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6" x 6" treated landscape timbers--for each step, two 4-foot lengths are needed for tiebacks plus one length that is the desired width of the steps. 2" wide 4" x 4" metal angle braces with 3" galvanized lag bolts -- 2 braces per step, 2-4 bolts per brace. For extra support, place one angle brace at each 90-degree angle where the timber that forms the step and tieback (the part of the step buried into the slope to anchor the step) timbers meet, and secure it with 3" lag bolts into each timber, as shown in the diagram above. At the landscape site, begin at the bottom of the slope where the steps are to be installed. Place the next pre-assembled step on top of the tie-backs of the first step, positioning the tread in the desired location. Continue placing pre-assembled steps on top of each other, connecting them with 10" spikes. When all the steps are in place, the area inside the "U" of each step can be filled with your choice of material, such as pea gravel, brick pavers, concrete, landscape rock or shredded wood mulch. This implementation report is based on landscape projects completed by University of Minnesota students enrolled in landscape design and implementation courses, Department of Horticultural Science.

Brace the back of each tie-back timber against a secure surface and drive two 10" spikes through the tread timber and into the tie-back timbers as shown below. The riser is the vertical distance and the tread is the horizontal distance, the portion you step on.
Using the spade or other means, dig 4 feet back into the slope to a depth equal to the depth of the step timbers. Steps are needed for slopes over 20%, and ramped steps are best for slopes between 10% and 20%.
It does not need to be done at the site, as the individual steps can be transported to the site after construction. However, if the slope is not that steep, you may want to build ramped steps where the tread is deeper to allow people to take one or more extra steps between timbers.
Drive a 10" spike through the tread approximately 4 inches from each end, into the tie-backs of the previous step below. Using the saw, cut two 4-foot timbers for each step, and one timber the length of the desired step width.

The top of the step timbers should be level with the grade of the path leading up to the steps.
The typical person's step is 24-26" long, and allowing for that distance between steps will allow most people to traverse the steps smoothly. Four-foot wide steps are a good choice because there will be less cutting if using 8-foot timbers. This first step will not be visible, but will be buried in the existing soil to act as a base to attach other steps.
Steps funnel traffic, so the wider the steps, the less wear and tear above and below the step location.

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