My front yard has been a train wreck for almost two years as I've slowly transformed it from your typical desert landscaping to something a little more appealing...to me anyway. Part of the transformation was always going to include new steps from the street to our doorstep. I had previously installed a cinder block "foundation" for the steps in anticipation of this portion of the project. I had also always planned on incorporating some video game themes into the design of the front yard for my wife, but I wanted it to be subtle.
This project only required a few materials:
Concrete, approximately thirteen 60 lb bags.
1" x 3" pine strips
1/4" square wood dowels
1/8" Craft Foam
Step 1: Grass Step Forms
The top and bottom steps are the completely Zelda inspired parts but the three steps in the middle needed to match. I had an idea in my head from the beginning that I wanted these steps to have a stone border with some sort of inlay. I settled on a turf inlay. The forms are super simple inverted negatives of the final step. They consist of a simple plywood (OSB actually) base with a 1 x 3 border. To make a space for the inlay I cut a smaller plywood base for the center. I then used some 1/4" square dowels to give the appearance of the step being made of 9 smaller bricks.
Step 2: Zelda Step Forms
The Zelda inspired steps are basically the same forms as the grass steps except they are smaller and instead of having the grass inlay they are going to have a slight impression of the Wingcrest, and the Song of Time. The impression is made from an inverted image of the designs using adhesive craft foam. I tested the process on the hidden area of one of the grass steps and it worked out better than I expected. The wingcrest design was too large for one piece of foam so i stuck a bunch to the wood and then cut the design out. This is why the design is different colors in the form.
Step 3: The Concrete
The concrete is simple Quikrete mix in 60 lb bags with some black colorant mixed in. I didn't do anything special to prepare the forms other than wet them a little. I did my best to smooth out the back so they would sit flat on the cinder blocks. After pouring the concrete I covered them with plastic and let them cure for 3 days. Removing them from the forms was a little bit of an ordeal since they were so heavy. The grass steps took almost 3 bags each so they are pushing 180 lbs. After I got all of them separated from the wood I had to remove all of the inlay pieces that stuck to the concrete. The plywood created a wooden like pattern on the concrete which i didn't mind but i needed to sand it down a little to make it less severe. The texture that was left gives the steps a little more tread to prevent slipping if they get wet in the rain.
Step 4: Finishing the Steps
The turf is reclaimed from a soccer field. I used it for the rest of my front yard as well. I cut three pieces to match the inlay sizes and just glued them in with liquid nails. I didn't take a picture of it, but prior to gluing down the turf i drilled a few holes in the steps to help water drain out of the recessed inlay area. I used some acrylic paint on the Wingcrest and Song of Time designs to help them stand out a little. Lastly I used some sealer enhancer on the steps to protect them and make them appear a little darker. Only the song step is actually adhered to the base because it is the smallest. All of the other steps are simply placed. They are so heavy they don't even wiggle a little.
There you go. Super simple. My wife said they make the house feel more like home which is actually the best compliment I could ever get.