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Access has been an issue here since day one, and it is an issue on almost every area of the property.  So it is time to build some better access.

We are building stairs that will take us from the House level to the Plot Level.  Sounds easy.. but…

 

The stairs we have planned are ‘earth’ stairs to run from the House level, just off the main deck.  It is a steep drop, but the layout of the hill dictates what we can and can’t do. Combined with the erosion of the hill, the hardness of the hill and the constantly changing angles of slope it was going to be a tricky job.

I set up the stringers and tacked on some crossbars to hold them in place as we envisioned the best place for the stairs to be positioned. You can see this in the top image.

It was very difficult to find the right place to put the stairs as the eroded home hill was steep and sloped in many different directions and was at risk of further erosion with every bit of excavation.

But with the help of some of my father’s old string lines and some trial-and-error, we found what we thought would be the best spot.

String lines

My father’s string lines

The stairs were designed to fit into the hill, and to help support it.  The finished stairs would be surrounded by rocks and Lomandra(Lomandra hystrix) planted to further support the hill and prevent erosion.

The main object however was to give us improved access to the lower levels of the property.  Previous access was via the back path and a rough path cut into the hill.

As levels and slopes change in every part of the area where we were building the stairs, we had to make a judgement on where to place the bottom stringer supports.  It did require a little guess work and commitment, but once we had one support in it became the baseline for all other aspects of the stairs

The base stringer supports placed and concreted.

The base stringer supports placed and concreted.

The vertical supports were cut from treated pine sleepers(200 x 50mm), and were placed 800 mm into the ground and concreted in place.

 

Mid-stringer supports, and the top supports were then placed from the baseline we had created. These were also put 6-800 mm into the ground and concreted.

Top and middle stringer supports in place and concreted.

Top and middle stringer supports in place and concreted.

 

This gave us a base to work from and we would continue to work on the earth stairs for the next few days.