Ideas for hillside landscaping. The use of stairs in sloped landscape design. How to plant steep slopes. Using grass when landscaping on a slope. Terracing a hill with retaining walls.
Landscaping on a slope is challenging. The steeper the slope the more numerous the challenges.
The rest of this page is dedicated to helping you solve these three hill landscaping problems.
Sea oats and other wild beach side plants adorn the dunes behind this New Smyrna Beach home.
Three decks create an abundance of flat, useable living space at the rear of the residence.
There are, essentially, two ways to manage the problem of walking or working on a steep slope:
It is nearly impossible to turn a dry slope into a moisture-retentive flower bed, unless you terrace it, because you cannot disturb the soil enough to dig in the proper amendments without exacerbating the erosion problem.
Therefore, if you are not going to terrace your hillside, it is best to stick with xeric plants.
The soil on the flat areas of a terraced slope can be safely amended with leaf mold and other organic matter without concern about it running away with the first driving rain.
Two things can be relied upon to hold the soil on a hill in place: the roots of perennial plants and shrubs, and sturdy retaining walls.
Plants sited on a slope should grow thickly and mature to a height of at least 2 feet in order to effectively hinder weed growth.
Lawn grass is not an appropriate groundcover for landscaping steep slopes as grass must be regularly mowed to keep it attractive. Mowing on too precipitous a hill is dangerous.
So how steep is too steep?
The rule is this: If the incline rises more than three feet in height for every ten feet of distance, it is too steep to mow safely.
The lawn in this sloped landscape design is used as a path. Notice how dense the plantings on either side of it are. Columnar conifers frame the view.
Often, the best path from the top to the bottom of a hill will be a flight of stairs. Follow these tips to get this sloped landscape design feature right: