Image: Lizzie Orme
This log step will blend well in an informal part of any garden. Instead of logs you could use railway sleepers or even sawn lengths of timber. Select one large log or two slimmer ones for each step (the logs shown here are 75mm in diameter). If you buy untreated logs, be sure to give them a coat of wood preservative before you begin.
1 Excavate the ground either side of the step, roughly levelling it. Tread down the soil to compact it if you need to. Use a handsaw to cut your log (or logs) to the length you want, and paint the cut ends with wood preservative. Then lay one log in position to mark the first riser. Cut two pieces of log about 450mm long and sharpen one end of each to a point – you’ll use these as stakes to hold your riser. After this, use a sledgehammer to knock in the stakes in front of the riser at either side of the step. But remember to leave them higher than the proposed depth of the riser.
2 Put the next log directly on top of the first, and use a spirit level to make sure it’s horizontal. Roll the logs away and adjust the earth below if you need to.
3 Use the sledgehammer to knock down the stakes to the level of the riser.
4 Take off the top log. Then, using a drill, make pilot holes all the way through the lower log in line with the two stakes. Get a helper to hold the post steady from the other side with the sledgehammer, and knock in 125mm galvanised nails from the inside of the step to secure the bottom log to the stakes. Repeat this process with the top log.
5 Pack hardcore behind the riser to form the step tread, and compact it with an earth rammer.
6 Cover the hardcore with a layer of gravel and rake it level.
Trick of the trade
We asked the experts at B&Q for their top tips on building wooden garden steps…
‘If you’d like to achieve a more rustic look, consider using reclaimed railway sleepers, which have a rugged, weathered finish that works perfectly with the informality of single garden steps. Fill the excavated part of the step with stones, chippings or wood bark. You could lay turf, but it is likely to wear away with regular use.’
Main image: Lizzie Orme
Step-by-step images: B&Q's You Can Do It manual