Using recycled hardwood sleepers, reclaimed from the wharf upgrade to the port of Lyttelton, we have been building steps in this hillside Christchurch garden. These steps link the lower area of the property up to the second level of the house and then on up to the future garden area at the top of the property.
The solid look and feel of these sleepers bed them into the landscape, contrasting nicely with the sleek lines of this new modern home. Local volcanic rock, mostly from on-site, and a light coloured stone chip have been used to finish the steps. Together, these materials are a relatively low maintenance solution for building steps. An occasional rake or blast from a leaf blower will keep the steps free of plant debris.
The owners of this property have planted native plants between the house and the steps, which will soften the landscape over time. Even on these dry coastal hillsides the right plants for the situation will do well.
Creating good, usable access is critical on hillside sections.With careful planning and good construction you can get the most out of your property. You need to think about what you want to achieve in any landscape construction project - which parts of the garden you will use most, which areas have the best views, most sun, most shade, most privacy etc. - and then start developing ideas from there. Then it’s a process of narrowing down the ideas until you have the solution that best fits your situation and budget.