If you have a sloped backyard, an uneven hillside, or a steep slope in your front yard, you know how difficult it can be to find the perfect landscape design for these areas.
These types of spaces present numerous problems from soil erosion to ongoing maintenance. Solving these problems while also ensuring your yard is visually appealing can be time-consuming and expensive.
Landscaping a slope yard is often easier said than done. That is why it’s critical to plan any landscaping work on uneven ground with care.
Even if you have little space, a tight budget, or no experience, this article will walk you through how to make an attractive and low-maintenance landscaped hillside.
Low-Cost Landscape Design Ideas for a Slope
Install Groundcover Plants
One of the best and cheapest ways to landscape a steeper slope is by installing groundcover plants.
Ground cover plants are low-growing plants that spread out across the ground, filling in any bare patches or spaces. Not only do they add color and life to your yard, but they also help to prevent soil erosion.
There are many types of groundcover plants to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that will thrive in your climate and on your slope. Some popular choices include:
– English ivy
– Creeping jenny
– Ajuga reptans
Use Native Plants
Using native plants is another great way to landscape a sloped area on a budget.
Native plants are those that have been growing in your region for thousands of years. They are well adapted to the local climate and soil, which means they require less maintenance over time.
Design with Low-Maintenance Plants
Selecting plants or flower beds that have a low need for pruning or watering will help keep your landscape design costs down as there’s no ongoing care required after initial installation. It also saves you from having to lug around heavy tools up steep slopes!
Here are some examples:
– Hydrangea trees: These ornamental deciduous flowering trees bloom spectacularly each year, adding beauty to the yard while requiring little maintenance beyond yearly pruning and mulching during their dormant period (usually in winter). Note how nice this one looks even at its young age!
– Junipers: These evergreen conifers are an excellent choice for sloped areas. They can withstand harsh weather and grow in almost any soil condition, making them a popular landscaping tree.
– Hedge roses: If you’re looking to add color without having to deal with pruning or watering, choose some thornless hedge rose bushes instead of traditional rose plants that require frequent care.
Build a Tiered Retaining Wall
A tiered retaining wall may be used to create a beautiful, level garden space on uneven or sloping ground. These walls are constructed in tiers and allow you to regulate how much land needs to be filled in and how steeply the slope should drop. If done effectively, they can add interest, color, and definition to your yard!
The key here is building it correctly:
– For durability, use concrete blocks stacked three high (or more) when laying bricks or pavers on top of them.
– Stagger the joints between each block so they don’t fall into perfect alignment.
– Fill any holes that need extra support with wire mesh.
Consult your local home improvement store about their selection of precast stone products and how to build a tiered retaining wall that will last.
Mulch the Slope
If you’re not interested in doing any major landscaping work, consider simply mulching the slope instead. Mulching is the process of adding a layer of organic material (like bark chips or straw) to the soil to help retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and improve soil health. Not only does it look nice, but it’s also an affordable way to improve your yard!
Create a Natural Rock Garden
Another way to landscape a sloping terrain on a budget is to create a natural rock garden. This can be done by simply stacking large rocks in an attractive arrangement, filling the gaps with smaller stones, and adding plants between the rocks.
This type of landscaping is low-maintenance and doesn’t require any ongoing watering or fertilizing. It’s also drought-resistant, which makes it perfect for slopes that are prone to erosion.
If you have some extra time and energy, this could be a fun project to take on over the weekend!
Build Stairs or a Pathway
If the sloped backyard is too steep to easily walk up or down, consider building stairs or a pathway. This can be done using concrete, bricks, flagstones, or other materials that fit with your home’s style.
It’s important to make sure the steps are wide enough and have a gradual incline so they’re safe to use. You may also want to add handrails for extra safety.
This project can be costly depending on the materials you choose, but it will definitely improve the accessibility and usability of your yard!
Use Steep Slope Pavers
If you have a steep incline or hill in your yard, installing pavers can be a great way to create an attractive and functional space. Not only do they add slope stability to an unstable surface, but they also come in a variety of colors and styles to fit any design scheme.
Paver installation is not as difficult as it may seem and can be done by most homeowners with some basic tools and instructions. Plus, if you choose modular pavers, they can easily be moved if needed at a later date.
Here are some tips on how to install steep slope pavers:
– Plan Ahead: It’s critical to prepare ahead of time for paver installation to avoid any unforeseen issues. Make a sketch of the area you wish to pave and double-check that you have all of the required materials.
– Use a Level: Make certain that your ground is level before beginning to lay the pavers. This will ensure a smooth, uniform finish.
– Start in the Middle: Begin by laying pavers on a slope from the center out. This will assist prevent them from sliding downhill.
– Install Pavers Overkill: It’s better to have too many pavers than not enough! It’s usually preferable to buy more than you need rather than running out halfway through the project if you’re unsure how many you’ll need.
– Create a Strong Bond: To ensure that the pavers stay in place and don’t slide, use an adhesive specifically made for this purpose. A firm bond will also aid weed prevention by keeping weeds out of your pavers.
Are you unsure where to begin?
Tackle Your Slope in Sections
Instead of attempting to landscape the entire slope at once, consider tackling it in sections. This can be helpful if you don’t have time or money to finish the job immediately.
Begin by laying artificial turf and mulch over it as a temporary remedy until you have time to finish the job. You’ll avoid some effort now, but you’ll still see results!
Use Grass Seed Over Mulch
If you have a sloping yard and your grass has died as a result of erosion problems caused by the slope, consider putting grass seed on top of bare soil instead of mulching it. If there is non-soil space between each blade of grass, the grass won’t grow.
If your grass is completely destroyed, you may spread mulch over the bare soil or weeds to hide them and then sow grass seed on top of the mulch. This method might be tough to keep up with if there’s a lot of wind, as the seeds will be blown away from their intended location.
Affordable Plants for Hillside Landscaping
Whatever approach you take to slope landscaping, you’ll need the right sort of plants for your region and your own space. Deep-rooted plants, for example, can help maintain soil stability, ground cover plants conceal ugly areas, and ornamental grasses and perennials may be used to add color and texture to your slope.
When purchasing plants, consider how difficult they’ll be to maintain. Plants that don’t need shearing or require little yearly upkeep might save you time in the long run. For homeowners, the following plants are just a few examples to consider incorporating into your sloped landscape:
- Russian Sage
- Lamb’s Ear
- Creeping Juniper
Choosing the finest plants for slopes and hills requires knowledge and preparation. Our landscape contractors can help you determine the finest plants for your needs, based on your desired effects.