How to Design a Steeply Sloping Garden

The natural slope of this plot was steepest near the house which is where most of the terracing has been done. The retaining walls have been tiered so as to avoid the gloomy effect of one rather high wall. This also creates plenty of opportunity to use plants almost like a waterfall of foliage growing down over the front of each wall. The paved area at the back of the house is not extensive due to the steepness of the slope and the cost of digging any further into the hillside. Its angular shape means that almost any style of paving could be used in this area and be extended to include all nearby steps. The only access into the garden from this side paved area is across a stretch of timber decking which has been built over one end of a rectangular pool. It is not a particularly safe feature for very young children although if you like the general effect of this, a damp area of cobbles, large round stones and bog plants could replace the water so that the timber decking is still a necessary means of access.

Steeply Sloping Garden

Planting at either end of the terraces ought to feature a high proportion of evergreen shrubs so that terrace walls emerge from behind foliage and the actual ends of the walls are hidden from view. I have included a small deciduous tree on one side and a specimen conifer on the other, which would add height to their group of shrubs and help to frame a view up the garden from the house.

The double flight of steps finally comes out flush with the large circular lawn. This may not be perfectly level but the more level it is, the better its shape will appear. Some slight banking of borders on either side would be necessary and also down from the rear fence, although retaining walls help with levelling in the two top corners. The steps leading up to the shed could be replaced by a ramp (depending on the amount of space avail­able) which would make mower access easier. Planting in this higher part of the garden would probably be mostly trees and shrubs, with the odd pocket of herbaceous flowers for extra colour.

Plant heights should be planned care­fully so that they sweep from the bound­aries down to the edges of the lawn. This will be easiest to achieve at the corners where there is most space. The effect would be a feeling of seclusion in the lawn area and a framed view of the garden from the house. An area near the shed or possibly near the opposite rear corner would have to be devoted to grass cuttings and a second area, probably to the side of the house, could be useful for garden rubbish resulting from the planted terraces.

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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