Friday, June 15, 2012

Building a Box Step for the deck


Decks and construction--you're wondering how exactly this falls into the category of gardening.  Well, it does and it doesn't.  You see, for years, we've had a deck surrounded by a flower bed.  It has always been pretty.  In the spring, we have tulips.  In the summer, daylillies and black-eyed susans, and in the fall, shasta daisies.  However, over the years, the flower bed has become overgrown and the built-in deck benches were ripped out.  This left a wide open space, and a much too large step down from the deck.  This past weekend, we solved the problem with building a deck step.  Let me rephrase that, my wonderful/handy husband built a box step and I helped. 

When we set out to build this simple, free-standing step, I could not find any direction online.  All google searches for "deck box step" led me to "build a deck step-by-step".  So therefore, being that a box step can be an entrance to a garden (as in our case), in a flower bed, or even used in a bed on a hill, I thought it appropriate to document this simple, but internet-elusive step.  And many lessons were learned in our garden that weekend.

First we began by digging out the existing black-eyed susans and listing them for free.  Notice, the new deck boards and railing already in place thanks to an earlier project.


After the many necessary trips to Home Depot,
Kyle was ready to begin the frame for the box step using 2x6 boards



Along with the frame, center supports were added using 3" deck screws.  The top board being added is a 1 1/4" x 6" board and 2 1/4" deck screws were used to attach the top boards. 
These were the same boards used on the deck to keep the look consistent.

While Kyle was busy building, I was hard at work digging out the remainder of the flowers, moving bulbs and digging up weeds.  The daylilly on the end will stay as an "anchor".


The completed step.  Now on to digging the 4" trough and filling with paver base gravel.


One of the lessons we learned that weekend was to never underestimate the time it takes for tree roots to die.  Barely 2" under the ground were roots from our old maple tree, too many to count!  Many were as large as logs.  We took turns with a hatchet, a saw and digging.  We finally won!


After laying the base gravel, tamping it down, and making the step level it was in place.  To make sure the step doesn't shift under the excitement of kids running up and down, we placed long metal spikes in the front and back to keep it in place. 

In the next few weeks, the deck will be powerwashed and stained to complete the project.   The old wooden beams will also be removed and we'll reconfigure the deck bed.  The new edge will be rounded on the corners and come in much closer to the step.  Look for a followup blog when the flower bed is finished!


13 comments:

  1. This looks great! Go you guys for figuring it out and for taking us through all the steps. Can't wait to see the final result with all the flowers... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Meredith. I just need to find the time in all my free-time to do that "small" project now of digging a new bed shape, planting and mulching. : )

      Can't wait to get the deck stained too so it has that finished look!

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for this great guide! My deck comes right onto my garden like yours does. I really don't have a good way to get down from that side, so I think that a box step would be perfect. Do you have a list of what you got for construction materials? Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Moe,
      Glad you find the blog helpful. The captions under each picture list the materials needed for that step. There isn't a whole lot to it. Good luck!

      Delete
  4. Very fun! I always wanted to put a deck in when we lived in Cambridge, we moved not too long ago and this time I'm getting my deck!

    ReplyDelete
  5. just curious, what did you tie it in at all to the deck itself? and how did you use the metal spikes to keep it in place? i have the same situation for my deck so I'm going to build a box step like yours. Thank you for the step by step

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for asking. The step is not tied to the deck at all. There is about 3 inches between the deck and the step. I just filled in the space with some river rock to keep the weeds down. The metal spikes were just driven into the ground in some areas in front of the step and behind so that it would shift. With some river rock added in front of it too, it hasn't moved at all. Good luck with yours! Hope that helps.

      Delete
    2. Meant to say "would not" shift. : )

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the information. I am currently in the planning stage of a very ambitious remodeling and re landscaping project for my back yard. I have a grand vision of a deck that connects to the 2nd floor of my house and has an outdoor spiral staircase leading to the ground level. Anyway, I'm researching some building material and methods online in order to plan my starting point. Do you suggest real wood, or some other material?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We used pressure treated wood so it would match the deck. I would go with whatever material you're using the most.

      Delete
  8. Hi to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this site, and your views are fastidious in support of new people.


    my web page; home jobs

    ReplyDelete