How to Design an Angled Terracing Garden

The terracing in this garden has been angled to produce a more interesting layout. If a design is going to depend upon equal amounts of cut and fill, like this one, it is always wise to begin by assuming the terraces are to go straight across the slope and calculate accord­ingly. Once this simple solution can be seen to work, then some adjustments may be made by pushing one end of the terrace back while pulling the other end forward, without destroying the equilibrium. This can lead not just to angled terraces but staggered or curved ones too. The original slope here was steepest by the house. In order to economize on the amount of backfilling needed, the terrace next to the house has been kept relatively small. It would also be in shade much of the time except, perhaps, for the end where there is a greenhouse.

The main terrace is at a lower level well away from the house shadow. This terrace has been created by some cutting and filling and is large enough to accom­modate a small lawn, a good-sized patio, a barbecue area and a water feature. The retaining walls would probably be brick with a backing of concrete blocks. Where a retaining wall comes within, say, 5 m (15 ft) of a house and will, in effect, be indirectly responsible for the stability of the house, the advice of a structural engineer ought to be sought. The steps in this garden would also be in brick to match the walls, with the very bottom step flush with the lawn for easy mowing. There is always a choice of having the tops of the retaining walls just level with the higher terrace, or of having them extended upwards to form a low safety wall. This second option may be wise for the top terrace but the main terrace has a good deal of planting space against the retaining walls which could therefore, quite safely, end up flush with the soil in the border, leaving the plants to provide the safety barrier.

Angled  Garden

The brick-built barbecue and its seating should enjoy evening sunshine. It has been arranged so that the barbecue activities are partly separated from the main patio. This would enable people to move away from the cooking and serving area once they have collected or eaten their food. The seats would be hardwood slats fixed down onto brick plinths and, of course, they could double up as a work surface.

The water feature might be a bubble fountain in cobbles (safe for children) or a circular pond with a small fountain. Alternatively, in very modern surround­ings, the pool could contain a series of glass or clear plastic tubes at differing heights with overflowing or rising air bubbles. A feature like this, and indeed the whole patio area, would benefit immensely from localized lighting. This could be a mixture of white light around the barbecue, and coloured lighting near the water feature and any specimen plants. It would be important to light the steps because to light the general area without including these could be danger­ous.

A number of deciduous trees and specimen conifers form the backbone of the planting. In the lower garden and in the two front corners of the main terrace, the borders would contain mainly shrubs. In other areas on the main terrace, more ground cover and herbaceous flowers could be used with fragrant climbers on the fences, while tubs of annuals would brighten the paved areas.

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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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