Landscaping Ideas for Steep Slopes

Steep slope landscaping poses serious challenges for inexperienced landscapers. If you do not properly stabilize the hill, you can face serious erosion, which can damage your landscape and even threaten your home. A properly landscaped slope, however, can be striking and attractive. Climbing your landscape becomes a miniature journey with a rewarding view at the top.

Path

Make a wide, gentle path, crisscrossing the slope. Make it wide enough to push a wheelbarrow on. This path will be your route to landscape the hill and a garden path to enjoy later. Plan your landscape around it, growing high-maintenance plants within easy reach of the path. If you have a water source built into the hill, landscape the path so that a hose will be within easy reach of anything you need to water.

Stabilize the Hill

People often assume that a steep slope requires a heavy-duty, reinforced retaining wall. Although a retaining wall will do the best job of preventing erosion, you can stabilize a hill less expensively by using plants. Las Pilitas Nursery recommends using native plants and planting a combination of groundcover, perennials, shrubs and trees. Mulch any open areas with shredder bark or embed landscape boulders to help hold down the earth.

Terraces

Use terraces as social spaces on your slope. Dig out soil from the hillside and use it to extend a flat terrace out several feet, giving the hill a stair-step pattern. Construct low retaining walls to separate the terraces and prevent erosion and use bricks, stones, wood or other materials to floor your terraces. According to the Mississippi State University Extension, homeowners should not use terraces which require a retaining wall more than 2 feet tall, because rainwater and dirt behind the terrace can build up to a tremendous amount of pressure.

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Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has nearly five years' experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.