Landscaping Ideas for the Hillside

Just because the land is sloped doesn't mean you can't create an inviting hillside landscape. In fact, many plants and flowers planted along the slope add long-lasting color and prevent erosion at the same time. Putting pathways through hillside spaces eases access to other areas of the garden and provides a resting spot while pruning, weeding and watering the garden.

Water Feature

Create a trickling water feature that flows down the hillside to create a relaxing design to the garden. Let the water feature follow the curves of the landscape to create a natural display. Made from a wide range of materials like river rocks, concrete and slate, water features are an attractive, tumbling feature that look dramatic from any angle of the hillside and can be created along small or large landscapes. Alongside the water feature and planted within the cracks and crevices of the rocks, grow water-loving plants like ferns and hostas. Low-growing perennials like moss and woolly thyme also work well because they hug the rocks and provide high contrast to the space.

Stone Staircase

Connect areas of the hillside together by installing a stone staircase. Made from a wide range of materials like slate, flagstone and brick, a staircase creates an inviting design that brings you outdoors to admire nature. A normal-sized staircase should be at least 2-to 3-feet wide. This allows for strolling along the garden to admire the flowers or maneuvering gardening equipment like wheelbarrows up and down the space. Slate is durable and weather resistant and creates a long-lasting design. The deep blues, grays and rich purples found within each piece create a natural look to the staircase and one that blends in with the surrounding space.

Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs add height and texture to a hillside landscape. They retain their vibrant color and foliage to create year-round color on the hillside. When planted in small groups or alone they create a focal point. A low-maintenance evergreen shrub is the dwarf yaupon holly. It has a dense, rounded form and mounding shape that grows up to 5 feet tall. The dark green, oval-shaped leaves on dwarf hollies grow up to 1.5 inches wide and, when young, cast a yellow tinge. Versatile, dwarf yaupon hollies are both drought and salt tolerant. They grow best in full sun to part shade and tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, including dry and wet soils.

Keywords: hillside landscaping ideas, water feature, stone staircase, evergreen shrubs

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.