Hillside Landscaping

Ideas for steep slopes and hillsides must consider erosion control as well as creating an appealing design

The methods of landscaping steep slopes and hillsides must simply address creative ways to hold the property in place. And while designs may vary depending on location, materials, and other circumstances, the basics are pretty much the same for most. Some basic methods will hold or simply cover the soil and others will be more elaborate and dependent on other principles.

For instance, if deep rooted ground cover plants are used without any retaining walls or support, the method of watering will need to be adjusted much different than that of flat or terraced ground. So the survival of ground cover plants and lawns on hills and steep grades will also require different considerations for proper watering.

Erosion Control On A Steep Grade, Slope, Or Hill

One of the most common methods of erosion control on steep slopes and hillside landscapes is in terracing with either stone or concrete block retaining walls. A common practice in farming and landscaping for thousands of years, terracing levels out the steep ground by cut and fill methods of transferring the soil and holding it in place with hardscapes.

Retaining Walls
Since retaining walls are some of the most common methods of terracing steep hillsides, we’ll look at this directory of ideas first. As you’ll see, most of these walls are made of pre fab concrete blocks that are generally available at home centers and garden outlets. And as well as that directory, see using retaining walls to terrace sloped hillsides for a list of videos with design ideas using concrete retaining wall blocks.

Rock Garden Walls
While the pre-fab concrete blocks are the preferred choice of most home owners and do it yourselfers, there are those who prefer to create walls out of natural stone and rocks. And while building rock walls is generally a job best left for a professional, it’s not entirely out of reach for the real hands on do it yourself type. This directory shows a lot of good examples as well as how to plans and pictures.

Watering On A Slope Or Hill

How To Water Lawns And Plants On A Steep Grade Or Hill
As I said earlier, some elements and methods used for landscaping steep slopes will be dependent on other elements to function properly. A hillside covered with deep rooted lawn turf will most usually keep the landscaping in place. However, if the proper watering methods aren’t used to promote deep saturation, the water will run off and the lawn will die.

Drip Systems For Slopes And Hillsides
One of my favorite sites for sprinkler system and irrigation information. Whether you’re using retaining walls to level out the ground or planting your plants directly on the slope, a drip system is usually the best solution for pinpointing water directly on the plants for deep saturation and very little runoff.

Landscaping On A Grade With Steps And Stairs

Stairs And Steps
While the majority of elements discussed here focus on the erosion control and planting of hills and sharp grades, there are also other elements that may need consideration. In some instances, access may be necessary up and down the side of the lot and so of course there will be a need for stairs or steps. This directory has a lot of great ideas and pictures of stairs and steps that can be used in landscaping and garden.

For the most part, this should give you a good place to start if you’re challenged with landscaping a steep slope or yard on a hill. Of course, these are just the basics and designs for this kind of landscaping often rely on and use decks and patios to terrace and take up space. And if budget, space, enthusiasm, and creativity are there, a sloped or hillside yard is no reason to settle for anything less than a first class landscape design.