Landscape Design Inspiration For A Hilly Garden

If your home occupies a plot with an incline, the idea of putting together a fantastic looking garden may seem like an uphill struggle. Hillsides present different challenges to neat and flat garden spaces. Nevertheless, hilly gardens can offer a great deal of potential, so long as you work with what nature has given you. Moreover, planting that is sympathetic with a hillside location can really make your garden’s design stand out.

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Don’t be put off a stunning, even contemporary, design because the landscape seems limiting at first. In fact, it is by working within the constraints of a hillside exterior that you are likely to come up with something new. Each garden is different, but the nature of your hillside will make your landscape design, however you choose to implement it, unique.

Terracing.

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With very steep hills, that are very difficult to walk up and down, you might want to throw the towel in immediately. However, by organising your hillside into terraces you can make the whole slope a series of interconnected beds. Concrete retaining walls work effectively and create blank canvases for plants to grown up in front of. Terraces that lie to either side of a set of steps are a classic look and allow you easy access for maintenance. For very steep slopes, that you cannot get to easily even when they are terraced, go for hardy perennial shrubs that don’t need cutting back often but are dominant enough to outgrow weeds. If you have flattened an area of hillside into a terrace, you don’t have to only devote it to planting. Why not use it for a sun deck or a pool?

Hillside Planting.

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It is not just retaining walls that can hold the earth of a terrace in place. Many plants love hillside conditions and their maturing roots will prevent problems of slippage. Preventing soil erosion with a good choice of plants is one thing, but sleect attractive ones, too. Fast growing flowering vines, like periwinkle, are good choices. Also known as Vinca major, periwinkle provides ground cover and produces lavender flowers. Lavender itself is another good choice, as it is natural to moor land. Plant some trees, too. Their extensive roots are good for holding soil in place, However, they will take light and water away from other plants. If you like a springtime display, go for meadow planting with wild flowers. If you have a sunny spot that it will be difficult to weed, try liriope which flourishes even under stiff competition and will be stable even on steeper slopes.

Steps.

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Paths that wend their way back and forth over slopes look great in large gardens, but if yours is not big then use steps as the most practical way of getting about over the inclines. With steep slopes, have your steps make the occasional turn, as this is more pleasing to the eye and feels a good deal safer. Gravel steps, held in place by brickwork are good if you want to provide drainage away from the walkway. Stone steps and wooden ones are also popular choices. In most hilly situations curve the steps so that they follow the natural contour of the hill.

Water.

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The addition of water in a hillside garden can really transform it. A waterfall, natural or man made, will not only create visual interest in your home’s exterior, but add a pleasant sound. If you have a steep hill, using a waterfall to show it off to best effect makes sense. Even if you don’t want a natural look, a water feature made from manmade products has the same, pleasant effect.

Stand On Stilts.

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It is sometimes easier to create a flat area by using stilts than shift the earth required for terracing. Stilts work with the hillside environment rather than pulverizing it with major earthworks. Install a deck or a summer house on your hillside on stilts. Just make sure that your foundations are securely dug.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.