Landing, what Landing?

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.

fast concept study for a deck, landing, and patioIn 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:

landscape rendering in ink for patio, deck, and steps

[ 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.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

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