A sloping site offers both a challenge and an opportunity that is not available to a level landscape. The challenge is how to cope with this type of site and the opportunity brings design features that are not open to the owners of a level piece of land. This article by Jay Sifford which I found on the Houzz website contains some designer’s tips for turning a hillside yard into a beautiful garden.
Frequently we gardeners run up against what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle in our quest to attain a beautiful and functional garden space. So it is with the dreaded sloping lot.Over the years I?ve had a turbulent relationship with my own lot that entered my life with a 30-foot drop from back to front. The working relationship was so difficult that I didn?t even own a wheelbarrow until four years ago. When I purchased my home, there was no garden; in fact, there weren?t even any front steps. My solution was to carve a tiered water feature into the side of the hill and plant a garden around it.
Let?s find a solution for your sloping yard that really works for your lifestyle, then discuss how to build a garden around it.Taming the Slope
Build a retaining wall. A retaining wall is an obvious solution and one that makes sense if you need a level terrace for entertaining or playing sports. Its impact on the land is significant, since it involves reshaping the land.Retaining walls are generally made of stone, timber, concrete blocks or poured concrete. A wall higher than 18 inches will likely need to be backfilled with gravel and a French drain to relieve pressure caused by water buildup. Be sure to check your local guidelines for wall height, as you may need to install a railing for safety.Retaining walls may also be fabricated from metal such as Cor-Ten. This is generally a more expensive option, but the final product can be a stunning focal point. Be advised that metal can absorb and retain heat in full sun, so choose your plants accordingly.