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What are the Best Tips for Hillside Landscaping?

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  • Written By: S. Frost
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Hillside landscaping can be challenging, but there are many possibilities for the outdoor space. Options that reduce the need to mow grass in the area can make the hill a lower maintenance area. Landscaping rocks, bushes, steps, and terraces can add to the look of a slope. These materials also help prevent soil erosion in the area.

Plants, such as shrubs and flowers, may provide attractive ground cover for the sloped landscape. They can also reduce the amount of hillside lawn care necessary by eliminating the need to mow. One challenge of using plants on a hillside is water will run down the hill, making irrigation less effective. For this reason, plants that are drought-tolerant with deep root systems typically work best, especially if they are native to the area. The root system of the plants also helps keep the soil in place, preventing erosion and retaining moisture.

Trees planted on a sloped area require more consideration. Conifers have a more sturdy root system that enables them to survive better on a hillside. A conifer is usually more likely than other trees to survive in such a spot, even if soil conditions are not ideal and the root system is partially exposed. Trees can also provide shade on the hill.

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Terraces built into a hillside landscaping plan also help retain moisture and prevent soil erosion. Retaining walls are also an option to create terraces along the slope. If the soil behind each retaining wall is flattened, shrubs and flowers planted in the flat area can further beautify hillside landscaping. Mulch around the plants can provide additional moisture retention of the soil.

Rocks are natural for landscaping on a hill. A rock garden can add visual interest to a slope without concerns about moisture levels. The landscaping rocks might also slow water as it runs down the hill, creating less runoff. Flowers planted near the rocks may receive the benefit of the water and dress up the rocks.

If plants are included along the hillside, access is needed for maintenance. A set of landscaping stairs up the hillside can make it easier to water and tend to the plants. Large, flat rocks are one option for creating a natural look with the stairs. Landscaping timbers or brick pavers are other possibilities for stairs in hillside landscaping.

A gently-sloping area can allow for hillside landscaping that includes a deck or patio. For example, a multi-tiered deck may provide more functional space, while taking advantage of the natural slope of the ground. Such a custom-built structure can offer an outdoor entertainment area and reduce the need to mow or irrigate.

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