There’s something magical about living on a hillside. There are the wondrous views, with the feeling of being at a bird’s level when overlooking parts of your landscape—but sloped land can also mean having limited usable space. Sloped lots can also make caring for your landscape difficult. To get the most out of your outdoor space, here are five landscape design ideas to improve your sloped backyard in Sterling Heights, MI.
Start with a few thoughtfully positioned retaining walls. Depending on how sloped your property is, you may need one retaining wall, or several. If you need several retaining walls, the most dramatic look could be a series of terraces. Popular in steep Mediterranean villages where every square inch of flat land is coveted, terraces can give your landscape a fresh appeal and endless options for customized outdoor living and gardening spaces—an outdoor kitchen and dining area on the lowest level, a tucked-in fire pit area on an upper level, a variety of flower and vegetable gardens, and waterfalls between the levels. The result could be a delightful mix of innovation, function, artistry, and personality.
Add a water feature such as a pondless waterfall or a series of waterfalls that culminate in a koi pond. Sloped lots naturally lend themselves to the soothing sound of falling water. A simple pump system, a few boulders and stone ledges, some cool lighting, lush plants and a few places to sit and dip your toes, can totally transform an erosion-prone hillside into a luxury oasis.
Winding walkways with gentle switchbacks take you on a delightful journey through the landscape in a much more relaxed fashion than stairs that take you straight up and down. Large stepping stones offer the most natural look, but be sure to use non-slip materials for safety. A well-laid gravel path with sturdy borders offers a more surefooted journey than slick stones. Another alternative is to use concrete pavers, which are slip-resistant and also tie the walkway in with retaining walls and patio areas. Be sure to add landscape lighting for safe nighttime passage.
The Look of Natural Landscaping
A rock garden is a beautiful way to make the most of a sloped lot if your primary outdoor living space is large enough for your uses and you want a virtually carefree backyard. Hillsides often pose challenging conditions for plants: erosion, the wrong sun exposure and poor drainage can wreak havoc on newly seeded or planted flower beds. One solution is to arrange large rocks on the hillside to create a stable foundation for plants and even provide a bit of shade for seedlings. Once the hillside is covered in vegetation, a rock garden will add a natural look to your landscape, and be relatively maintenance-free. If you add garden steps and a meandering path through the garden you’ll have a show-stopping landscape feature!
Add a Destination
One way to make a sloped property really come to life is to create a destination, by for example having a fire pit installed with built-in seating nearby. Not only will a fire pit become everyone’s favorite place to be, it also adds beauty to your landscape even when it’s not in use.
Photo Credit: Unilock