If your Florida home has beach access that cuts through vegetation and dunes, then you want to provide a safe path that causes minimal disruptions to the natural sand formation, vegetation, and wildlife. Instead of physical pathways or stepping stones, a construction company can build a dune walkover on your property.

A dune walkover gives direct access to the beach and offers a more comfortable way to access your beach area. As you consider a dune walkover installation, learn about some of the key features. When you know about the specific features and guidelines, you will know what to expect with the installation process.

1. Slopes & Steps

Every dune walkover design is built unique to the land and property it sits on. A contractor will determine the best path over the sand dune area and build the walkover based on the natural sand formation. In most cases, the final part of the walkover will include steps down to the beach area. The angle of the final slope will depend on how high the dunes rise.

If you need a ramp rather than steps, then a contractor can apply for a special permit to install an ADA-compliant ramp that leads down to the beach. Depending on the angle, the ramp could go straight down to the beach or it could create a snake-like path that weaves down to the beach so the ramp angles are not as sharp.

A contractor will present you with design options to help you pick the best solutions. In some cases, the end of the walkover could feature a short collection of steps and a long ramp that goes off on the side.

2. Walkover Widths

Many of the guidelines for the dune walkover come directly from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Their goal is to protect the natural land while providing homeowners with the beach access they want.

One of the limits restricted by the department includes the width of the walkover. A dune walkover cannot extend more than four feet wide for a single-family home. Four feet wide provides plenty of space to walk on and people could even walk side-by-side.

If you share the property with another homeowner and seek a single walkover to the dunes, then you may receive a permit for a six-foot-wide walkover. The extra two feet of space can give you a lot more walking room and options. For example, you could add a chair or bench to the walkover space and still have plenty of room to walk by.

3. Wooden Planks

A contractor will typically use wooden planks to support the walkover. Due to guidelines, the wooden planks cannot have a cement support base. Cement supports could negatively impact the natural environment. Cement blocks could chip away and deteriorate, which would pollute and impact the natural land. When contractors install the planks, they will typically space them out with six to eight feet between each one.

Because of modern technology and developments, you may have the opportunity to choose composite wood over all-natural wood. The composite wood products can last longer and help you avoid some of the more common wood issues like splinters or water damage.

4. Rails & Extras

The wooden planks used to support the walkover will typically have a rail installed on the top. The top rail of the walkover provides support and cuts off the open gaps to the dunes below. With the rail installation, you have the opportunity to add fence materials or horizontal planks in the open gaps.

The extras you have available will depend on the permits allowed by the state of Florida. The dune restrictions will help reduce the amount of debris and waste created during large coastal storms like hurricanes. In some cases, a permit will allow small lights on the rails. The lights will make the walkover visible at night so you can easily navigate to the beach when needed.

A contractor can offer a wide range of lighting options, including solar lights or wired lights. If the lights are not allowed on the actual walkover, then the contractor may figure out a way to install lights at the start of the walkover. The lights can illuminate a majority of the walkway without creating extra light pollution on the beach.

The extra additions to the rails will add extra protection and safety. For example, if you have children, you may want a lattice-style wooden cover to go over the large gaps. The lattice features a cross pattern with minimal gaps. A contractor could also rely on wide wooden planks to fill up the gaps. The choices depend on the restrictions in your area.

For more information on dune walkover installations, contact us at Abbotts’ Construction Services, Inc. Our professionals can provide you with a walkover design that matches your vision while complying with the guidelines set forth by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Small touches will help personalize the dock and make the area all your own.