How To Build A Hillside Garden

How to Build a Hillside Garden – 8 Steps to Turn Hillside Into a Beautiful Garden

Not everyone is blessed with a garden that is even. If you are not very lucky, particularly if you are residing in a rural area, you may end up with a plot of land with a section that is sloping. This could be problematic since it will make it harder for you to maintain.

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Sure, you can add in loads of soil to even it out, but if you do not want the hassle and the cost that evening it out would involve, and if you would rather get creative, then you can simply turn it into a beautiful hillside garden. 

Steps to Build a Hillside Garden 

1. Plan

The thing about landscaping hillside gardens is that it poses some kind of challenge because it is not as easy to deal with as a flat patch of land. First, consider the drainage. This is an important part since you don’t want water filling up one area or losing all the water from a flood. You may consider doing this step with the help of a professional landscaper.

Another thing you should plan is whether or not you want to build a retaining wall and have an infilling. If you wish to do so, you must put a retaining wall at the bottom of the slope, and fill it up with soil to raise the ground. You should also decide if you want to make terraces on your slope, irrigation, and maintenance. Finally, plan the overall look that you want to end up with. 

2. Consider The Drainage

You can install drainage channels to ensure you have proper drainage for the garden you are going to build. Another way to do this is to create a pond at the bottom of the hill or slope. This way, you have space wherein the water can accumulate. To keep the soil moist enough for your plants but not filled with too much water to the point that there is flooding, add in manure and mulch. 

3. Build a Retaining Wall

Have a retaining wall to mark the bottom of your hill and at the same time to protect the rest of your land in the occurrence of erosion. Dig up a trench wherein you are going to lay down the first layers of your retaining wall. Ideally, this shall be about half a foot deep from ground level.

However, it could also depend on how high you want your wall to be, based on the steepness or height of your slope.  It would also be better if you lay the first layer of blocks over a porous base since this will help with drainage and leveling. Build up your wall by putting blocks on top of one another. To ensure that the wall you are going to build is tough, you may make the blocks stick together using mortar or cement. 

4. Build Terraces

You might not want to have terraces on your hillside garden, but guess what, it will greatly reduce the chances of erosion, and in addition to that, it will make it easier for you to maintain your entire garden.

Note that if the slope is very steep, you might need to seek the help of a professional. Also, you might need to use heavy equipment and if that’s the case, then be sure you know where you can get or borrow such. Separate each level using bricks, rocks, wood frames, or concrete, whichever you prefer. 

5. Install Irrigation

You may skip this step if you have decided to go and build terraces since, with terraces, it will be easier to water your plants manually, but otherwise, install an automatic irrigation system for your hillside garden. The most commonly used ones in home gardens are overhead sprinklers and drip systems. Do your research or ask the right people to find out which type of irrigation system is most suitable for you. 

6. Plant!

Even though you surely must want your hillside garden to look pretty by using different, colorful plants, you must also take note that you’re dealing with a slope, which means that you must also plant efficiently. When choosing what to plant, choose plants with large root systems such as trees since they are going to be of huge help in holding the soil.

Hillside Gardens
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You might also consider having a larger preference for shrubs instead of flowers since they have more extensive root systems as well. Also, since plants at the topmost portion of the slope will get the least amount of water while those at the bottom will receive the most, plant drought-tolerant plants at the top of the slope. Lastly, patch up the bare earth with smaller plants or grass or even those flowers you want to add in. 

7. Maintain It

Now that you’re done with your hillside garden, it’s time to maintain it. Water your plants regularly, eliminate weeds, and protect your plants from pests. Also, give your plants some fertilizer now and then.

Do some research to find out when is the optimal time to fertilize your plants and which fertilizer you must use. You might also want to take this time to check if your drainage system works just fine. If not, then do some alterations until 

8. Build a Deck

If you want to have a place to hang out despite having a sloped garden, build a deck. You can build a floating one, or you can flatten out the bottom of the slope by filling the gap between the slope and the retaining wall with soil and build the deck on the resulting flat patch of land.

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Just pick a design and get some people to do it for you if you cannot build it by yourself, and voila! You now have a place to chill out or have a barbeque with your friends and family after a busy week. 


Having a hill or a slope in your place might put you off at first, but you can turn things around and turn into something that you will love looking at and taking care of every single day. Sure, it will take a little more time, and you will probably have to spend a bit more cash than expected, but in the end, without a doubt, you will realize that it is all worth it.

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