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Sloping path with a set of 3 ramps instead of stairs - good idea?

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  1. #1
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    Default Sloping path with a set of 3 ramps instead of stairs - good idea?

    Hi folks,

    Have been trawling this forum for ideas for a while, and finally got around to signing up and posting. I'm thinking of doing a bit of landscaping and would like some suggestions or feedback about whether my idea is a good one, or just plain stupid.

    My house is on a bit of a slope, and I have an area at the side of the house that goes from the driveway to the back deck. It is about 8.4m long and drops down 1.1m. I have a gravel path there, but I've noticed some of my visitors are struggling to get up and down, and my two year old always looks about one step away from rolling down the hill every time I see her on it. Time for a change.

    I'm not keen to have too many steps if I can help it, especially since the slope is fairly uniform and I think a set of 7 long (1 and a bit metre treads) steps would look a little dodgy and I don't want to excavate or fill to bring the steps closer together.

    So, my idea is to do it a little like the path that goes over the sand dune to the local beach - a gentle sloped path with a step every so often. In my case, three 2.8m sections with a step at the top and bottom and two steps in the middle. Working things out, this means I could do 4x170mm steps and a 1:20 slope for the sections between to drop the further 420mm.

    My first thought is to just use lilydale toppings or similar and box it all up, but then I thought about the possibility of doing something fancy and building three sloped decks/ramps out of timber or more likely recycled plastic decking for extra grip in the wet.

    Is this a bad idea? Will the slope on the decks be ugly? Has anybody done a similar thing and finished with a good result?

    Cheers,

    Larry

  2. #2
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    I have a very similar situation. The path falls 1.5m over 6m tho. I really want to keep steps out of the equation so I can push a barrow up there. My solution is bitumen.

  3. #3
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    If you build a ramp be aware that your kids will think it is for riding their bikes down.

    My opinion. Go buy some think plywod and lie it down where you want the ramps to go. - walk up it and see what its like. - The $30 investment now will pay big dividends in the future

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    Too true Micmac, I think it would be poor of me not to include a little jump at the bottom of the ramp to add to the fun.

    Not a bad idea to build a little prototype - I might even do it with a few boards to see how the levels look. Hadn't thought of doing that.

    I can see your point about pushing barrows (or prams, or wheelchairs) up shauck, and in fact this is the last non-stepped access to my house, which is a bit of a bummer. However, I think the gradient is just a fraction too much to be workable. I'll just have to pull the barrow up backwards and enjoy the workout.

    Cheers.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryLong View Post
    I can see your point about pushing barrows (or prams, or wheelchairs) up shauck, and in fact this is the last non-stepped access to my house, which is a bit of a bummer. However, I think the gradient is just a fraction too much to be workable. I'll just have to pull the barrow up backwards and enjoy the workout.

    Cheers.
    Yes, fair enough. I'm in two minds whether I should put a few low steps in too. I'm running out of time to decide. The asphalt will get done soon.

  6. #6
    Keg
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    This sounds a lot like the spot which runs alongside our deck (about 1.5m over 10m) and it had 5 long, sloping concrete steps not unlike what you describe. We have ripped them out because they were very ugly and will replace them with some steps using lilydale toppings but not sure of the number yet. They were just manageable by my 18 month old (although she walked from 10 months) and were ok to push a wheel barrow up but a little steep and quick taking a full one down. I think the toppings might slow them down a bit and we may add one or two extra steps.
    The geek will inherit the earth.

  7. #7
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    The recommended standard for a ramp is a maximum gradient of 1:14 for a verticle rise of more than 56mm. Ramps should have a level landing at least every 9 metres and be 1.2 metres in length.
    For a verticle rise of less than 56mm the maximum gradient is 1:8.
    The ramp should have a slip resistant surface.
    This a brief condensed version of AS1428.1-2001, Design for access and mobility.

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    I have a similar (or is it worse ?) problem. My gradiant is 3 meters in 10 meters - one side of the house I will put in steps (treated pine boxes filled with road base) 14 in all. The other side gets the most use as we peel off halfway down to the clothes line and vegie garden around and on top of the sewerage treatment tanks (and 'platform" dug into the hill) - but we also need to go all the way to the bottom. Currently we have a slope with a mixture of 10mm gravel (light coating) and bark fines. This is OK when damp as it gives some traction but when bone dry it's like ball bearings under your feet and when it is wet its like an ice rink. - My wife doesn't want steps as she thinks it will be too hard to negotiate with a basket of washing. I'm thining of a ramp with some narrow and shallow steps up the centre. That way we can have the best of both worlds.
    David L
    "A dedicated amateur will always do a better job than a slap dash professional"

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    Ok. My path is finished. Its done in asphalt. It's 1.5m fall over 6m but extends a further 4m-ish at same fall. It's a little steep but a thousand times better than gravel to walk on. Dead smooth and safe. Haven't pushed a full barrow up or down yet but will do so on the weekend and let you know.

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    Used the wheelbarrow over the weekend to take gravel down to the back pathway. Seemed ok as I didn't overfill the barrow. Had good grip (feet to asphalt). I should have made the path wider where it turns the corner of the deck but that would have meant another row of sleepers and putting in posts instead of star pickets. Just lazy at the time. So that's my only problem with it, turning the corner.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails p7110002.jpg   p7110005.jpg   p7110006.jpg  

  11. #11
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    Looks real good - got me thinking now
    David L
    "A dedicated amateur will always do a better job than a slap dash professional"

  12. #12
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    How did you get on Larrylong with a ply run?
    I'm no expert but I was wondering if your current gravel path is difficult to walk up because they are larger gravel stones? They always splay when you walk. Shovelling those out and replacing with toppings then compacted like you are thinking may avoid the issue of any steps required?
    Sorry to sidetrack your post Larrylong
    Looks really good Shauck.
    Got similar issues around our house and was wondering about those drainage pits you got at the top and bottom of the run?
    Do you have another pit on the main carpark area?
    Does the top drain run down to the bottom and then onto...?
    Trying to see the other side of the job!

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    Wolfbunny. All of the stormwater is hooked up now and runs to the bottom left corner of the property.

    The first pic is from the top of the driveway to give you an idea of the area involved. About 230m2, 40m from road to guardrail/fence at end of driveway.

    Second pic shows end of driveway that has a gattock/linear drain running across the end to right corner and down to the pipe just left of the pit in the pathway.

    The third pic shows gattock drain running from retaining wall to verandah corner where it and the verandah downpipe run into a pit. This pit runs into the pit at the bottom of the pathway.

    The rear downpipes of the house also run under the deck and into the pipe before it gets to the pathway pit.

    From the pathway it runs diagonally down to the left border of the property and to the end of the half acre block where a storm water drain exists.

    Took me a bit to work it out and dig all the trenches and hook it up but reckon I saved a lot of money doing it myself. I didn't put the gattock drains in though, Keith who asphalted the driveway did those.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails p7110004.jpg   p7110002.jpg   p7110001.jpg  

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