They are particularly important as handholds in periods of inclement weather and as we age. They can help lead a visitor physically and
visually into a landscape, or can seem to disappear to allow us to appreciate the view beyond.
Railings can complement adjacent gardens. When painted a similar color to the house body or trim, they extend its presence into the landscape. When stained a natural color, they tend to blend in more with their surroundings.
right • This wooden railing meets the building code while allowing a view of the landscape beyond.
This handsome painted handrail is angled so that one can easily slide a hand along it down the long flight of stairs. With stairs, steps, or other level changes, the design of the handrails should follow the slope at a consistent height from the ground or staircase. The vertical rhythm of the railing contrasts with the horizontal lines of the stone wall and stairs beyond. This creates a sense of cohesion between the different materials, without too much repetition.
below • These stainless steel railings seem to disappear into the landscape. Contemporary cable systems have changed the way we enjoy our decks.
Railings often are designed with a pattern or repeating rhythm that can be a strong element in the landscape. When surrounding a deck, many railings interrupt our view of the world beyond. However, new stainless steel or cable systems provide enclosure while seeming to disappear from view. Always check local building codes to learn the particular conditions height, opening size, and materials for which a railing can be installed.
right • A painted wooden handrail helps people navigate this angular walk down the stairs. A closet pole or dowel attached on the inside offers a handhold along the way and gives the clematis vine a little more room to grow.