded within the makeup of the steps. The sleepers have been embedded in concrete haunching to surround the sides and base, and have been fastened in place using stakes that have been driven deep into the ground. These stakes aren't to be relied upon for long-term durability or to prevent long-term movement, as they will eventually rot, but are useful to ensure the sleepers are held firmly in place whilst forming the paving, hardcore and mortar bedding/joints. By tightly packing the paving and its mortar bedding around the "hidden" parts of the sleeper, it is possible to minimise any movement.
We used oak sleepers in this setting for a number of reasons:
- Firstly, we had constructed an oak sleeper raised planter adjacent to the steps so it made aesthetic sense to keep the theme simple.
- After a short time, oak will turn a silver colour, which will blend well when set against the sandstone paving.
- Oak is a hardwood and will remain durable for many years to come.
- We wanted to provide a solution that would be safe for the children living at the house. Timber steps were preferable to paving or brick steps.
Over time, the oak will turn silver in colour and blend well with the light flags