Gardening on Steep Slopes

Steep slopes are those areas that rise over 20 percent in angle or two feet in elevation change for every 10 feet of walking area. This therefore presents great challenges to property owners. However, if the slope is under 20 percent and depending on the soil type, these slopes can be considered stable and easy to maintain.

Steep slopes can be problematic in some ways: First, if the area is a turf grass, it is difficult to mow with a lawnmower and will be subject to soil erosion with the formation of large gullies. If ignored, these gullies can grow large and weaken the foundations of homes in the area.

Solving the problem:

You can grow vegetation in the area no matter how steep the terrain. Trees and shrubs can form a grid of roots and stems and prevent water from streaming down the hillside, while lawn grass can bind the soil with roots. Tall grasses and wildflowers can prevent the runoff of water very well.

Sunny slopes:

If you have an open sunny meadow, it will control soil erosion well. But if you want to convert your lawn to a meadow, add herbicide to your grass and till it, so that you have a seed bed. Sow readily available wildflower mixes here and spread fresh hay on the slope as they can hold together and reduce the force of water and raindrops. In this way, the soil will be loosened until the wildflowers grow. Use open plastic nets across the slopes to prevent further erosion. You’ll soon see that these flowers prevent soil particles from being eroded. You could also grow sun-happy plants such as junipers, ivies, rugosa rose, and sedums.

Shady slopes:

If you grow vines, ferns, and perennials, they can bind the upper soil layers. Try growing partridgeberry vine, wood fern and Boston ivy. If you maintain thick foliage, it can prevent both the force of raindrops and soil erosion.

Changing the slope:

If you terrace the slope, not only will it be productive for you, but it will break the impact of erosion by breaking a long hillside into smaller and even steps. For this, you can use treated wood, brick, rocks, concrete block and other masonry materials for walls. The durability of the wall will depend on the material you use, the area under wall construction and this will reflect on your costs.

Make a terrace by using the method of cut and fill. Remove soil to flatten the area, and fill this soil into a low area. See that the height of your wall is not more than a foot or two, as the retaining wall usually must face a lot of pressure of water and soil.

Seek the expertise of a landscape architect on constructing this wall. Check with laws concerning constructing retaining walls, terraces, or other constructed features. More than expertise and timely help, you also need thoughtful planning to get over the challenges of a steep slope.