Landscaping a Sloped Front Yard

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Slopes present a challenge in landscaping design. Traditional landscape designs do not lend themselves to slopes. Mowing grass on a steep slop is difficult and dangerous. Heavy rains will wash mulch down the hillside. A homeowner needs to look for other solutions when landscaping a slope. The landscape elements must require little maintenance and hold up well to rain runoff. Several varieties of shrubs and ground covers will work well on a slope.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper and pencil
  • Shrubs with strong root systems
  • Ground covers
  • Ornamental grass
  • Large, heavy rocks
  • Window box planter full of flowers
  • Draw a freehand diagram of the area you want to landscape. Draw circles where you want to plant the bushes and grasses. Label where you wish to plant each shrub or grass. Find a place on the hillside for a rock wall. This wall will hold potted flowers, so make sure it is easily accessible for watering.

  • Plant a ground cover over large areas of the slope. Ground covers need little to no maintenance, according to "Grounds Maintenance" magazine. You can plant these in hard-to-reach areas. They also come in an array of colors, so choose one that coordinates well with the colors of your home. For shady areas, English ivy is a good choice. Trailing latana is a hardy ground cover that prefers sun.

  • Plant the shrubs following the placement on the diagram. The shrubs will need a small amount of maintenance every year. Plant the shrubs where you are able to gain access to them. Azalea and rhododendron shrubs are hardy, low maintenance and add color to your landscaping.

  • Plant ornamental grasses according to the diagram. The grasses can be left to grow wild and will not need any extra pruning. Plant the ornamental grass where it will not block smaller bushes. Planting ornamental grasses in groups can make a striking statement. Miscanthus grass will bloom with colorful flowers and switchgrass will add color to your landscape in fall.

  • Build a rock wall using large, heavy rocks. Stack the rocks on top of each other two or three high. The weight of the rocks will help to hold down erosion and hide a planter.

  • Hide the planter behind the rock wall. This will add a splash of color to a hillside. Be sure that the planter is sitting up high enough for the flowers to be seen. Get creative and hide different colored flowers behind multiple rock walls on the hill.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plant three or four groupings of ornamental grasses for a bold statement.
  • Find bushes with bright-colored foliage for color.
  • Do not walk on a steep slope with sharp gardening shears.

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References

  • Photo Credit forsythia image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com
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