Landing . . . you know, a landing. That flat space you design in when you’re going from a high space to a low space. Or in the case of a Landscape Designer when you’re going from a deck to a patio.
It’s that platform where you stop and rest, and then turn right(or left) continuing down the steps to get to the patio.
In a rough sketch it would look something like this. You know . . . splitting the height difference; 5.0ft above the landing, 5.0ft below the landing. Landing smack-dab in the middle.
Then the only real discussion becomes is-how big is the landing? Is it just another part of the steps, or, are we going to add something to the landing?
Something like . . . what . . . I don’t know, maybe a couple of chairs and a small table. In the business they call that a two-top. That’s it, we could add a two-top that would be very clever and it would mean that we were going beyond the plain old boring landing.
Or . . . . . . . .
or we could go right off our rocker and blow the landing idea right out of the water.
You don’t mean the dreaded 10.0ft run of steps do you?
No . . . of course not.
See, what we got here is a set of large beautiful sandstone steps coming down the hillside on the left. big slabs of sandstone at 6.0inch heights-really beautiful stuff.
And . . . since people might be coming down those big beautiful sandstone steps to get to the back patio, and/or maybe to get to the back and then up more steps to the deck, why not make a connector?
How about something like this:
[ A fast rendering showing a different kind of landing. ]
So now we come down about 3/4th’s of the distance to a stone-terrace landing. This terrace then provides access to the sandstone steps on the left and at the same time has a switchback set of steps 3.0ft or so high to the right. Taking the observer right down to the patio.
Will this work? Yes it’ll work.
The question is this: Does this solution not only provide a functional set of stairs and landing, but at the same time is it aesthetically pleasing?
I like this idea of someone coming down those beautiful sandstone steps and having several different options/choices in where to go next.
What appeals to the observer?
Is the observer drawn to something in particular? the fireplace . . . perhaps?
Is there an intended destination involved? The observer now has several choices in how they may get to that destination.
Is 6.5ft-7.0ft of run too much for an open set of outdoor steps? To some designers this is probably too much. to some it wouldn’t matter, and too others:
What’s the big deal?
I think that run matters in outdoor steps. Even though I have never seen a hard and fast rule(s) I wonder.
The 1st set of steps I ever built was on a 8.5ft height difference and we put them in at just over 7inch risers. Every time I went back and looked at that set of stairs . . . It gnawed at me, just a little . . . but it did gnaw at me.
I wonder now if it will happen here with this set of stairs.
6 inches and that’s it
One big difference will happen here, and it’s big . . . those risers will be no more than 6inches high. 6inches, that’s it.
One of my core design philosophies is outdoor risers should never be higher than 6inches and if possible-even lower.
Lower means safer, lower means slower, lower means more steps-the design now forces the participant to slow down and take in the scene. To me lower is better.
Tomorrow I am going to flush out this landing idea, and get a handle on where the railing comes out of the side of the house-it means I will commit to a footprint for the upper deck.
There it is
The typical landing at the halfway point-same material as the stairs, or an atypical landing 3/4th’s of the way down . . . with a stone-terrace for a landing.