If you live in a home that has steep slopes or banks, you might be wondering what landscaping options could possibly work for those areas. A property with slopes can be frustrating as they can make the functionality—and the aesthetics—of the space challenging. It can be difficult to grow plants on slopes and you also face the problems of erosion and drainage.
Fortunately, there are solutions out there. If you’re looking for answers for your sloped property, we’ve rounded up some of our top tips for landscaping on a slope.
Landscaping on a Sloped Front Yard
When it comes to the front yard, the issue is generally more about aesthetics than functionality as most people aren’t using their front yard for activities (as they do the back). Even so, you don’t want constant run-off to be flooding your hardscaped areas, such as your walkways or driveway. You also want to ensure that your front yard is easy to traverse as most people use their front yard to go to and from their homes.
Let’s look at some of the various solutions for landscaping on a sloped front yard.
1. Retaining Walls
A retaining wall is a hardscaped wall that will hold soil in place to prevent erosion. A retaining wall can be an attractive addition to your property while also addressing problems that you might have been experiencing with runoff and erosion. This also could allow you to have some ornamental trees and shrubs added to your front yard that would otherwise have been problematic. With a retaining wall, you can prevent soil and mulch from washing away during rainstorms.
A series of terraces is another way to address a large slope. By creating a series of leveled-out areas (each a step down from the last), you create an attractive look that also makes it possible to add some landscaping such as flowers or shrubs. Each terraced level generally has a small retaining wall to prevent runoff—and with each area of the terrace being leveled out, you aren’t faced with the challenge of finding plants that will grow on a slope.
3. Landscaping on a Slope
Of course, there are some plants that will grow on a hillside and this is also a possibility. It’s important to choose plants that are deep-rooted and have the proper make-up for “holding onto the soil.” Oftentimes, these include a lot of groundcover options like Pachysandra or Periwinkle. Many ornamental types of grass can also root well and hold up on a slope. These include options like Sedge or Fountain Grass. If this is the route you want to take, talk with your landscape professional about what plants might work best on a hill. Having them professionally installed will also set you up for success.
Landscape Ideas for a Steep Backyard Hill
The ideas that work in the front yard can also work on a backyard hill. The only big difference with the backyard is that people are generally much more concerned about making their space useable.
Some hills are able to be leveled out with grading—at the very least to add a walkway or steps. Grading is also often used in conjunction with a retaining wall. If you level out an area of your backyard to make the space more useable, you’ll likely need to add a retaining wall to prevent erosion.
You could also try to “work with the slope.” If you’re interested in a water feature, for instance, a steep slope can actually make a great location for one. Perhaps you have a steep slope that leads down to a more level area at the bottom. You could have a patio or pool at the bottom and use the slopes for a cascading waterfall that you can enjoy while sitting on your patio or swimming in your pool. A landscape professional can also help make the space traversable with steps or a walkway leading down to the bottom of the property.
Partner with a Pro
At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for landscaping on a slope. You’ll have to find what works best for your property—and your needs. By working with a landscape professional, you can come up with ideas that will help meet your specific challenges.
Landscaping on a slope can be challenging, even for landscape companies, so it’s important to find a company that has the experience, skills, and know-how to do the job well. Finding the right professional for the job will pay off with a space that you can finally use or enjoy to the fullest.