Landscaping Ideas for Sloped Backyards

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A property with a spectacular view most likely contains its fair share of slopes. This type of terrain presents its own set of challenges when it comes to fitting the existing landscape into a desired design. Here are a few ways to make your hilly property safer, more functional and more compatible with your landscaping vision.


Terracing showcases the beauty of multi-leveled land while optimizing the practicality of a slope by creating numerous functional surfaces. Terraces can be used for planting flower beds or vegetable gardens, while a particularly spacious terrace may be used as a viewing platform. Viewing platforms provide a quiet, comfortable spot from which to soak up a view and should be well protected from the elements. Consider installing a pergola or gazebo overhead and opt for plush outdoor furniture that is gentle on your joints. Retaining walls are generally used to support the soil, while creating a clear gap above the leveled land below. The type of retaining wall product you select will determine the aesthetic of your terraces. The purpose of a terrace can also be to showcase the beauty of your chosen retaining wall product, be it timber or natural stone.

Preventing Erosion

It is important to consider the practicality of a sloped landscape to prevent soil erosion and ensure the longevity of your landscape design. As rain water rushes down a slope, it can carry soil with it, unless the proper precautions are put in place. Retaining walls are an excellent solution but should be accompanied by adequate drainage pipes that redirect the water away from the slope. Plants also serve to keep soil in place and can be used in combination with grading to reduce the slope and minimize erosion.

Water Features

All water needs to be transformed into a captivating focal feature is gravity. A slope enables you to include the sights and sounds of moving water into your landscape design. A water source can be installed at the top of an incline and allowed to trickle down in the form of a whimsical stream. Litter the slope with boulders of various sizes to create small eddies and waves as the water collides with debris. A retaining wall holding up a terrace can double as a spectacular waterfall. A natural stone retaining wall can create a mystical waterfall with an organic look and feel, while a sleek retaining wall can be paired with a waterfall for an extra luxurious finish. A pond or pondless catchment mechanism will be required to collect the water at the base of the slope, and your chosen catchment type will depend on the aesthetic of your landscape and water feature.

A Slope as a Canvas

Most plants fair as well on a slope as they do on level land. As a result, a slope can be transformed into a living artwork by covering it in plantings. Colorful flowering plants or interesting evergreens can be used to match the color palette of your landscape. How you choose to dress up your slopes will also depend on whether you need them to be eye-catching or allow another landscape feature to take center stage.