On steep slopes, keep the steps close together and use our AB Capstone for a 12 in. (305 mm) tread.
On gentle slopes, add pavers or other materials to increase the depth of the tread and length of the run.
Landings can soften a long stairway and provide an easy way to tie the sets of steps together.
Stairs can be designed with flowing curves or straight lines. Curved sidewalls create a softer, natural look. Straight sidewalls and corners offer a crisp, traditional style; however they require AB Corner Blocks and take more time to build. Stairs can be built using the AB Junior or the AB Jumbo Junior.
Tackle Your Slope
Match your stairway design to the natural grade of your slope.
- On steep slopes, keep the steps close together and use our AB Capstone for a 12 in. (305 mm) tread.
- On gentle slopes, add pavers or other materials to increase the depth of the tread and length of the run.
- Landings can soften a long stairway and provide an easy way to tie the sets of steps together.
How Many Steps?
To find the number of steps needed in a wall, measure the total rise of your slope in inches and divide by the height of the block.
AB Jumbo Junior = 7.5 in. high (190 mm) AB Junior = 6 in. high (150 mm)
Excavate slope and place first step on compacted base
Install AB Capstone and second riser
Repeat to top of slope
Space steps apart on gentle slopes
AB Garden Cap and Pavers
Basic Stair Construction
Once you've picked a stair design, remove any sod or other surface materials and begin to rough in the grades. Be sure to install side walls first if they are part of your design, and make sure to bury enough of the base blocks so the side walls are fully covered by the finished steps.
Tight Stairs with AB Capstones
This arrangement will give you 6 in. (150 mm) risers and 12 in. (305 mm) treads using the AB Juniors.
- Excavate the area for the stairway. Make the bottom trench 12 in. (305 mm) wide. At the back of the trench, step up 6 in. (150 mm) and excavate back another 12 in. (305 mm). Step up again to the top of the slope.
- Place 4 in. (100 mm) of wall rock in the trench and compact thoroughly. Set the AB Juniors in place to form the first riser. Fill the block and behind with more wall rock and carefully compact again to lock in place. Check for level and adjust if needed.
- Install the AB Capstone on the first course. Place the second riser to fit snugly against the back of the AB Capstone on the first riser. The bottom of the blocks should be set at the same height as the top of the lower set of blocks. This arrangement will give you a the same rise in each step.
- Fill the blocks and behind to the back of the trench, and compact again to lock the second riser in place.
- To build wider steps, simply excavate the back of each trench to allow for additional tread depth. It is a good idea to make each tread uniform in width. If you are using pavers to complete the surface of the treads, try to set the depth so full size pavers will fill it in. This will eliminate cutting. Be sure to slope the treads slightly downward to allow for proper drainage.
- If you have steeper slopes, AB Jumbo Junior will make risers 7.5 in (190 mm) high, using the same construction shown above with the AB Juniors. Be sure to check your local building codes to make sure the taller steps meet code.
Stair Tread Options
Allan Block’s patented front lip provides a built-in edging that works well when installing the stair tread material. Allan Block Caps, pavers, crushed rock, mulches and flagstone are good stair tread examples. Ensure that stair treads are glued in place for safe use.