One of the issues we had when we built our second paver patio last summer was the grade of our yard…..there’s a decent slope to our yard and we wanted the patio to be level with the path that was already there…..which meant our patio would be 16″ below the door opening.  That’s quite a drop!

Here’s a close-up:

Guess we’ll need to put a step (or two) there….. someday.  After all, the patio was finished in July.  It’s been 6+ months already.

I had a childcare home safety inspection done in November and it was noted that there was no step for that patio door.  Even though we don’t use it as an entry/exit point for the daycare, they said I still needed to have a step there in case of emergency.  So…..we started talking about our options.

Do we build a single step just at the door?  Or do we carry it all the way to the corner?

Do we build two steps?  Or do we build just one step?

Do we make a deep landing that can fit a welcome mat?

Do we make it square?

Or curvy?

Do we build it from wood and then cover it with pavers?

Do we build it from pavers?

Do those pavers go on top of the existing patio?

Or do we rip up the pavers that are there and build from the gravel/sand base?

EEK!  Trying to come up with the what and how was quite a decision!

First thing we did is turn to the internet (and books) to get ideas of what we liked.  Here are some of our top picks:

We like this one because it’s a circle design…which would complement the circle patio across the yard nicely:

This one has that “landing” feature that we like, but it would take up about 5′ of patio space:

We like this one for it’s simplicity…it’s functional and basic, easy, matches our patio design:

But this one looks a little fancier, with the overhang of the steps:

This one showed us that we can build our steps against the siding of the house…because frankly we weren’t sure what to do with that.  

Just too many decisions!  Ugh!

Unfortunately, curves were out.  It would require a lot more work, a lot more design and time, more materials, lots of cuts.  It would also take up a lot more space.  It just isn’t in the cards.

Deep landing was out, too.   If a standard step is 11″….and we probably need two steps….we’re already taking away two feet of patio space.  If we build a landing, that would be a minimum of 2′ deep, eliminating 3+ feet of patio space.  We just can’t do that.

Steps it will be.  Simple standard size steps:  11 inches deep and about 7 inches high.

So the next discussion was one step or two….since we have a 16″ drop.  Maybe we split the difference and make a single step 8″ tall instead of 7″ tall.  And should the step(s) go the length of the door opening, the length of the door, or do we take it all the way to the corner?

I started to draw various scenarios….here’s a sampling of those drawings:

Isn’t that curvy design just beautiful?

So there we were, on a Friday night, discussing in depth the master plan for Saturday morning.  We both really liked the idea of building two steps, taking the bottom step all the way to the corner (essentially combining the two drawings above).  We weren’t sure what that landing would be used for (maybe stack the pellet bags on it?  Or put the daycare boots on it?  Or put a pretty fake plant there?) This was our number one design.

But at the end of our discussion we decided to keep it simple.  Just make one step about 11″ deep and 8″ high, the width of the door.  That would be easy, fast to finish.  Done deal!  Problem solved, our plan ready to implement the next morning.  We went to bed.

We slept all night with this image in our heads:

I didn’t sleep well.  When I woke up in the morning (the day we were going to buy all the materials and start and finish the project!) that plan just didn’t feel right.  I mentioned something to Jim about it and he said he was thinking the same thing!  See?  Just another example of how we are soul mates.

So we went back to this drawing that I’d made:

2 steps and a landing.  And the above picture is totally not to scale.  It was just a really rough sketch of what a step on a landing could look like.

Fast forward to a long trip to Best Buy In Town Landscape for Tegula blocks and Plaza stones from Western Interlock (in the Jamestown blend that our patio is currently built in- yay!)…and discussions with the employees on how to construct it, and then coming home to peel away the first 4 rows of pavers, then re-arrange the 5th row so that there’s no cuts needed (that was a challenge in itself), and then laying the Tegula blocks (which weigh a whopping 33 pounds each- man those were heavy to mess with), and then back filling with gravel, compacting that gravel, topping with sand, setting the ‘steps’ on top and then the 2nd row of Tegula blocks, and then rearranging and rearranging and leveling and leveling and leveling some more to make it ‘perfect’…..

and this is what we ended up with:

Simple.  Clean.  It has the overhang look that we liked from above, the stones match our existing patio, and we have a bit of a landing/pad to the right.

Here’s looking at the steps from the playroom:

Relatively seamless.

Would I rather have the fancy curvy steps and landing?  Sure!  Who wouldn’t want a fancier design….. but this isn’t our main patio and we want to keep the space as functional as possible- so this is the perfect solution!

OH, and each step has been glued into place- they aren’t going anywhere!  This is a permanent dealio!