Building on the theme from our earlier post on thresholds and gates, I decided to dig into the archives again for some images of garden steps. While the main function of a stair is to move you from one level to the next, the transition can create a myriad of experiences. In these three examples, each garden stair functions for a different design purpose.

1 thresholds in the garden landscape ideas blog hoerrschaudt

Doug Hoerr likes to say these steps are 'like butter, just before it's about to melt.'

This stair traverses a garden carved out of an Indiana sand dune and cradles multi-level plantings that are the focal point from within a new, modern addition to a traditional home.

2 thresholds in the garden landscape ideas blog hoerrschaudt

Designed as a focal point for those on the terrace across the sunken lawn, these steps are surprising in that they don’t lead to anything more than what you see, the armillary and a wall separating this property from the neighbor.

This last sample is for a house on a small knoll near a lake. Instead of a direct stair down, three cantilevered plinths – structurally engineered to lessen the impact on the bluff and give the effect of floating decks – break up a descent from house to lake and extend the horizontal qualities of the house into the landscape.

The segmented stairway encourages pause – to appreciate views, to hear sound of water falling from the zero edge pool, or to rest! Let us know your favorites!

3 thresholds in the garden landscape ideas blog hoerrschaudt

This segmented stair breaks up the steep descent from house to lake.

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