The Front Steps are juniper steps leading to the front yard and Wildflower Meadow.
Before the steps there was an eroded path down the hill. It was a logical path down the hill but very slippery and under constant danger of more erosion. Andrew took the path frequently while working in the front yard but it needed improvement.
Andrew organized a work party the weekend of January 7th, 2023. Grant, Nate, and Ben came out from Austin to join him.
We started by clearing the large rocks from the path. These were placed on a hill next to the trail. We originally planned to use these to hold the juniper branch steps in place but they looked so nice on the hill we decided to just keep them there.
We split in two groups. One group cut down two juniper trees to harvest for branches. These trees were crowding out live oaks so they needed to be cut down anyway. The other group started at the bottom of the hill and laid out the steps one by one.
The branches were either dug into the hill or propped up in place with rocks and juniper wedges. After all branches were cut down the first group started filling buckets with dirt and leaves and using it to backfill the steps.
By the end of the weekend the steps were completed but still a bit wobbly and in need of support. Over the course of that week Andrew collected coffee grounds from Mazama in Dripping Springs and used them to cement the steps in place. He had learned while building the Path to Cabin that coffee grounds settle and become very dense after a few rains.
The slope next to the steps was exposed and in danger of further erosion. Andrew thought grasses would help hold the soil together and bought a native grass mix from Native American Seed.
He spread the seeds, covered them with dirt, and then mixed it all up with his hands to make sure the seeds had good soil contact. He cut a bunch of little juniper twigs to line the area and carefully place them over the dirt. He added more dirt and then watered everything. He continued to hand water the steps and grass until rainfall returned.
At this time the steps are awaiting wood chips and the grass has yet to emerge.