Sloping Garden Design Ideas

Great sloping garden design ideas to use in your own garden.

What to do?

Do you live with a slope?

...make steps?


...flatten it out into levels?

We help you to decide...

If you have slopes in your garden, you might well be feeling a bit stuck for ideas...

  • ...nowhere flat for a patio?
  • ...where and what can I plant?
  • to design a pretty and practical garden?
  • to make sure it's safe!

Slopes can be a big worry when planning a garden - and will certainly take a little more thought and effort than for a normal 'flat' garden...

...but the results can be very unusual - and you will certainly be able to create a much more interesting garden

attractive terraces can be used to landscape slopes - sloping garden design ideas from Dartington Hall

First: start by assessing your current sloping garden design, just to see what you've got...

...then you're in the best place for deciding how to design and develop your garden.

If slopes are very steep or complicated, you might prefer to get a landscape architect in, who can advise you on this aspect of your garden design, and make sure the plans and the works are structurally safe and sound.

Planning a Garden with Sloping Garden Design Ideas

Depending on the situation in your own garden, some of these ideas could be a good solution...

Slight Slopes

You can try to level-out slight slopes by cutting away some of the soil at the higher point...

...and using it to fill-in the lower part...

sloping garden design ideas - basic infill for slight slopes even-ing out

Changes in Levels

You might prefer your garden with a change of level instead...

  • This can be as little as a single step up...

  • sloping garden design ideas  - creating levels from slopes

  • ...or a more dramatic sloping garden design, with a retaining wall and steps...

    sloping garden design ideas - landscaping, build retaining wall and steps

    For more complex garden design like this, and the garden design ideas that follow, it is always best to consult a qualified landscape architect, to make sure your sloping garden design ideas are structurally sound - especially any where much soil movement, or retaining walls, are involved...

  • You might even want to create a whole series of terraces...

    Terraces help to create flat areas for planting, also patios or ponds...

  • sloping garden design ideas - create a series of terraces

  • You might want to create a more sculpted look, with paths and banks...

  • sloping garden design - informal sculpted style with paths and banks

    sloping garden design - series of banks and terraces landscape design

  • Even these sloping garden solutions might not be enough!

    Most people enjoy having a sizable patio - this might mean cutting away quite a lot of your slope to get this!

For Gardens Sloping Up Away from the House

(Or sloping down towards the house!)

Try a patio on a higher part of the garden, away from the house:

  • Less soil erosion
  • A sunnier site!

sloping garden designs for gardens that slope up away from the house or down towards the house

The rest of the garden could be a series of attractive terraces - probably with steps.

Take professional advice on structure and as to drainage - as you don't want water running down the slope and collecting near the house!

For Gardens Sloping Down Away from the House

(Or sloping up towards the house!)

Think about building out from the back of the house, perhaps with some high-level decking (take professional advice!)

The rest of the garden could be terraced with steps, and attractive planting.

You might get the advantage of great views if you have a garden like this!

sloping garden designs for gardens that slope down away from the house, or up towards the house

Planning a Sloping Garden

Sloping garden designs will need to be very carefully thought about at the planning a garden stage...

How to design a garden with slopes will depend on:

  • The severity of the slope
  • The size of the garden
  • Features you'd like to include

You might need to think about:

  • Siting of the patio:
    • ...for convenience
    • ...for sun and shade
  • Size of the patio
  • Other features that need to be level:
    • Sheds
    • Summerhouses
    • Ponds
    • Greenhouses
  • Width of terraces for plantings
  • Width of terraces for paths - don't be too skimpy on either of these!
  • Grass, turf or lawn - and accessibility for mowing
  • Accessibility for garden maintenance
  • Steepness of paths and steps, and safety aspects
  • Drainage
  • Structural safety for landscape design:
    • Steep slopes
    • Moving earth
    • Creating terraces
    • Retaining walls
    • High level decking over slopes
  • It is advisable to consult a qualified landscape architect, who can advise you further, supervise the works, and make sure your planned sloping garden design ideas are all safe!

The Slopey Option

For small budgets or difficult sites, you might well not want to attempt anything too structural!

You can still create a really stunning garden with working with what you've got.

Slopes, hills, lumps and bumps in the garden make for a very interesting and unusual landscape...

...and you might well want to work with this...

You can level out small (or larger) areas for patio and seating, and carve small planting pockets out of slopes, to put your plants, shrubs and trees...

Ground cover plants are a perfect solution for covering sloping areas...

Choose attractive foliage or flowers, and mix and match as you like to create attractive mounds of color and texture...

Using ground cover plants on any slope also helps retain the soil on the slope (where it should be! The roots help hold the soil together).

It's also a very sensible solution where the steepness of the slope makes mowing grass difficult or dangerous!

You can also enhance your hills and slopes and make a mountain out of your molehill.... by that I mean add some rocks, to create planting pockets and ledges, and create an attractive rockery garden...

Look out for alpine plants to fill your rockery garden - they are very well suited to this kind of rocky terrain!

sloping garden design ideas - rockery

You can mix and match several of the ideas on this page, to create your own perfect sloping garden design, which suits your garden...

Planning a garden with slopes will surely be a challenge, but changes of level certainly give any garden added interest, and add an extra aspect to your sloping garden design... I'm sure the results will be worth the extra preparation and effort!

Certainly this will be the case when you transform an ugly and unusable slope into a practical and pretty garden, with space for seating, entertaining and planting!

Do make sure it's safe though - and take professional advice where structural work is needed.

Good luck with your sloping garden design ideas.

You might also find the page on hot and dry gardens useful for sunny slopes...

...or the pages on shady gardens and damp gardens, may be useful for shady hollows!

Look at how to assess and measure your current sloping garden design, here...

Don't forget to make any notes that may be useful for planning your own garden on your garden solutions checklist

More about Site Considerations as you Design a Garden, including more about how to use your checklist...

Return to the main page for Starting a Garden with step-by-step guides to designing a garden

Return from this Slopes and Garden Design Ideas page to the Home Page

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