With problems such as a leaky basement, soil erosion, bare patches and pooling water, a home on a sloped lot can seem like a curse. However, with the right design elements and regular landscape maintenance services, you can turn the curves of your sloped property into a thing of beauty.
Before You Begin
If you love DIY projects, you might be tempted to get started on your beautification project right away. Before your shovel hits the dirt, it’s a good idea to run your ideas by a landscaping contractor. After hearing your thoughts and taking the slope of your property into account, this professional can tell you about possible problems that could arise, like flooding or poor drainage. If you currently have problems because of a sloped lot, the contractor can tell you how to remedy the issue. Beautifying a sloped lot can take a lot of work, so it’s worth your while to make sure the work gets done correctly the first time.
Landscaping Ideas for a Sloped Yard
Retaining walls and terracing: As a multi-purpose solution to sloped land, retaining walls and terracing give you the opportunity to really enjoy your landscaping. Even with just one wall, you can eliminate part of a slope and have a flat surface for a garden bed or entertaining. Give your yard a multi-dimensional look by installing retaining walls on different levels. For example, use one tier for herbs, another for flowers, and include a bench at the bottom.
Working with nature: Gravity is always going to win when you have a sloped lot. Take advantage of this fact and plant water-loving trees, shrubs and flowers at the base of your slope. Better yet, have a landscaping contractor install a rain garden to catch water runoff after it rains.
Xeriscaping: Xeri means “dry.” When you xeriscape, you incorporate into your landscape design native plants that don’t require a lot of water. Such plants can include ornamental grasses and succulents. Mowing grass on a slope can be difficult and dangerous. By xeriscaping, you reduce your yard’s need for water, spend less time on lawn maintenance and don’t have to worry about the bald spot that always seems to form on the slope.
Ground covers: If you don’t have a green thumb but want to fill in the bare spots on your slope, consider planting ground covers. These types of lush plants don’t get tall; instead, they form a lush carpet that prevents weeds and soil erosion. As a bonus, when the ground cover blooms, the hit of color will take your breath away. Some good ground cover choices in the Northwest include pachysandra, vinca, kinnikinnick, or Asiatic jasmine. A landscape maintenance service provider can tell you which ground covers work best in your area.
Multi-tiered water feature: Be the envy of your neighborhood with a cascading water feature that empties into a pond at its base. Such an installation helps break up the monotony of a plain-looking slope, adds dimension to xeriscaping and adds interest to terracing. Because water features require pumps, digging and a lot of planning, work with a landscaping contractor to prevent catastrophic rookie mistakes.
Instead of seeing a sloped lot as space you can’t use, view it as an opportunity to achieve the creative landscape of your dreams.
Guest authored by Landscape East & West, an award winning full-service landscape and design company based in Portland, OR. Landscape East & West specializes in residential landscape maintenance services, from all-organic fertilizing and conscientious pruning to irrigation services and integrated pest management.