May 20, 2014
Images of a vast green lawn, flat patios and pretty gardens fill the minds of most homeowners when they buy a house with a yard. Most of these things, it seems, would require a flat or nearly flat piece of property, but what do you do if you have a sloping yard. No matter what angle the land around your house lies at, it is possible to implement an attractive and practical landscaping scheme.
Sloping Yard Problems to Solve
Yards that slope both gradually and drastically have certain problems the homeowner needs to overcome in order to have attractive landscaping that lasts. A very gradual slope has much fewer potential drawbacks. If your backyard has a more severe angle, these problems can cause headaches for years if not properly handled early on.
- Erosion of topsoil
- Water run off can cause damage
- Lack of space for entertaining or play
- Difficulty with maintenance tasks
Provide Structure to a Sloping Yard
The first step in landscaping a sloping yard is to provide structure. This will help eliminate erosion and provide more flat space to actually use. While many people desire a flat expanse of lush green grass, this may not be practical if the angle of your yard is more than a couple of feet across an acre or so.
Plan hardscaping accents like patios, decks and walls first. It might be necessary to excavate part of the backyard to eliminate the slope and build a firm and flat platform of soil to lay a patio on. Decks can be multilevel and include a step or two from the lower part of the yard to the upper one. For backyards with an extreme slope, retaining walls with firm foundations could be used to prevent serious erosion or landslides.
Instead of large trees that have a greater chance of falling on a slope and grass with short root structures, consider ground covers that can help prevent erosion and do not need to be mowed.
Irrigation Considerations With Various Elevations
Water – both too much of it in rainstorms and the need of it for plant growth and help – can cause more problems on sloping yards. If the yard slopes toward the house, drainage and flooding may result. On a heavily planted hillside garden, getting water up to the plants at the top so they do not die can also be a challenge. Many irrigation systems are not pressure compensating and it may not be enough force. And who wants to lug a watering can up a hill?
Landscaping on a sloping yard can be a challenge, but it is possible to have both flat places for entertaining and outdoor living and plenty of attractive plants as well. Remove dirt from the higher part to form a firm foundation for a patio or deck. Plant drought-resistant ground covers and shrubs that will help combat erosion. Enjoy the unique backyard oasis you create on a sloping yard.
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