April 7, 2018 Ed Stam

Hillside Landscaping in BC

Hillside landscaping in BC has to address the simple problem of holding your property in place. Even a small hill on your property can present challenges and create long-term problems if not addressed properly. Designs will vary depending on the location, materials and surrounding properties, however the basics will be the same for most. You need to hold the soil in place to prevent erosion.

The main reason people purchase hillside properties is for the view, the value of a home can be directly affected by the views it offers. Before beginning any hillside landscaping it is important to identify the sight lines and preserve any views. This is especially important when planting new trees and shrubs that could grow too large and interfere with the view over time.

One of the most common methods of hillside landscaping in BC is terracing with either stone or concrete block retaining walls. Terracing has been used in farming and landscaping for thousands of years. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are one of the most famous ancient examples where 80’ high elaborate terraces and floating plants were used to create a stunning visual effect that visitors marveled at for centuries.

Retaining walls are the most common method of terracing a steep hillside. Typically these walls are made of pre fab concrete blocks to create “steps” on a hillside. The number and size of these “steps,” or terraces, will depend on the size and grade of the slope. Pre fab concrete is a common choice, however some home owners prefer a more natural look and use natural stones and rocks to create a vertical rock garden. In both cases, a landscaping professional should be used to ensure your retaining walls pass the test of time.

We recommend terracing a slope as gradually as possible. You will want to take up the grade with a series of short terraces rather than two very large ones. The larger the terrace, the more top soil is removed and therefore more erosion control is needed. Also you will need a much more substantial retaining wall to hold back a large amount of earth.

In addition to retaining walls, actual steps and staircases may be required to provide access to various garden elements. Stone or concrete steps can be more than just practical pieces. Consider enhancing the visual lines by adding native plants that line your path up the hill.

We also recommend using woody plants to bind slopes deep underground. Trees with deep networks of fine roots are highly effective at binding subsoil layers

Altering a hillside landscape allows you to control drainage and ensure erosion from rainfall doesn’t eat away at your landscape. Hillside landscaping in BC is important for those heavy weather events that can cause so much damage to properties. To ensure your hillside property is protected, contact the hillside landscape design experts at Blossom Hill!

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