How To Landscape A Steep Slope On A Budget – Making It Beautiful

If you’re a homeowner who’s faced with a steep slope on your property, you might wonder how to go about landscaping it.

Landscaping a steep slope can be tricky, but getting it right can mean adding a hillside feature to your garden. When you’re landscaping a slope, you can use terraced or retaining walls, and build steps to give you access to higher levels of your garden.

Hey! Looking for high-resolution photos of attractive landscape designs for a slope? Click here or scroll down to the bottom of this article for more details.

Designing your garden around your slope means making it low-maintenance so that you don’t need to worry about accessing high places. Carefully planning how to landscape a steep slope on a budget can turn a potentially difficult challenge into an attractive feature garden.


Some Practical Considerations

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Any water that comes running downhill (as water does) runs the risk of taking your soil with it. If your budget is minimal, but you need your soil to knit together, you could use an interesting selection of groundcover plants. These plants will often root wherever they touch soil, preventing erosion.

Add interest by incorporating different colored foliage such as deep greens, variegated leaves (1) and reds.

When selecting your plants, take into account the colors of the flowers. Limiting your garden to one or two colors will create areas of bright color which may flower during different times of the year.

If your budget is tight, many ground covers are easy to grow from cuttings and will add a leafy feel to your slope or hillside garden.


Add a vegetable garden.

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A vegetable garden makes a great choice. Attractive vines, ground covers and perennials such as berry bushes, rhubarb and garlic will help to secure your slope.

As with a flower garden, your main consideration with a vegetable garden will be to ensure you retain your top soil. Since your slope is steep, begin by adding coir matting to your vegetable garden. This will help you to prevent soil erosion and keep your mulch in place while your garden is establishing itself.


Terrace your slope.

Terracing your vegetable garden will help you to prevent soil and water run off. You can save money by recycling old materials such as logs, rocks and boulders and incorporate these into your terraced areas.

If you’ve staggered your terraced areas, you can use natural materials along the sides of your terraced areas.


Use retaining walls.

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If you have a slightly larger budget, you could use tiered retaining walls to create a staggered wall. Design your garden around these walls, and consider the look you are going for. A modern-looking garden might suit gabion walls, which give a funky but natural feel, particularly when filled with rocks.

If your garden is natural or earthy, incorporating railway sleepers and even rocks and boulders packed together will create a relaxed and organic look. You can place them next to one another to create a continuous wall, and stack them to add height.

If you’re interested in sustainability and upcycling, you could also stack old tires to build an interesting wall which can be angled. Fill the tires with groundcovers which drizzle over the edges in order to soften them and make them look attractive. Fill your tires with stone or gravel to keep them in place, and fasten them to poles or beams which you cement into the ground. This will keep your wall secure.

Over time, you could also terrace your garden, building it up in layered steps with concrete walls to keep each section contained. This will give a traditional look to your garden.

You could build stone walls, or use brightly painted walls to create the playful elements of a Moroccan garden. Steps could be made out of stone, garden paving stones, slate or even deck, and would give you access to the upper parts of your garden. From here, you would have a beautiful view of the areas surrounding your home.


Use raised vegetable beds.

How To Landscape A Steep Slope On A Budget - Raised Vegetable Beds

If you don’t have the budget to stagger your vegetable garden, use materials such as logs, rocks or sleepers on your slope to build planter boxes for your vegetables. Your tiered beds can be either deep or shallow, depending on your needs.

When creating raised planters, work from the bottom upwards. You might stack your flower beds using wooden boxes, creating pathways between them, or build up organic shaped rock walls with curved paths which wind between them.

Choose your materials based on what is available to you. If you have an abundance of natural rock or stone, this will be a great building option.

Alternatively, you could go to your local recycling center to find materials which will be inexpensive. Wood may need to be replaced after a couple of years, while rock, stone or boulders will be a more permanent choice.

Over time you will be able to create a vegetable garden which creeps up your slope. Your plants will eventually overtake your terraced garden and give your slope a natural and lush feel. You won’t have to worry about organic matter or top soil for the lower slopes as you will always have some soil erosion which sends top soil downhill.

However, you may need to add mulch and top soil to your top layers in order to keep your vegetable garden healthy. Straw will serve as an effective and inexpensive mulch.


Make use of trellis.

How To Landscape A Steep Slope On A Budget - Trellis

A vegetable garden on a steep slope is a great place to add vines. By carving out a stairway on the sides of your slope and then adding trellis, you will be able to grow vines such as tomatoes, beans, peas and squashes. If you have a warm climate, you can grow passion fruit, melon and kiwis on your trellis.

A great option is to add a stairway next to your trellis in order to pick your vegetables easily. To create a natural staircase, you can make use of materials such as slate and gravel, or even cement, boulders or rocks already present on your slope.

Your staircase can be straight and structured, or provide a curved and organic path which wanders out into the rest of your garden.


Build a waterfall.

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If you have a steep but narrow slope, building a waterfall will add a dramatic element to your garden.

Waterfalls with height often have crashing cascades which drown out the sounds of the city. Depending on the style of your garden, there would be many different options to choose from. A rock water feature which you could build using old boulders and a curved concrete base will give a rustic, natural feel to your hillside area.

If you’re interested in a Japanese style garden, you could build ponds on multiple levels with simple spouts and a pebbled base. You could surround your water feature with water reeds or plants, or even build a fish pond.


Add a chicken coop.

A vegetable garden will help you keep you fit. It will also provide you with fresh produce which will keep you healthy.

Add to this sustainable lifestyle by adding a small chicken coop to your hillside vegetable garden. The chickens will provide you with fresh eggs.

Add a deck to your chicken coup as a space to collect eggs. You will also be able to use the deck to enjoy the view. A chicken coop makes a great addition to the a shady part of a vegetable garden.


Stay organic.

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When planting a vegetable garden, stay organic by using companion plants to attract birds and insects. This will help you to reduce the cost of chemicals and pest controls in your vegetable garden. It will also help you to stay organic, keeping your soil healthy.

You can also fill your hillside garden with attractive flowers, adding to the overall beauty of your garden. Mint, clover, cosmos and marigolds make great companion plants which also benefit your garden by attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies.


Go low-maintenance.

If you’re landscaping a steep slope, a low-maintenance design will mean you don’t need to climb steep hills to carry out a lot of work.

The most effective way to do this would be to choose plants which are adapted to the climate of your garden. These plants will thrive, save you money and keep your slope of planters looking lush and alive.

Going indigenous will allow you to create an oasis on your garden slope. No matter where you live, whether you’re focusing on scrub or a woodlands garden, you can create a colorful and interesting garden which will thrive. Planting an indigenous garden will also attract birds, butterflies and insect life to your garden.

Check out the video below for visuals and ideas:


Final thoughts…

There are a great many different DIY techniques that you could use to build a water feature, a retaining wall, or plant up a small indigenous garden. It might feel complicated to establish how shady your garden can be, or what your soil type is if you’re a new gardener. Garden styles may feel like a mystery.

No matter what you choose to do with your garden, remember that it is possible to landscape a steep slope on a budget. With the right set of ideas, time and dedication, you can turn this tricky area of your garden into a beautiful area which reflects your aesthetic.

If budgeting is tight, you may be interested in a special I4L landscaping package. You can explore blueprints and designs which assist you to build your garden one step at a time. There’s a photo guide which you can match up to your own garden, and step by step plans for building water features or working on retaining walls.

You can even learn about decking, patios and pergolas, and the different gardening choices or styles you can use to design your slope or hillside garden.

With this landscaping package, you gain instant access to:

  • thousands of high-quality landscaping designs and instructions
  • images in full colour and high resolution
  • designs for your backyard, front yard and garden, including slope designs and budget-friendly designs
  • step-by-step guides and designing tips
  • basic and pro landscaping designs to accommodate people of all skill levels
  • and much more!

With this resource, you can immediately begin realizing your dream landscape without the enormous expense that comes with a professional landscaper. I strongly recommend checking it out.

For more information on how you can gain access, go here! Alternatively, you can read my full review of the program.

Thanks for reading this content. If you have any questions, feedback or comments, drop them in the comments! Feel free to share the article if you liked it using the buttons below. Learn how to landscape around trees here.

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4 Responses

  1. Mark T. says:

    Hey Scott, thanks for the suggestions. I ran into some trouble when I was trying to landscape a sloped area in my yard, but I ended up figuring out a great way to landscape a sloped area without using retaining walls (which can be pricey). One great idea is evaluating the design that’s already there, identifying its strengths and weaknesses, and making the necessary changes to eliminate the weaknesses and make everything better. When it comes to retaining wall alternatives, one great option is to add structural fill soil over a large portion of the space to flatten it out and let the unimportant parts of the space that nobody will really see slope away. In effect, you’re eliminating most of the slope in the area that counts. The steeper slopes around the perimeter are great for sledding in winter if you live far enough up North.

    Just thought I’d add some of my input here. Again, great ideas. I did end up adding a little waterfall to my space and it’s just terrific.

    • Scott says:

      Good advice Mark. Actually, what you describe is very similar to what I saw in a popular YouTube video a little while back. I’ll embed the video in the article. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Barb says:

    Great ideas. We’re actually doing something very similar to the image in the raised vegetable bed section. Hope it turns out!

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