Terracing a Hillside
In this photo, the photographer is standing on a paver area right next to the house. The photo is looking up at the garage which is higher up in elevation next to the road. So, we wanted a garden in the area in between the garage and the house, but the hill was steep. What is a landscaper to do? ...Terrace the hill, that’s what!! By building a terraced garden design, all of the gardening woes just disappeared for this homeowner.
Terracing simply means taking a sloped area and making a series of walls and level areas. The degree of slope in the area will need to be determined. The rise and run will determine how many stairs you may need, and how high the walls will need to be. The existing grade will also help suggest a possible layout for locations of these features. This homeowner chose to have natural stone for the materials choice. Hillside terraces are a great way to grow a beautiful garden without the worries of having all of your plants and mulch simply wash away.
The retaining walls themselves are a gorgeous landscaping feature, and the plants enhance and soften the hardscaping.Together, the plants and the walls make for a beautiful entrance to this home. A hillside that is planted without terracing is subject to erosion and washouts. Not only that, but the garden area can now be accessed by foot to maintain the plants. Just imagine if the plants were on a steep hill! The gardener would have to be like a Billy Goat to climb the hill to prune a shrub or cut a flower.
Sometimes, a slope can just be planted without terracing, but if that’s the case, it may be best to plant the slope with particular plants that grow vigorously and take over a bank to hold it.This usually means planting a slope with all one kind of plant because with bank cover plants, they will be aggressive and take over other surrounding plants. You’ve seen slopes planted entirely in a ground hugging juniper or something similar to that. Usually, this isn’t a very decorative option and is just more utilitarian. Even then, the slope is subject to erosion until the plants take over.
In the instance of this photo, the slope needed to be attractive due to it being at the main entry.
Terracing the hillside was the best option.