It can be intimidating when thinking of ways to landscape your sloped property.  Designing and building on a hillside can be very challenging.  Despite the challenge, some of the most interesting projects I have worked on were built on slopes.  Having grade changes to your landscape adds depth and creates opportunities for a unique design.  Your property’s biggest downfall can become its greatest asset.  By properly utilizing walls, stone, or plant materials, you can tame your slope in a way that is both functional and attractive.

Retaining walls are a great way to help manage your property’s slope.  They can be used to create more usable yard space, or to level off an area where you want to install a patio and create an outdoor room.  Retaining walls are the obvious answer for most people when considering how to handle their yards slope, but many homeowners don’t like the idea of a big concrete retaining wall in their backyard.  The good news is that there are other alternatives.  For one, man-made concrete block retaining walls have come a long way in recent years.  There are many colors and styles to choose from all the way from very rustic to very modern.  There are also numerous natural stone products available that come in equal thicknesses making them easy to stack.  If you don’t like the idea of one larger retaining wall, you may be able to create two or more smaller retaining walls giving the area a terraced look.  Terraced walls create perfect pockets for landscape beds and plant materials.  By mixing in plant materials you will help soften the look of the retaining walls.

Another option to consider is the use of large natural stone boulders.  Boulders can be used in the same way a small retaining wall would be.  You can use them to create a flat spot where you want a patio installed for example.  There are also natural stone slabs that are quarried at 6” thicknesses that work great when used as a staircase.  Stone is a great option when you want to keep your landscape looking natural, and a stone staircase adds a safe way to get from point A to point B.  If you are not looking to create a flat spot but rather just prevent erosion, you can install a mix of boulders and plant materials on a hillside to help stabilize the soil.  It is best to plant things with deep roots in these areas and research which plants are best suited for the location.

When taking on your outdoor projects it is always best to consult a professional.  This is especially true when it comes to building something structural like a retaining wall.  It is important that proper construction methods are used to ensure the longevity of the installation.  Hiring a qualified designer from a reputable landscape company is a great way to start getting ideas on how best to manage your sloped property.