Landscaping advice for steep sections

garden stairs

A curving stairway can minimise the slope and creates a focus point that is both attractive and functional.

No matter which way you slice it, a slope may appear difficult to landscape. Whether your house is at a higher elevation with your land sloping down and away from it, or the land slopes down to meet your house, there are landscaping solutions available for you.

First, let’s talk about drainage.

When rain runs down the slope, bare earth dislodges particles of soil. Runoff gains velocity and can dislodge more and more particles as it goes. This erosion is should be your first consideration when planning any landscaping for your slope. Anything that slows the speed of runoff such as rocks or plants will reduce this scouring and will protect the soil. Before deciding on any of the below options, ensure your landscape architect has first explained the drainage considerations with you.

A retaining wall can strengthen a slope while also creating planting opportunities. Select construction materials that allow you to plant in nooks and crannies along the wall’s surfaces. Consider building in a stunning water feature that draws attention to the sloping section rather than away from it.

A curving stairway can minimise the slope and creates a focus point that is both attractive and functional.
If building one solid wall is not possible, why not try a terrace? Several low walls with level terraces between may be the right solution. You can create a patio level with a comfy seating area to enjoy the view of your garden.

Slope-planting alleviates erosion because plant roots are very efficient at anchoring any loose soil on a slope. With this method you can turn a tricky hill into stunning garden of natives by selecting easy-care groundcovers.

Important: Combine spreading plants with deep rooted shrubs to provide underground slope stability. Each shrub rooted into the subsoil anchors itself and the surrounding surface soils. By choosing groundcovers, the shrubs remain short so they don’t interfere with your views.

Consider building into the slope to create a sunny outdoor living space. Steps to a raised patio provide a great view of the rest of the garden. A small office or workspace enveloped in the greenery of your garden could be the inspiration you need for your home office.

A trickling stream, or babbling brook with a series of cascades creates a soothing ambience for relaxation. But as with any of these options, be aware that any time you cut into a slope you compromise its integrity. Therefore the less you cut in, the better. Use a contracting firm with experience building into slopes.

Important: With any landscape development, it is vital to allow for maintenance access. You will need to provide an open throughway to drag cut material out of the area and into trucks. These accessibility paths need not be paved, just fairly level and open. Plan for both vertical and horizontal access across the slope. These access points will be useful in the coming years when you may need to replant or deal with weeds.

In summary:
There are many options for developing your slope into a focal point to be proud of. But as with any outdoor project, preparation is key. Consider the drainage of the site and only utilise contracting companies with experience building into or excavating slopes. Both of these factors will guarantee that you have a lasting result to admire for many years to come.