Sloping gardens

Designing a sloping garden

A sloping garden can pose a real problem for gardeners. While plants are generally happy to grow on level or sloped earth, creating a garden that is accessible and safe takes time, effort and planning. Here are a few different ways to create a sloping garden design that will make the most of your garden. Whether your garden slopes up, down, or from side to side, we help our clients to find the best design and bring it to reality.

Top tips for a sloping garden

Take a look at the following Top Tips if you have a sloping garden and you are seeking some inspiration!
If your garden has a gentle slope to it, either uphill or downhill, the easiest solution may be to live with it! In fact, an undulating lawn can look more interesting than a regular flat lawn. Providing you can lay a path – perhaps using gravel with a stone edging - you should be able to access all parts of the garden. Raised beds either side, held with retaining walls of brick, can offset the sloping effect. Try to avoid straight edges as this can emphasis even the slightest slope; you may find a curved design helps. And clever use of plants can also create the illusion of balance – if your garden slopes downhill, taller plants towards the bottom bring it all together.

If your garden has a steeper slope you may want to create terraces. In fact, this can be a great way to divide the garden into themed areas. For example, you could create a seating area for entertaining at the top, overlooking an ornamental lawn, with a separate play area, and a kitchen garden. Get creative – your only limitation is your imagination!

The easiest way to create terraces is by using a “cut and fill” technique. This is where you dig earth out to level the first terrace, and then use that earth to level the next layer, and so on. It can be used on both uphill and downhill slopes. Keep each terrace in place with a retaining wall –brick-built walls, concrete blocks (that you can paint, if you wish), rocks, stones and railways sleepers all work well. Don’t use wooden planks, as these will rot and cause problems in future.

Link each terrace with steps. These should, ideally, be wide and shallow, but if you end up with narrow or steep steps, consider adding handrails for safety. These could be incorporated into a rose-covered pergola, which would also be an attractive garden feature.