By James Gordon
Not everyone is so fortunate as to have a wide open, flat, and easy-to-manage backyard situation. This isn’t an impossible situation to handle, but it will require a bit more thought when it comes to your landscape design plan. Your yard can still be as beautiful and lush as somebody with a perfectly flat backyard, you will just need to use a little ingenuity and get creative with what you’ve got.
There a many ways to go about this, but the following design fixes for sloping backyards is a great place to start finding inspiration for your project. Everything from gardens to well-placed decks can really do the trick. Below we'll explore the variety of ways you can make a sloping backyard work for you.
Build a Deck Above It
When you’ve got a heavy downward sloping backyard, it will almost always be hard to throw parties or entertain out there without people falling all over themselves. This is where a deck comes in, as it can extend over the slope and give you the perfect flat surface.
Building a deck over a steep downward slope will give you plenty of additional space and amazing views of the entire property – assuming you have the property for spectacular views. Depending on the severity of the slope, you should even be able to get some usage out of the space underneath the pillars, for storage and more.
Set Up a Terrace
A great way to break up your sloping backyard or garden is by setting up a terrace. It will help cut into the slope and create style, giving your backyard a more defined look. There is a ton of different mixing and matching that can be done once you decide to go with a terrace, and it’s one of the best design fixes for sloping backyards.
Build a Border Garden
Plants grow just as well on hills and slopes as they do on flat surfaces, so why not take advantage of this? Build a little border garden in your backyard by constructing flower beds that elevate above the path, creating a lush and green surrounding. This will allow you to cover up ugly looking slopes with beautiful looking growth.
Similar to a deck but not as extreme, an elevated patio can work wonderfully in a sloped backyard area. It’s a great space to entertain and it has the added value of looking out over the yard and garden, instead of being inside it like those without an incline in their backyard. What once was thought to be an inconvenience can turn out to be a benefit, it just takes a little design creativity.
Add Some Railing
As you craft retaining walls or terraces in your sloping backyard, you may have also created some steep drops that might be dangerous for young children. A quick and easy fix is to install some railing throughout the backyard. It doesn't have to be an eye sore either, as iron railing mixed in with stone can bring a luxurious look to your garden.
Set Up Different Zones
With a sloped backyard area, there is an opportunity to set up a unique looking outdoor space. This can be accomplished by setting up different zones throughout the backyard. One area might be for eating and entertaining, another for lounging and gardening, and yet another still for sports and recreation. Depending on the amount of space you have, your options for activities are nearly limitless.
Create a Path
A great visual to add to your backyard area is a walking path, preferably one that snakes up and down the slope. It can make it safer to walk on, rather than slipping and sliding down the hill, and it can be a fun way to link your entertainment area to your garden.
Incorporate a Bench
Find a place to sit and appreciate your garden. With your sloping backyard it might not be that easy to have a lot of traditional seating, but a bench can be installed with relative ease. If your garden is sloped this will be even easier, and it will become your favorite place to relax and unwind.
A water feature is a great addition to any backyard, especially a sloping one – if you can afford it. The natural unevenness of your backyard can really make it better for the water feature, as you can have built-in waterfalls and other running water designs. This can help you get more creative with your ideas, and it can quickly become the focal point in any backyard.
Try planting a mix of blue chip plants with some low-maintenance options, and proceed to let them grow wild. This will quickly make your once unappealing backyard slope look fresh and attractive. Also, you won’t have to over garden, as this is the style you’re shooting for - think of it like those effortlessly messy hairstyles that are actually quite calculated.
Fire pits can be a focal point in any back yard, and if you have a slope in your backyard and don’t think you can put one in, think again. At the bottom of your slope can be a great place to set up a fire pit. And, if you can position it near your garden, even better. It can be a great place to entertain and kick back in the summertime.
If your slope is pretty severe, you may benefit from a retaining wall. However, this doesn’t mean you have to forget about design and style. Retaining walls can actually look quite attractive in your backyard, especially when artfully done with beautiful stones and lush vegetation.
Never worry if you initially think your sloping backyard is utterly useless. Just remember some of the design ideas shown above. Your backyard can still be as stunning and lush as somebody with a perfectly even backyard, you just need to get a little more creative with what you’ve got.
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