Unless your yard and garden are perfectly flat, chances are at one time or another, you’ve thought, “Wouldn’t some garden steps be nice there?” Or, even more ambitiously, outdoor stairs? Steps and stairs make getting around the yard easier, of course. But they also lead the eye through the garden and give it structure. 

You can add DIY garden stairs to your sloped yard with these tutorials and inspirational ideas. Walk around your garden and evaluate…what space could be made better by even just 3-5 garden stairs, and what hill could be transformed into usable garden space? Check out these ideas!

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DIY Garden Steps & Stairs

Outdoor Stair Ideas

Let’s start with some tutorials on outdoor stairs to transform those steep pathways you may have in a hilly yard.

Create Outdoor Stairs by Upcycling Old Materials 

Upcycling is a great way to save money when creating outdoor stairs. You or your family and friends may have leftover materials from other projects that would make a great stairway! 

Recycled timber concrete outdoor stairs

Recycle old timbers and make something like this hillside sidewalk and outdoor stairs from ‘Ohio Thoughts.’ They decided to pour concrete in each step but also considered pea gravel—lots of personal experience and instructions from this site on how to build outdoor garden stairs. While you have the concrete out, you could go ahead and make some concrete garden globes to decorate your yard with, too!

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Easy log steps

I love how The Peck Family turned the cutting down of a tree into stairs in their yard. And while they used eucalyptus, there are many trees you could get a similar look from. This is the perfect DIY to transform a tricky sloped garden area in a weekend!

Upcycled concrete scrap stairs

Another example of recycling: using broken concrete to build outdoor stairs. From ‘EnviroMom,’ This isn’t a complete tutorial but a great idea that DIY’ers could take inspiration from. Keep an eye out for neighbors tearing up their old concrete driveway!

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Stone landscape steps for a sloped yard

The genius mom and daughter duo of Sunny Side Design used blocks leftover from building a retaining wall to build their outdoor stairs. This helped them save so much money on this project! Keep this idea in mind if you happen to have any other stone work projects in your garden. Ordering a bit of extra material to use in another project will give your garden such a nice, cohesive design.

Use Pre-made Materials to Build Your Stairs

If you don’t have any materials you can upcycle, it’s time to invest in some new ones. 

Wooden landscape steps

Wood is probably the first material most people think of when creating stairs. Check out this beautiful boardwalk design from The Family Handyman for one option for using lumber.  It creates such a beautiful pathway through the garden.

DIY wooden garden stepping stones

Creative gardeners have long used railroad tie steps but have had some controversy becuase they can contain toxic chemicals. Nico Lock has a worry-free version of the “ties” that can be used to construct DIY garden steps or outdoor stairs. From ‘Houzz‘ via ‘NicoLock.’

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Stone garden steps

Want to use stone slabs? I’ll be honest, I love outdoor stairs made from stone. But no lie… you’d need a professional for this job with stone slabs that large. And a tractor. But “Worst Room” has a handy guide on creating stone steps to help you get an idea for what you could DIY or what you may want to call a pro to install.

Flagstone steps

Flagstone is a classic choice that provides a natural look for any backyard or garden. This tutorial from South House Designs delivers a great step-by-step guide for using flagstone.

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Large stone garden stairs

Land of Laurel created steps with large stones that are simply beautiful. And her guide is filled with pictures that show exactly how she did it!

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Stone and paver pathway with steps

For a more polished and professional look you can do yourself, check out The Family Handyman’s how-to guide on building a stone path and steps. Stunning results!

DIY Concrete Stairs for your Backyard or Garden

If you are ambitious and want something that will last forever, DIY concrete steps are the way to go. 

Our first project is from ‘2 Minute Gardener.’ This tutorial on making landscape timber garden stairs helps guide you through this project. Additionally, be sure to read through the comment section for some more tips. They recommend this type of substantial outdoor stairs for a larger property or a large slope.

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From ‘BHG Australia,’ learn how to build outdoor stairs. This project is similar to the one above, but the directions and materials are simpler and probably better for the average size yard. Lots of step-by-step (no pun intended!) photos!

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Wood framed concrete steps

JenRon Designs solved getting to the bottom of their sloping backyard with beautiful concrete stairs that make climbing back up a breeze!  

Concrete and brick stairs

Learn to build brick and paver garden stairs from ‘DIY Network.’ These outdoor steps are a great way to add year-round hardscaping to your garden. And this tutorial is complete with a materials list as well as step-by-step, photos.

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Floating concrete slab steps

Finally, from ‘Destination Eichler,’ use concrete slabs to create a contemporary look with these floating concrete DIY outdoor stairs. I love how these instantly give their front yard a modern makeover!

Finishing Touches for Outdoor Stairs

Once you’ve built your perfect stairway, it’s time to add some flair. 

Trim your outdoor stairs with brick

From ‘Pinterest,’ this homeowner also used brick trim on the edges of these concrete DIY garden steps to add interest… Details count!

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Create mosaic-inspired outdoor steps

Already have stairs in your garden, but they are just too boring? Take a cue from the artist ‘Kim Larson,’ and create mosaic stairs! I love how these would bring a pop of color into the garden even when plants aren’t blooming. I could see these being a beautiful addition to a shade garden.

Frog Steps Finished

We hope you loved learning about and getting inspired by our post on DIY Garden Stairs! If these kinds of DIY home improvement projects are your thing, you should definitely check out our posts on DIY Patio Covers to upgrade your patio while your at it. And heck, why not tackle a DIY fire pit project too and really makeover your backyard? And don’t forget to join our new Facebook Page to bring a little garden DIY your feed! While you’re at it, follow our Pinterest and Instagram pages, too so you see right away when we post new ideas and advice!

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22 Comments

  1. Pingback: How Much Do Landscape Boulders Cost? - Bear Creek Landscaping

  2. _commenter_ August 10, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Hey,
    I’m impressed by your ultimate guide. Absolutely amazing work.

    Reply
  3. bruce August 4, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    The wider the tread the easier it is to go down steps and do so without need for a handrail. Big difference between the usual 28″ treads and ones that are 40″ ones as they allow a person to go down at a slight diagonal without worry – especially important if carrying heavy items down the steps.

    Reply
  4. Susan March 10, 2019 at 1:22 am

    Hi, can you help, I have a 29ftwide x 84fy long garden and all I can see from my kitchen windows right to the bottom of my garden are the neighbours children & friends either bouncing up and down, above I hasten to add the bushes we already have along the 6ft fence, stood still you can see them from their waist up. Please do not get me wrong I have 3 great nephews and 1 great niece and I love to hear them and see them having fun in the garden, I try and stop them from screaming, as they can be loud and screaming isn’t really a good thing to do in p,at as they could on day be in danger and need help and no one would take any notice, what can I do to bring back privacy into my garden, I have the sun from morning to night on my back garden and I cant sit where I want with out I feel being spied on, we are probably not being but that’s how it feels. What can I install thats all year round privacy to my garden so I can wonder around my garden anytime K want to, without seeing a body or bodies bouncing around doing acrobatics. The trampoline is about 50ft away from my windows in the middle of the garden

    Reply
  5. Registered Landscape Architect. December 21, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Masonry steps and poured concrete with a base or a footing. Two years before it starts breaking, max.

    Reply
  6. Chuck June 26, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Made a set of steps with two cement slabs 2ft square and supported the back of the slabs using a brick where the slabs came together. It looked great for one year then the brick moved due to frost heaves and erosion which caused the slabs to cave in at the parting line on each step.. we will reconstruct them using a pored base for the back of each slab which will tie them together. Crushed rock or gravel will not work in frost prone areas.

    Reply
  7. simeemma30 April 16, 2018 at 10:40 am

    if you want to know how to make it yourself , just go to woodprix website. There you’ll find your answers :)

    Reply
    1. John March 17, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      I just read that Woodprix sells stolen plans from honest folks and that these kind of comments are all over the internet.

      Reply
      1. Kathy Bates May 3, 2021 at 2:16 pm

        I don’t see that we have recommended anything from Woodprix in this post?

        Reply
  8. Sue March 9, 2017 at 10:46 am

    We have a cabin on a bluff with many steps leading to lake made from railroad ties and dirt . They become moss filled and slippery because of all the trees on property. Any suggestions on filling in steps with maybe cement and pea gravel to roughen them up?

    Reply
  9. Denise M. September 13, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I have a large slope that had old railroad ties standing upright as the steps and they were very deteriorated. There were about 15 steps. When my husband removed them it was basically straight down, meaning there wasn’t any dirt layers that they were on. He framed it in with long beam ties and rebar spikes and filled with rocks/gravel. On top of it he put bricks. Needless to say it didn’t last long before it started to fall apart. We would like to replace them and start over. How would you make new steps when there isn’t any dirt underneath them?

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard September 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      You might want to ask a liscenecedh contractor for advice, its usually free to get a quote. In our opinions, ufortunately without taking rebar down into the rock layer way below (expensive engineering!) the only way we know of is to have dirt brought in. You might want to address if there were any drainage problems that caused the dirt to wash away in the first place? Anyone else out there come across this problem and can offer their take?

      Reply
  10. Jennie May 14, 2016 at 9:30 am

    I love the steps but have very limited assets. Which steps are the most economical.

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard June 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      Wooden steps are probably cheapest initially, but concrete with last over time so may be the better long term value… Hope that helps!

      Reply
  11. Cal Driver January 14, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing! Garden steps are lovely, but I’ve struggled to find a design that has worked for me. I don’t really like working with concrete, so the BHG steps you shared here look like a great option. Can’t wait for spring to give some of these a try. Thanks again for sharing!

    Reply
  12. katewwelling January 7, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Kathy, these concrete steps and stairs projects are beautiful! I love the wooden outlined concrete steps and the concrete steps with the mosaic design! I would have never thought to do that? I agree about turning a slope into a usable gardening space. Very brilliant!

    Reply
  13. Ali February 16, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    really beautiful, i wish , i could place a stairs on my garden, but i have small space on it.

    Reply
  14. Peter Smith February 14, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Kathy,
    I was looking at your article from last year about the 13 different garden benches. Very nice. However the very first bench, the lead picture, does not have any instructions – that is the one with the stepped blocks and the wooden seat. I was wondering if you had details on this, or should I just use my own ideas to make it. It has the advantage of simplicity which is why I am interested.
    Best,
    Peter
    P.S.please email me your comments, thanks

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard August 28, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Hi Peter,
      Yes, you would have to take the idea as inspiration and make the blocks yourself… Wouldn’t be too hard… This one is my fav too!

      Reply
  15. Alton Clark January 30, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    These were all great but the first one with the rock’s shows nothing to stop the rocks from going under the riser to the next step below or did I miss it ?

    Reply
    1. Mark June 17, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      No, you didn’t miss it. The rock will fall down under the risers on all the steps. Once the entire void is filled, the steps will be tamped and leveled out.

      Reply

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