Home owners are often presented with the challenge of landscaping a yard with one or more slopes. It can be
difficult for some to incorporate a sloped section of yard into their landscape as these areas can become the cause of
many concerns if not dealt with correctly.
The slope, if unprotected, can become the main cause of erosion in your yard. If left unattended it will get worse,
degrading the slope, creating rills, and leaving deposits of soil at the base, all of which can potentially create a drainage
problem in your yard.
There are several ways to avoid erosion problems and create a stable beautiful slope; they’re not mutually exclusive.
Before approaching this type of landscape project it is necessary to determine the drainage patterns that exist. Look
around your home to determine what type of drainage is in place. Some yards have drain grates in place that direct water
underground to another location. Other yards may have drainage  swales that direct water over the land surface to a low
point where it will then drain towards the road.
You will not want to disturb the drainage patterns created in your yard. If the drainage is a problem or needs to be
changed to incorporate a planting plan you should consider the advice of a professional as you may disrupt the drainage
causing further problems in the yard.
Once you have determined how the water is draining off your slope, you can begin creating a design. An easy and
attractive way to decorate the shape and hide the swales is to create flowing river beds within the drainage. These
drainage areas are usually straight cutouts in the landscape that are a few inches lower then the surrounding grade.
These areas can be filled in with rock that compliments the surroundings. For a more dramatic look the drainage can be
gently widened, on either side of the low point, creating a more natural s shaped creek bed.
Now that the drainage has been addressed the slope garden can begin to take form. A gently sloping hillside can be
planted with a variety of plants and accented with native rocks and boulders which can spill in to the flat of your yard.
Choosing woody, low growing shrubs that have fibrous root systems will help to stabilize the slopes soil. As the plants
mature the roots will hold the soil in place eliminating the concern for future erosion problems.
Another consideration when landscaping a slope is the possible use of walls and terracing. There are a few options that
can be contemplated when choosing the type of retaining wall you will build to contain and enhance your slope.