Beautiful Sloping Garden Ideas That Show You How To Deal With Rough Terrain

Slopes usually make building quite difficult but when it comes to landscaping a little bit of depth and level differentiation can look really nice. Sloping gardens as a result are very beautiful and an excellent choice if you’re dealing with an uneven piece of land. Rather than terraforming the whole space and making it flat it’s sometimes better to embrace the uniqueness of the terrain. Let’s check out some sloping garden ideas for more context. 

Blend the steps into the landscape

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Steps are a very practical way of linking two spaces that are on different levels and it would make sense to integrate them into a sloping garden design. However, if you think the look of stone steps is too harsh and you’d prefer a softer and more nature-oriented approach, how about some steps that you can cover in grass or lawn carpet?

Create an intermediate level

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A sloping garden can also be designed in a way that involves an intermediate level that can be reached via a set of stairs, with more stairs leading down from there as well. For instance, this can be an area where you set up an outdoor sitting area with a fireplace or a fire pit and some comfortable chairs or benches. 

Decorate the border with planters

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It could also be the case that the terrain makes it possible to have a short transition between the area at the top of the slope and the one below. In a case like this you can use retaining walls with bordered by stairs and you can decorate these with large outdoor planters. 

Use retaining walls

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Retaining walls and sloping gardens often go hand in hand. They can however make the garden look quite artificial if they look as if they don’t belong in the equation. A simple solution to avoid such issues is to have built-in planters that help make the transition smoother and that also fit seamlessly into the landscape. 

Make a terraced garden

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Terraced gardens can look amazing both when viewed from up top and when admired from down below. You can go with strategy if you’re dealing with a sloping garden and add a series of retaining walls that divide the space into sections. Each can showcase various types of plants and can be further landscaped in its own unique way. 

Add gabion walls

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There’s multiple different ways in which gabion walls can be integrated into a garden. They can be used as retaining walls when creating a terraced design but they can also be used to make steps like the ones shared here by @tayviewgarden. They an fit in quite nicely especially if you’re also using gravel and other similar materials throughout the rest of the garden.

Divide the garden into tiers

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A sloping garden can actually really great for organization. It allows you to create a tiered landscape design and to have each section dedicated to something specific. For example, you can have large planter beds for veggies, herbs, flowers and all sorts of other things and everything can be neatly organized on different levels. Follow @christian_douglas_design for more inspiring ideas like this one. 

Add cozy sitting areas among the planters

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A steep slope is practically begging for a terraced garden design but that means there’s less space for sitting areas and other outdoor features that you would normally be able to have in a flat backyard. Beautiful sloping gardens like the one designed by studio Shaaroffice show that these challenges can be overcome with creativity. Check out how well the outdoor sitting area and tiered planters are integrated into this sloping garden. 

Create a water feature

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Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a small waterfall in your own garden? A sloping terrain actually make it easy to add such a feature. You can artificially create a waterfall using rocks and you can make it look dreamy by adding grass and flowers from place to place. We absolutely love how this design by Matthew Giampietro turned out. 

Let the trees guide you

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A sloping garden with lots of trees in it can look absolutely beautiful and dreamy and gives you a perfect opportunity to add a pathway that twists and turns following the slope and winding down between the trees. It’s the perfect setting for an organic landscape design. Use this beautiful design by studio West Winds Nursery as inspiration. 

Embrace the slope

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Rather than dividing the sloping garden into several tiers or creating a terraced design, you might like it better if you embraced the slope instead. You can cover it with lots of different plants and flowers and have a nice deck with benches built into the retaining walls at the bottom. The slope would create a super beautiful backdrop. This design by studio Aaron Gordon Construction can give you an idea how that could look like. 

Create a sunken garden

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This beautiful tiered garden makes perfect use of a sunken space showing that a difficult topography is not a reason to give up on gardening. The steep slope was turned here into a lovely garden for succulents and cacti and it nicely organized into several distinct sections. 

Make a tiered vegetable garden

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You don’t really need a flat land to plant vegetables. You can still do it even if you have a steeply sloping garden by creating a terraced structure with planter beds or retaining walls. It’s actually a nice way to divide the garden and to dedicate each tier to a different type of plant. This garden by K Morris Landscape Design has a nice rustic feel to it and can be a good source of inspiration. 

Bring Corten steel into the mix

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Not a big fan of stone or gabion walls? Then perhaps you’d like to use corten steel into your sloping garden. This is actually a really great idea for areas with arid climate and dry landscape because the weathered finish fits nicely into their color palette. This can also give your terraced garden a modern look. Check out this beautiful design by Phillips Garden if you’d like some ideas for a hillside drought-tolerant garden. 

Play with proportions

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This may look like a fairly symmetrical sloping garden but there’s actually plenty of variation into its design. The steps for one are not all the same size and they get wider as they descend the slope. The tiered areas to the left and right of them also have different designs and serve different purposes. Sometimes it’s nice to play with different shapes and proportions to make something rather simple look more interesting.