How to Cut Steps into a Dirt Slope

Dirt Slope

After building your residential home or a commercial complex, lovely landscaping will give it a beautiful touch, make it look attractive, and add that property value. Your outdoor activities should be enjoyable, and everything needs to be neat and safe. When your property has dirt slopes that appear naturally in certain places, traversing them can become complicated, especially if they are very steep. Creating stairways on such slopes can be a great landscaping idea for safety by cutting steps. This is a process that doesn’t require the help of a professional. You can perform it using a few simple tools. This article is a guide on how to cut steps into a Dirt Slope. Creating steps into a dirt slope can even take an afternoon. According to Hunker, it would be best to confirm before digging that there are no wires or cables underground. Therefore, ensure that you call the national number 811 first to confirm and give you the green light.

Carry out Preliminary Calculations about the kind of Stairway you want

Before you begin digging the stairway steps, ensure that you know the total height of the entire slope and do the calculation. You can perform this exercise using a tape measure to see the distance from the bottom part to the top of the hill. Additionally, ensure that your tape measure lies flat on the ground to give you correct figures when performing the measurements. Next, after getting your measurement, decide how many steps you would want to have. It is vital to know that comfortable landscape steps should have a “rise” 6 inches measurement. Therefore, your slope measurement should be divided by 6 inches to arrive at the number you will dig. For instance, if your slope measurement is 80 inches tall, after dividing by 6, you will need to have 13 steps. Further, ensure that you know the depth or run of each of your steps to know which materials will suit that work. A comfortable run can be on the size of 12 to 16 inches. According to SeniorCare2Share, the size of 12 to 16 can suit many people who will be using the Stairway to ensure that they have enough room for their footrest as they walk or run on the stairs. Therefore, cut a slope horizontally with at least 12 inches.

Mark Your Path

For guidance on where you will be cutting the steps, you need to insert posts into the ground where you will be building the steps on both sides of the path area from bottom to top. Tie a string on each post, moving the hill upward. Then, attach lines on top of the upper set of posts. Spray paint may be another option to use for marking the stairs. This will guide you throughout the entire exercise of digging the stairs.

Material Option to Use on your Dirt Slope Stairs

There are many options of materials to pick to use on your stairs. Your pick will depend on their cost, your area’s climatic condition, and aesthetic preference. For instance, if you live in a place affected by harsh winter, it would be best to avoid using stone steps since they are usually slippery. Options to pick include wooden planks or flat stones. Avoid leaving the steps bare earth after digging. You can place woods to retain the walls of the steps to control soil erosion around the created dirt steps. For instance, when you use large treated boards or build vertical barriers on the steps will be helpful to ensure that the stairways have a prolonged lifespan. You can also use gravel, stone chips, or bark chips to hide the bare dirt.

If you plan to use smooth stones for your dirt slope, which will become slippery during wet weather, ensure that you add fine sand to the stone sealer to protect the rocks and give them some grip. Concrete is another attractive option to try on your dirt steps. You can construct frames and have them laid on the built steps from concrete pavers. It is worth noting that using concrete requires low maintenance, and they are durable. Additionally, you can try color concrete which will add some personality and flair to the area. Supposing you settle for the wooden step option, ensure that you find the pressure-treated lumber type. This will prevent rot on the wood when it comes into contact with the soil surface. When using retaining wall pieces, ensure that you add them after every step to avoid step crumbling or erosion. After finishing all the steps, add your tread materials and remove all the markers and posts you placed.

The Process of Digging the Steps

Use your tape measure to mark the size of the stairs you plan to dig around the dirt slope. You can use posts or boards to keep the edges of the entire stairways outlined. You will begin digging from the bottom area using a shovel. Always shovel horizontally at every slope base to form a flat surface. Remove all the available grasses, loose topsoil, or weeds first. Dig deeper so that the soil is packed firm and use a level to maintain each step level and ensure it remains flat. As you continue to progress on the top side, ensure that all the steps are of the right shape into the soil. You can finish digging them and finesse them later.

When Working on a Super Steep Slopes

A steep slope on your lawn may need many steps. Therefore, you need to dig 16 steps and ensure that you give it a landing spot. According to My Sunny Lawn, landing spots are helpful to prevent how steep one can roll when they fall or lose their balance on the stairs. Creating landings on a steep area will require extra digging and leveling. But they will ensure that whenever someone is using the steps, they will have an easy time climbing them. Additionally, consider constructing handrails on steep places to help instability and for security purposes. If you can manage to create switchbacks, please do or ask a professional to assist.


When you decide to cut Steps into a Dirt Slope, it would be nice to improve the look of that area and helps in your movement. Remember to make each step at the same height to eliminate the chances of creating tripping hazards in that area.

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