How to landscape a sloping garden

Updated July 19, 2017

A sloping area in any garden can be a challenge for even the most experienced gardener. Terracing is an excellent solution to this problem. It can be very stylish when a dry stack stone wall is built to hold the terracing. This stone wall not only adds a decorative element to the garden but also warms the soil through the transfer of heat from the stone to the soil. This can allow the gardener to plant sooner and grow longer into the season. The terracing itself also protects the plants because it causes cold air to follow the terraced area instead of settling on the plants.

Draw out the design of the terrace on graph paper using pencil and ruler.

Cut sod using a spade or sod cutter and lay back down on the soil with grass side down. Cover the area with well-seasoned compost.

Cut the terrace design into equal-sized beds using a shovel. Smooth the soil surface with a garden rake.

Following the lines of the design begin to dry stack stones into a stone wall. As the wall goes up, make sure that it leans inward or toward the soil to help hold it up. Make sure the wall does not go higher than 20 inches in height.

Plant trees in the top terrace section and shrubs in the middle level. The lowest level needs to be planted with the smallest plants in the design.

Place mulch on top of the terraced garden area.

Lay down soak hoses or drip irrigation system in the garden.


If perennials are used or more weed control is needed, lay down weed barrier on top of the garden. To increase garden space, plant in the cracks of the stone wall around the terrace.


Be careful when walking on the soil in the terraced area. Soil compaction can cause a stone wall to tumble down.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Shape or sod cutter
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Well-seasoned compost
  • Garden rake
  • Stone from rock quarries or yards
  • Plants of choice
  • Mulch
  • Irrigation such as soak hoses or drip irrigation
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Mindy McIntosh-Shetter has been writing since 2010. Her work appears on various websites and blogs. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in agriculture education with minors in biology and natural resources from Purdue University. She is pursuing a master's degree in environmental education and urban planning from the University of Louisville.