How to landscape a sloping garden

Written by mindy mcintosh-shetter
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How to landscape a sloping garden
When drawing out the design, make sure it is to scale. (pencil draw graph image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from Fotolia.com)

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.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you 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

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Instructions

  1. 1

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

    How to landscape a sloping garden
    When drawing out the design, make sure it is to scale. (pencil draw graph image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    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.

    How to landscape a sloping garden
    The turned over grass will turn into humus. (grass image by green308 from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

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

    How to landscape a sloping garden
    A simple shovel is all that is needed to cut the terraced area. (shovel in truck image by Andrew Orlemann from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    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.

    How to landscape a sloping garden
    Make sure the wall leans slightly to hold the soil in the terraced area (stone wall image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com)
  5. 5

    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.

    How to landscape a sloping garden
    When planting the terraced garden area, observe nature for some planting ideas. (trees image by Nikolay Svirid from Fotolia.com)
  6. 6

    Place mulch on top of the terraced garden area.

    How to landscape a sloping garden
    Mulch will conserve soil moisture and reduce soil erosion. (pine bark mulch image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com)
  7. 7

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

    How to landscape a sloping garden
    Laying an irrigation system in the terraced area will prevent soil erosion. (Water root irrigation system image by TekinT from Fotolia.com)

Tips and warnings

  • 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.

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