We have been hard at work around here lately! Still working on the deck... and we're getting close to the end now, which is so exciting. The next phase after completing the surface and using what we had already finished for entertaining was to create the wide steps leading down to the back yard, but first we needed to install a landing at the base to support the stairs and transition the whole thing to the yard. We picked up a load of bricks, gravel, and sand and headed home to start the demo.
Our yard had a yucky, utilitarian concrete walkway leading back to the garage that was an eyesore, so we (by "we" I mean Jady:)) took a sledgehammer to it, smashed it up and carried off the remains. I'm so glad that thing is gone! Next up, we marked off our dimensions and dug seven inches down into the dirt where we wanted the landing to be.
After raking and somewhat leveling the dirt underneath, we poured in bags of gravel about four inches deep, which is supposed to help with drainage so you don't have water collecting on the surface of the bricks.
Next we dragged bags of sand over and dumped those in, using a tamper to pack it all down and a 2x4 to level the surface (after the dog had finished tracking through to check out our work:)).
Laying the bricks was the fun part, and it went really quickly since we had decided not to do a more complicated herringbone pattern I was planning, which would have involved some time consuming cutting. This way we just put them in place and made sure they were level-- pretty simple. Once they were all in place, we brushed in a sandy concrete mixture that you spray down with water to harden and prevent weeds from poking through.
I measured to figure out how many stringers or support beams we would need for our nine foot wide staircase, bought them at the hardware store and spaced them the recommended 16 inches apart. Once they were attached to the frame of the deck with special metal hangers, nailing in the stair treads and toe kicks was a breeze, especially with the huge nail gun:)
Once we got the bulk of the stairs in place we realized that the whole thing would look better if the brick landing extended out farther on the sides, but thankfully adding a couple of rows of extra bricks isn't too much trouble. I'll get to that eventually!
Next up: creating the railings. Stay tuned for more progress!