Main content

Charlie Albone

Landscaping Expert

» Ask An Expert

Concrete steps falling apart 

Hi Charlie (I call you "the miracle man" after seeing some of the transformations you do on SHA) (my favourite Lifestyle program). My house was built in 1979 and has two flights of concrete steps at the front. There are ten steps in each flight, and they are about 7 feet wide. A neighbour said they had been constructed by the previous owners by using railway sleepers and reinforcing mesh - covered with about an inch or two of concrete. They are now sagging in places with a couple of large cracks where the front edge is going to fall off eventually.

I was advised by one person to fill the holes and cracks with concrete as best I can - plus apply a layer of new concrete over the top and front face of each step. Another suggestion was to fill cracks and hollows then pave with bullnose pavers. What do you think? Any suggestions which are not going to cost thousands? I am not a young woman any more, am widowed, and have no family to help. Thanks (in anticipation of a miracle).

Answered Saturday 24 August 2013

If they have been built as you mentioned then I recommend removing them as soon as possible for safety - especially if they are sagging and cracking.  Sadly this isn't going to be a cheap exercise but perhaps you can rebuild only one flight of stairs, and make it a lot narrower to keep the cost down.  A carpenter will be able to build you a set of steps relatively cheaply out of treated pine but you are still looking at having to spend $4-6,000.00 depending on the detail in the handrail and site conditions.  Sorry I can't bring any good news!

Landscaping Expert

Charlie Albone

Charlie Albone has been designing gardens for 12 years and is an expert on planting and landscaping.

» More Questions & Answers

cathay pacific/could we hire you for advice on rejuvenating our garden? 

Yes that was most probably my dad Mick!  I would love to hear from you, please email ... Read more

lipstick palms 

Why don't you start them off now and take them with you?  Even if it's a few years away the palms won't be too big to transport as they will probably still be in pots.  ... Read more

Riverfront makeover 

Gosh I would love that job! I would look on website for a local qualified landscape designer.  ... Read more

What to do & who to do it? 

I would look on website for a local qualified landscape designer.  ... Read more

Old style driveway 

I would use the concrete drive as a base for paving over as this will save on removal of the concrete.  You will only be able to do this if your levels allow it - which I can't tell withou... Read more

Plant selection around pool 

I would plant convolvulus as it will spill over the retaining wall and can handle the sun ... Read more


From memory it was ... Read more

Advice on new garden 

I would incorporate lots of compost and then grow a green manure crops like Lupins that can be turned back into the soil to add nitrogen and more organic matter.  If you do this a couple... Read more

Vegetable garden and plants in the backyard 

Vegetables need lots of sun to do well so your garden shaded by trees may not be too suitable.  As far as a climber goes you may need to put some wires on the fence so something like jasmine c... Read more

Chain saws 

I have found Husqvarna to be the best. ... Read more


Sign Out

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.

1 comment
Please login to comment
Posted by Pardelope • 1y ago • Report
Thanks Charlie - you confirmed my opinion. I will have to start saving my pennies.