Hardly any backyard is completely flat, but some slope far more than others. Landscaping around slopes is a challenge, but it also provides the opportunity to enhance or add to the unique design of your yard. Here are some tips for working with natural hills.
Build a wall
Landscaping walls prevent soil from sliding down a hill and also work to retain moisture and protect plants. A variety of styles and building materials are available to enhance the look of your yard across a wide range of price points. Choices run the gamut from stone stack walls, concrete or brick retaining walls and even simple structures constructed with wooden railroad ties. A landscape designer can help choose the best materials and also assist with the purchase and installation.
Plant hearty ground cover
No matter how hard you try, some grasses and shallow-rooted plants will never thrive on slopes; but if you prefer some type of greenery, try ground covering plants on hilly areas. According to the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, ground covers that work well in the state's climate include a variety of evergreen junipers and the native moss phlox, which flowers in early spring.
Firm up your soil
Loose, sandy soil will slide down slopes and make planting nearly impossible. If your slope is particularly steep, consider adding or removing soil to even out the incline enough to promote healthy plants and trees. Deep-rooted plants will tend to anchor in the soil, and ground covers create a low mat that will prevent further erosion.
Make sure your slope is not a swale
Swales are ditches or low-lying areas cut into slopes or the bottoms of hills to assist with drainage. A swale directs water away from your house and works to prevent erosion. Before planting new trees or plants, observe how water travels through your backyard during heavy rains and avoid planting in a swale.
Add to your outdoor living space
If your sloped yard presents too large of a challenge for flora, consider adding flagstone steps, an elevated deck or a patio. Man-made ponds with waterfalls are another aesthetically pleasing option. Outdoor living spaces can be costly, but they provide years of enjoyment, often with little regular maintenance.
No yard is perfect, but there are ways to work with slopes to enhance the beauty of your natural landscape. If you are looking for the best ways to manage a sloped lot, contact an Atlanta-area landscaper for assistance.