Join our newsletter Name: Your Email Address Contact me with news and offers from other Future brands Thank you for signing up to Realhomes. Evergreen clemantis armandii, palms and ornamental trees provide useful screening, while bamboo lanterns from B&Q and decorative cobbles from Wickes create added interest. Terracing (see below), separated by retaining walls, gives you the perfect opportunity to introduce defined zones within a garden: allocate an area for kids on one; plan a kitchen garden on another; make room for outdoor dining or living spaces on others. Sloping gardens are perfect for water features, whether garden-length streams or waterfalls or spouts projecting from retaining walls into a pond or sump below.
Designing your sloping garden so that the end of it is visible from your patio will mean that, even if you don't wander that far in winter, you can still appreciate the view. Consider your retaining walls' materials: brick; natural stone; sleepers; telegraph poles; log palisade; and concrete block to be rendered and painted are all options, but ideally should be sympathetic to the rest of your home's architecture.
Manipulating a gentle slope to produce level terraces isn’t difficult – you can usually cut and fill by hand using a spade. Then, use the loose soil that you’ve just cut out to make the next identical sized level terrace, and so on.
On steep or unstable slopes you’ll probably need earth-moving equipment and extensive foundations plus whatever ‘face’ material you want to see, whether it’s bricks, rendered blocks, sleepers or gabion mesh cages. Calculate your levels carefully as, if they are built up too much, you might find that you'll have a clear view down into neighbouring gardens – which they may not welcome. Call in a professional garden designer, or a landscape construction company, to be on the safe side. Bear in mind that terracing a sloping garden in its entirety will be expensive – taking away or adding soil in large quantities, and building retaining walls is costly.
Retaining walls are an invasive solution and involve a lot of specialist work, which is expensive. With decking, extensive foundations aren’t needed as the whole structure is built above the slope rather than cutting into it. We love these twinkly led deck lights, making your garden sparkle all year round #kingfisherdecking #millboard #lighting #twinkle Kingfisher Decking (opens in new tab) A photo posted by @kingfisherdecking on Oct 13, 2017 at 4:56am PDT
For long slopes, 2m deep treads (essentially a series of platforms) aren’t uncommon. Ramps are a simple-to-navigate option in a sloped garden, but they need a lot more room to accommodate them, plus they can dominate small spaces. High retaining walls and raised decks should be carefully designed with safety in mind – with rails or tall planting preventing anyone, particularly young children, toppling off them; steps and ramps can be slippery in wet or frosty weather, too, so consider handrails, particularly if an elderly person uses the garden regularly.
Retaining walls and raised decks over a certain height must have railings anyway to comply with building regulations. Never leave bare soil unplanted – plant up the slope immediately, even with something temporary like annual bedding. Bare soil erodes fast during heavy rain and washes quickly down to the bottom. Break up the path with bricks or stones, which will act as barriers for your gravel and to stop it sliding. Typically, a sloping garden will benefit from some simple spot lighting that will prevent stumbling in the dark, especially if there are steps. However, there are also more imaginative options, including pathway lights that can be scattered around the different levels to emphasise the multi-layered structure of the garden.
Choose high-impact plants trees such as acacia or fig to distract the eye from the slope.