September 8, 2017 Ed Stam

Landscaping on a Steep Slope

Landscaping on a steep slope or hillside presents a few challenges that must be overcome with proper planning and forethought. In the Lower Mainland there are a number of steep grades, hillsides, mountains or even just small hills that we have built residential homes on. Often you will see steep driveways or even front yards that have a sharp downward angles. The home will of course be built level (we hope) but the landscape has to be held together otherwise gravity will come into play.

Designs will vary based on the location and materials available. However the basics will be pretty much the same. Your biggest concern on a slope is erosion control, and for that there are a few tried a true methods to consider:

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls have been used for thousands of years and come in a variety of forms and materials. The most common material you will see are pre-fab concrete blocks, their uniform nature and availability in a variety of textures and colours make them a popular choice for retaining walls. Retaining walls can be layered to terrace a sloped hillside and create multiple flat areas for gardens, play areas, etc.

Rock Garden Walls

Although more challenging than a traditional pre-fab retaining wall, rock garden walls create a unique feature with a more natural look. Natural stone will add more character and texture to any landscaping feature.

Deep Rooted Lawn Turf

While not as aesthetically pleasing, this method is certainly more cost effective and can look good if done correctly. The key here is to ensure proper watering of your lawn, otherwise if no deep saturation happens the water will just run off the lawn and the grass will die. For this we recommend a drip sprinkler system to ensure the water is delivered accurately in the areas you need it.

This is just a basic overview of some ideas on landscaping on a steep slope or hillside. Not mentioned is the fact that decks and patios are often incorporated to take up space and help terrace a portion of your property.

Bottom line, having a sloped hillside is no reason to not have a first class landscape design. If you want to learn more about landscaping on a steep slope, contact the experts at Blossom Hill Landscape & Design.

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