We have cinder block and gravel stairs that lead from the lower, back door down to the garden. Since we typically have to stop by the barn on the way to the garden, we very rarely use the stairs. So over the past five years they have grown in with weeds, to the point that you couldn't tell there were stairs at all.
The grand plan for the back of the house is to pave under the deck and build a rock retaining wall around the cherry tree and seed with grass. We'd love to pave the stairs, but I don't think our budget could handle that. So we decided to re-gravel instead
The first weekend we spent hours removing weeds, digging out the old gravel, which we used to fill in where the retaining wall will be, and scrape down an inch. Keep in mind that each step is roughly 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep. For the first couple steps we could shovel directly into the wheelbarrow, but then we couldn't keep moving the wheelbarrow down the slope without killing the Lillies. The only solution was to fill 5 and 10 gallon buckets and carry them back up the stairs. It was grueling. We took turns, one digging, the other hauling. After two hours, my arms were so tire, I kept dumping the shovel and knocking over the buckets. Three hours in, we finished and call it a day.
This morning, Jeremy got up early and went to the gravel store. He returned with a half yard. Unfortunately, I had to work at the Recycle Arts Festival all day and couldn't help haul bucket by bucket of gravel to fill in the steps. Darn. Jeremy worked his ass off and got it all filled in. I came home to beautiful stairs.