All about pavers and hardscaping

How to build outdoor stairs with pavers?

Adding stairs to your outdoor landscape area is a nice and simple way to add value to your home. For example, if you have a small backyard, adding variable elevation creates the illusion of more space.

In today’s article, we’re gonna talk more about stairs with pavers. So, If you have no idea how to build outdoor stairs with pavers, read more below!

How to build outdoor stairs with pavers?

If you want to start planning your outdoor stairs with pavers, the first thing before purchasing your pavers is deciding where you’re gonna set them and the size of the stairs.

A tip to help you visualize the finished project is to use a garden hose to create the shape of the stairs. Next, you can use spray paint or chalk to sketch out the path from the bottom of your steps to the top. For people to walk up or down the steps safely and comfortably, the steps must be about 35 to 40 inches wide.

After planning, you can purchase the following materials and tools:

  • Pavers of choice
  • Retaining wall bricks
  • Sand
  • Gravel, fine-grain
  • Mortar
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Hammer, 3-pound
  • Wooden stakes
  • Block of wood
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Cut-off Saw

After you purchase all the materials, you can start the building process. It’s important to say that building steps with pavers aren’t an easy task. Unless you have the necessary experience with both designing outdoor projects and handling tools, you should always contact a professional to do the work.

The process of installation can be divided into two parts: excavation and setting the stairs.


  • Step 1: Excavate 8 inches deep where the first step will be installed; the width of the compacted area will vary depending on the intended size of your steps and stairs. 
  • Step 2: Lay down a layer of landscape fabric to cover the area you excavated, this will helps rainwater drain under the step. 
  • Step 3: Dump six inches of gravel into the excavation and compact the subsoil with a plate compactor or hand tamper to create a completely flat support surface.
  • Step 4: Mix two parts of dampened sand with one part of mortar to create a thick paste. With a trowel, lay about ¼ inch of the paste on top of the base material to create a flat surface for the pavers.

Setting the steps

  • Step 1: Set your first course of pavers into the sand/mortar paste. It’s really important to check the level after you lay every stone to ensure the pavers fit flat.
  • Step 2: Cut 1 inch from the first paver in the second level of pavers to ensure staggered joints between stones, which provides better structural support for your steps, and continue to build until you reach the appropriate height for your step.
  • Step 3: Spread a layer of sand over the top of your paver step and sweep it into the joints between pavers to provide better structural support. To settle the sand, tamp the surface when completed.

What is the best material for outdoor stairs?

Pavers are, by far, the best material to use. They are incredibly versatile, cost-effective materials for building outdoor areas, and outdoor stairs are no different. The wide variety of shapes and colors allows you to be creative in your design and favors installation in any kind of space. Pavers can match your patio’s design, or even your garden, especially if you choose a more natural color.

There are other options for stairs, like concrete, metallic, and wooden steps. Even though they are all very durable materials, you can’t compare them with pavers’ longevity. 

Can I build outdoor stairs with pavers alone?

Building a stairs project can be tricky and difficult, so we highly recommend you not to.

You can cut some expenses when you do it by yourself, but a lot of things can happen. The chances of something going wrong in the process and an accident happening are too high, so the price of doing the project yourself is just not worth the risk. 

With a professional, your pavers stairs will have guaranteed quality, longevity, and beauty. 

S&S Pavers has been proudly serving the counties of Manatee and Sarasota for the past 10+ years. If you live in Florida, don’t hesitate to contact us!