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

1 meter high Lilly pilly 

Sorry they don't exist but you can keep many trimmed to that height! - Try your local nursery. ... Read more

cleaning 200x200x60 th. concrete paving bricks 

Try cleaning with 'Deck Clean' and sealing with a Dry Treat product ... Read more

iron lacework 

It was from a recycling yard from memory, but I could be wrong as I did have a 1 month old then and sleep was at a minimum   ... Read more

Lilly Pilly seedlings 

Perfect size to move!  Get as much soil and roots as possible when moving them.  ... Read more

Paint Colour 

Can you send a picture of the house? ... Read more

Acreage garden design 

The best option would be to concentrate on a smaller area around the house and leave the rest to look more natural.  Landscaping more of the property is going to cost a lot for the installatio... Read more


Your pergola is going to take up a lot of your garden so make sure it doesn't take too much light from the back of the house.  For the remainder of the garden i prefer the look of more pla... Read more

Steep garden 

I would improve the soil by removing all the pebbles and rocks and then dig through lots of compost.  Mass plant one species of ornamental grass for a dramatic look and lower maintenance. ... Read more

Plant name please 

I think it was a Spathiphyllum 'Sensation' but don't hold me to it as we filmed that episode 3 years ago! ... Read more

Grass Tennis Court 

I'm afraid I don't get much call for lawn tennis courts so you would have to try a specialist  ... 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.