A little background first. The stringers on my deck steps started to dry rot so I thought I'd take the opportunity to replace them. In my mind, I was thinking that it would be a little simple replacement along with also replacing each tread since I figured they wouldn't have much life left in them. I purchased 3 pre-assembled stringers from Lowes and I cut 4 2x6s into 8 equal lengths for the treads. The original stringers contacted the ground but are somehow "up to code" says the guy who inspected my home almost 3 years ago. So I also picked up a couple of concrete slabs to bury and set the new stringers on top of to prevent this potential issue from happening again.
After going through the trouble of removing the stringers and treads, I decided to try to do this thing the right way instead of a half-*** job so I started researching deck landing pads. I discovered that there are 3 preferred methods of creating them - with concrete, with brick/pavers, and with just a bed of gravel. Gravel is the easiest but aesthetically speaking, it's not the nicest especially when you have little boys. Concrete is generally the most preferred method. I'd never put down concrete before and I've never done brick either but I'd rather lay down brick as I find it more aesthetically pleasing and likely easier for a newbie such as myself.
This is how I plan to potentially build the landing. I'm going to dig a hole 10'' deep, fill about 6'' deep with drainage gravel, tamp that down, add 2'' of sand, tamp that down, and lay the bricks using either treated lumber or other bricks stacked vertically as a frame to hold everything in place. Then add more sand and spray with a fine mist of water.
Now I have two questions primarily beside a basic critique of the method I plan to use. Should I set this so the brick is a half an inch or more above grade or is it perfectly fine to be at grade level? Also, the posts at the bottom of the steps are built in a way that they are independent of the steps themselves. In fact those posts were used to hold the stringers in place at the bottom. It's likely that they are in concrete. Do I need to take any special precautions with digging and installing drainage gravel and brick around these posts?
I can post pics if needed. Thanks.