Steep Slope Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping on a steep slope can present design challenges. The angle makes growing grass or plants difficult, due to the high runoff rate of water. Proper irrigation is essential to ensure the plants on the slope get enough water throughout the growing season. South- and west-facing slopes require the most frequent irrigation due to their exposure to the sun.

Ground Cover

Make good use of low-lying ground-cover plants. This is ideal for areas on the edge of a property that slope off into a ditch or lakefront. Planting a multitude of ground cover plants can help reduce soil erosion in these areas and slow water shedding. If the slope is exposed to sun, plant woolly yarrow, fringed sage or ice plant. Shade-loving ground cover, such as periwinkle or winter creeper, would be well suited to an area with many trees.


Terracing involves creating several minigardens on many different levels. Building material, such as treated landscaping timbers or stone, is used to create several walls from the top to the bottom of the slope. The slope's steepness determines the walls' height. Fill these minigardens with soil until each sits level. Fill these gardens with plants to add visual interest to the landscape design.


Build a set, or sets, of stone or wooden steps that run the length of the slope, as an alternative to building several terraces. Build several steps into the sloping ground and level off, based on the slope's steepness. The rest of the slope's landscaping is kept fairly simple, often enhances with some simple flowering shrubs. A brightly colored mulch, used as a ground cover, eliminates the need for grass, and helps reduce water runoff.

Keywords: steep slope landscaping, planting on slopes, slope landscaping designs

About this Author

Sophia Darby is a former professional hairstylist who has spent the last six years writing hair-related articles for both online and print publications. Her work has appeared in Celebrity Hairstyles Magazine, as well as multiple websites.