Hillside Landscaping: Concerns & Solutions

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A home looking over a sloping garden can offer stunning views and be a prime reason why you bought the house. However, landscaping a sloping garden requires different considerations compared to an area of flat land. Water run-off, soil erosion and soil integrity can be some of the problems which need to be addressed for successful gardening on sloping grounds.

Remember the View

If one of the primary reasons you bought a house was for the view then you want to make sure you maintain that view in your landscaping plans. Take the time to carefully position all new planting of trees and shrubs, being aware of the size they will finally reach. 

You do not want new trees and shrubs to end up blocking the view you cherish. Try to refrain from removing trees down the slope to create better views. Once the trees are removed and their roots die the soil becomes vulnerable to erosion. It is better instead to have them cut back or thinned.

Shorter terraces

To make a sloping garden more functional you may consider terracing a hill. Shorter terrace grades tend to be better for the soil as the more extreme the gradient the more chance of water run-off. This makes it harder for plants to become established. 

Terracing creates flatter planting areas where water can pool, preventing the run-off which can strip soil of important nutrients. Stone is a common means to terrace a slope, providing a functional and attractive solution.

Plant to Protect the Subsoil

Selecting the right planting can help preserve the soil and improve the chances of the garden becoming established. Heavy rain can soon penetrate the soil layers when they have been disturbed through landscaping. The saturated layers can loosen and the slope become compromised. 

By planting trees with a deep network of fine roots you can help bind the soil layers. Acacias have proven to be useful for such soil binding. Talking to a professional for advice on the best trees to plant in your garden would be advisable. 

Planting to Stop Run-off

When it rains dislodged soil will be washed down a slope, taking the soil it further dislodges on the way with it. Planting can help stave off the erosion, with deep rooted shrubs binding the topsoil as well as adding a level of stability to the lower soil levels. Ornamental grasses can help anchor the slope too. In a garden without terracing, rocks and boulders can help to keep the soil anchored in order to give time for your plants to become established.

Safety and Easier Maintenance

When considering gardening on a slope be sure to leave areas from which access is easy in case of emergency. Slopes are vulnerable to landslides if the subsoil is not well bound and any wildfire within garden vegetation will reach the house faster on sloping ground due to rising heat. Leave open areas of pathway to make garden maintenance easier and to allow easy access in case of an emergency.

Our landscape team at Glorious Gardens is happy to discuss these ideas in planning your garden. If you’re considering a “re-do” of your outdoor space, we invite you to call us. We will brainstorm to find the right blend of elements to suit your tastes, your budget and your space.

By |2021-06-03T11:35:13+01:00April 8th, 2020|Blog, Small Gardens|Comments Off on Hillside Landscaping: Concerns & Solutions

About the Author:

In 2006 I formed Glorious Gardens, gathering together skilled practitioners to offer not just design but implementation of these designs and maintenance packages where we could look after the gardens once we had created them. Throughout my career I have designed gardens to inspire people with the heart aching beauty of nature, with shapes, colours, moods and proportions to pleasure the body and calm and delight the mind. I am also an artist who works with colour and abstract shapes and I bring this sensitivity to the 4 dimensions of a garden. I am very good at listening to clients and I’m able to draw out the essence of what a client wants for their outdoor space.