Many options can make a sloped yard into an inviting and easily maintained landscape. When choosing how to landscaping slopes for a sloped backyard, consider the steepness of the slope, the sunlight, and your design preferences.
A sloping backyard poses a few challenges when landscaping. Water run-off can cause erosion. The lower areas around the slope might have drainage issues. North facing slopes are shady and create frost pockets. Sloped lawn areas are tricky to mow. Fortunately, you have several options on how to landscaping slopes for a sloped backyard.
Landscaping Slopes using Plants
Using plants on the slope will reduce erosion and eliminate mowing. Groundcovers make a great choice for steep slopes that are difficult to maintain. Ivy, periwinkle, lily-of-the-valley, and other spreading plants work as groundcovers. Bulbs make a low-maintenance option, as well. Deep-rooted perennials and shrubs will help stabilize erosion.
You can create a garden on a southern facing slope. Herbs, vegetables, grapes and berries grow fine on slopes. Hostas, ferns, heuchera, and pulmonaria are shade loving plants that you can use in sloping beds that receive less than 6 hours of sun. Mulching around plants helps retain moisture and reduce weeds, but it can wash out on steeper slopes.
Rock Garden, Landscaping Slopes with Rocks
A sloping backyard is an ideal place to build a rock garden. Once established, a rock garden requires little maintenance. A rock garden consists of strategically placed boulders of varying sizes and plants. The plants used in rock gardens vary, but often require little supplemental watering and do well in somewhat poor soils. Look for alpine plants, succulents and groundcovers to plant between the rocks.
Terrace Landscaping Slopes
Depending on your budget and goals, a terraced garden might make a good choice. Terraced gardens are versatile. You can plant vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the terraces. The small walls can be made from timbers, stone, rock, bricks and other materials that blend with your home and landscape. Terraced gardens might require some soil to fill the levels or you can dig out the terraces. This is a good option for steep hills and can incorporate steps to make reaching each level easy.
Walls, Leveling a Sloped Yard
Another option for how to landscaping slopes for a sloped backyard is a retaining wall. For mild slopes, you can build a low retaining wall and back fill the area with soil to create a flat planting bed or raised lawn area. On steeper slopes, you can regrade the area within the retaining wall to flatten it and spread the soil. You could also build more than one wall if you have a large area of varying grades. Once leveled, the raised bed can be planted as any other garden bed or lawn.
References of Landscaping Slopes
- Landscaping slopes: An Uphill Battle: http://grounds-mag.com/mag/grounds_maintenance_uphill_battle/index1.html
- SULIS: Ground Covers: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/landscaping/maint/ground_covers.html
- SULIS: Installing Block Retaining Walls: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/landscaping/implement/retaining.htm