A new garden staircase - The project that grew
We have a plan (July 10)
We have a plan (July 10) In the end, it barely held together anymore. Our garden stairs that we patched and fixed almost every year since we moved in just over 15 years ago. The slope around the stairs had also turned into a veritable jungle and was in great need of both being thoroughly cleaned and made easier to maintain.
Starting Shot (Aug)
We wanted a gently curved staircase, not quite in the same place as the old one, and the choice was between block steps in granite or concrete. The fact that all corridors and paved surfaces on the site consist of concrete slabs decided the matter - concrete had to be. We tried to get an overview of how the work would be done and what other materials were needed – not a completely trivial task. We realized that we two happy amateurs would not be able to get the job done without help. The stone company's website with the information that the block steps we wanted weighed 126 kg, and the calculation that said we needed at least 15, decided the matter. Bids for staircase construction were taken in during the summer, and on 10/8 the work started.
Professional help (10-13 Aug)
To make the overgrown slope to the left of the stairs lower, and not least easier to maintain, a retaining wall was built at the same time. In addition, we got a slightly larger lawn above the wall. Significantly easier to cut than a steep, overgrown slope! We already have several retaining walls in different places in the garden and have chosen a brick that is not so heavy. Even if a wall is small, there will be many tons of stone to move. The crushed stone that forms the foundation and filling behind the wall cannot be avoided, but light stones feel like a clear advantage. In three working days we had a nice new staircase and connecting retaining wall in place, it was so nice to have professional help with that job! With a retaining wall and a smaller slope with hardy plants below it, we hope that this part of the garden will be both more beautiful and easier to maintain.
Now the fun begins (?) (17 Aug.)
So there was only the rest left... Time to start planting and making nice? Well…. To the right of the stairs the slope became quite steep. One more wall - well, why not? We had stones left over. It was built on the weekend of 17-18/8. Luckily, there was enough crushed stone left, and we got to use some of the leftover fillings. The slope below the new wall still needs to be filled up with earth, but the top part of the slope to the right of the stairs has been removed in this way.
And then the other slope (24 Aug)
The slope to the left of the stairs then? We couldn't start planting there either. The construction of the stairs meant, admittedly not entirely unexpectedly, that the more than 30-year-old sleepers that formed a barrier to the lawn below went to pieces. Without a new barrier, we would hardly have any soil left on the slope after some heavy autumn rains. We had the bricks, but all the crushing material had been used up. Where can you find more on a Saturday? A few phone calls, a rented trailer and a trip to the Stenbolaget in Botkyrka solved that problem! We also received good advice from helpful staff. When we still had access to a wheelbarrow, there were also a few trips to the commercial garden to fix a lot of new plants and many, many bags of planting soil. With the plants deployed in the new slope, still in their pots, we realized that something more was needed. Only plants felt a bit dreary, and several nice stone bumblebees had appeared under removed bushes. With a little ingenuity and the help of a strong teenager, we managed to fix them in place and they got a new life as decoration in the new slope.
Next wall and finally planning! (Aug. 28)
Nothing was planted before a new wall came into place below the slope, and it was probably lucky. Newly purchased bushes, grass and trees were carried around to many different places before they found their right place. We also tried to use our own plants from other parts of the garden. Partly so as not to be ruined, but also because they should have a good chance to thrive in their new plant location as well.
Done! Or halfway? (September 1)
The summer heat has persisted, but the shadows in the afternoon speak for themselves - autumn is on its way. This is how far we got this year. Next summer we will see which of the newly purchased and relocated plants seem to thrive on the slope. Also remaining is the right side of the stairs. Hopefully we will have time to do the rough work before autumn is too late. If not, it will have to wait until spring. Then all the other garden projects will also pock for attention. Among other things new paving is needed on the driveway, paving stones perhaps, and a new fence adjacent to it. Or will it be a stone wall there too? Should we perhaps lay a smaller surface with paving stones below the stairs to avoid hard wear on the grass? Who said that a project has a clear end?