The Challenges of Landscaping on a Hill

The charming features of a house on a hill are unmatched.

What makes the property even more attractive is adding new construction and landscaping designs.

From flowing hardscapes to versatile shade structures, waterfalls, firepits, stunning gardens, and everything in between, there’s a lot you can do to tame a slope and take advantage of the view. 

Landscaping On A Hill

How to Landscape on a Hill

Before you invest in your hilltop’s landscape, there’s a few components the experts from Ground Zero Landscape told us to consider:

Erosion & Run-Off

Watering on a slope can be difficult because there are many things to consider. The first challenge of landscaping on a hill is water run-off and erosion. Water run-off creates erosion, so the less water run-off, the smaller the chance of landscape erosion.

You’ll have to set up your irrigation in the right location, typically above the watering target, to decrease your erosion and water run-off.

If you’re looking for an erosion-control method, netting ground covers help contain the extra water from your land. While it isn’t the most attractive feature, it’s a biodegradable, all-natural product that is effective, and doesn’t harm the environment.

Adding a retaining wall could also help soil erosion, but you would risk overwatering the plants at the bottom of your sloped yard.

Adequate Watering Cycles

Once you set up your irrigation system above the planting area, you should start with shorter, more frequent watering times.

This prevents your landscaping from potential erosion issues due to overwatering. 

Timer Control & Irrigation Placement

Ensuring that you have the right type of irrigation timer and installation is a vital component to successfully landscaping on a hill.

There are different types of irrigation systems for slopes. 

From pop-up spray heads to micro-drip technology, underlying drip systems, plus many more. 

The irrigation system should depend on the type of vegetation or plant material that you are planning to plant and/or water. 

Plant Material & Stabilization

Selecting the proper plant(s) for your property is important because only a few plants can survive a hilltop. 

When you water your plants on a hill, the water trickles down the hill quicker, leaving the soil drier at the top.

Drought-tolerant trees and plants are best for hillside landscaping. Perennials and/or native plants work well too, as they have adapted to the local conditions of the area.

Trees & Root Systems

Properly setting up your irrigation not only lessens the chance of erosion/water run-off, but it also ensures a good, strong root system. 

A vigorous root system creates stability for the native soil on your landscape. 

Trees have many roots, so adding one, two, or even a few, to your landscape would help hold your landscape’s soil in place.

Hilltop Landscaping

There are many ways to control the challenges of landscaping on a hill. 

#1. Maintaining your erosion and water run-off is key to a vigorous landscape.

#2. After considering the erosion and water run-off, choose the right irrigation system for your property based on your plant life. 

#3. Set up short and frequent watering times on your irrigation system to avoid overwatering and reduce the chances of erosion.

#4. Keep in mind that drought-tolerant plants work better for hills, since they lose water at the top of the hill quicker than plants on flat ground do.

#5. Consider planting some trees to create a flat, strong root system and ultimately help your landscape’s soil hold in place.

Adding stone walls, a rock garden, stepping stones, or other landscaping ideas can also add to the focal point of the property.

No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.

Frank Lloyd Wright

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