Natural Path Landscaping: Creating A Natural Work of Art Right Outside Your Door
Front step replacement
Look around at the older homes in your neighborhood, and they will likely serve as a testament to the beauty and durability of entrances and steps constructed of natural granite.
Granite is the premier material for steps and landings, for several reasons:
- as a natural stone, it doesn’t hold water (unlike concrete)
- properly installed granite is set dry, without any mortar, so there is nothing to come apart through the winter freeze/thaw cycle
- it’s so heavy, it will remain in place forever if properly installed
- seven-inch thick granite is non-skid, wear-resistant, and immune to damage from de-icer
- indigenous to New England, granite is inherently beautiful
- qualifies for LEED credits since it is a local material quarried in Barre, VT
Slopes and elevation changes at the entrance to your home are often viewed as problems to be overcome. Likewise, cracked concrete or crumbling brick steps can prompt a call to the landscaper. In both cases, the project can be viewed as an opportunity to create a beautiful set of granite steps.
Properly installed steps and landings should be attractive, comfortable to traverse, and should last a lifetime -- so even in the design phase of the project, we address all critical details. If the previous structure failed, for example, we would investigate why. We then measure the slope, exactly, with a transit in order to determine the step tread width to best match the slope. If the steps curve, we also produce a spreadsheet with all the measurements needed for construction.
The careful execution of a granite step installation does not lend itself to a large crew. Instead, one or two of us will handle the job in order to maintain a high level of quality control. We install the steps one at a time, beginning at the bottom, making sure each step has a properly compacted foundation. We use a Bobcat to transport each step to its approximate location, then use rollers and levers to position it precisely by hand.
Since the steps weigh between 400 and 1600 pounds, the installation is both rewarding and impressive. There is always great feedback from the homeowner!