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Ideas for Landscaping A Hill

So you’re looking for ideas for landscaping a hill. Not just any hill… the one that lives in your backyard. You will see this hill every day, and you want something attractive, durable, low-maintenance and safe.

The main concern when dealing with hillsides is erosion. Since rain hits a hill directly, soil can be washed down easily if it is not anchored securely by roots. To best plan your hillside landscaping, there are a few things that need to be noted and addressed.

How is the drainage on your hill? Does water run on it directly? Have you noticed erosion here before? Is the slope stable? How deep is the soil? Is it based on rock or clay? How well does water drain when you dig a hole? How steep is your hillside? Can you walk on it or do you have to climb?

landscaped hill Will it support a stairway or does it need to be a ladder? Can you irrigate it? What kind of sun does it get? Do you plan on just looking at the hill or will you be accessing the hillside?

Now that you have some questions about your hillside, it is time to do your homework. When you have answers, you can start planning your landscaping. First, gather your ideas for landscaping a hill. Do your ideas need to be practical (prevent erosion) or are they strictly ornamental?

If your main concern is erosion, it is quite possible to use plants to hold your hillside at bay. If your main concern is to make your hillside attractive, well, we can do that too. First, clear out any brush and weeds that you don’t want up there. Weeds attract more weeds, and they do not make good erosion control.

If your ideas for landscaping a hill include building structures of some kind on your hill, now is the time to construct them. Depending on your slope, you can plan a path, a stairway, or maybe small stone retaining walls to give you more planting space.

Not every structure is right for your type of hill, so do your homework and plan accordingly. If you have any problems, most phone books list local landscape architects or landscapers who may be willing to answer a few questions for you.

If you want to use logs or large rocks as part of your design, make sure they are secure. Some hills will have built-in boulders… use them as part of your design! They can provide visual interest or help accent a great planting.

Hillside Plants

When choosing plants for your hillside, landscaping shrubs and groundcovers are good choices. They provide a variety of root depths to hold the soil better and prevent erosion. A varied planting also holds the soil better than a uniform planting of one type of plant. Shrubs and groundcovers are normally perennial, requiring very little replanting.

If you need to add or amend the existing soil, choose soils that will hold some water. Find plants that suit areas with shallow soil and plants that will suit deeper soil, depending on your hillside. Some shallow soil plants include pestemon and sage varieties.

Deeper rooted plants give you a wide variety to choose from, including almost all the shrubs you may see at your local nursery, roses, ornamental grasses, and more.

Ideas for landscaping a hill should include color, texture and seasonal interest. Choose plants that create a pleasing colorscape year round… plan your color scheme so that it appeals to you no matter what the season. Winter seems to be the most difficult season to plan for.

Winter landscape interest can be created using shrubs with interesting shapes and colors to their woody stems. In the winter, the paths, walls and boulders also become more noticeable, so placing them appropriately can make a big difference in the visual appeal.

If you can walk up the hillside, think about adding some edible plants as well. Not only can some edible plants be interesting visually, they will utilize the land in multiple ways. In Europe, grapes are commonly grown on steep hillsides. You may want to think about adding some of your own if you live in the proper gardening zone.

California grape, for instance, can either be staked for vertical interest, or allowed to creep across the ground as a ground cover, providing sweet little grapes for snacking while providing visual interest and color.

As you can see, landscaping your hill is possible, no matter what type of hill you have. Play around with ideas and come up with something you will enjoy for years to come.

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