We all want our yards to become our havens, full of magic, mystery, and gorgeous bits of nature. Some prefer a woodland garden, slightly grown-up and holding secrets only magical creatures would know. 

But others prefer something more traditional. No matter your taste for the outdoors, you can create an amazing hillside landscape that will have others drooling. Just take a look at the tips we have for you today.

What Is Hillside Landscaping?

What Is Hillside Landscaping
Image from Roger Washburn Landscape Architecture

Hillside landscaping is any landscaping that is done on a hillside. This seems fairly simple, but it shouldn’t be confused with hilltop landscaping, which used the top of the hill rather than the sides of the hill.

Hillside landscaping is difficult because the sloped land is hard to work with. Gravel rolls down the hill, there’s no good place to walk, and plants can look silly if not done right. But there are quite a few solutions to make things easier. 

Sloped Backyard Ideas And Tips

Image from The Philbin Group Landscape Architecture

If your yard has a steep slope, there are a few ways you can get around the unevenness and still create a gorgeous landscape. These ideas don’t rely on budget nor on maintenance but instead are general ideas and tips. 

Create A Vision

The first thing you need to do for your hillside landscaping dream is to create a vision. Stand back and look at your canvas. Let the art unfold in your imagination before taking on the task at hand. This is what a true artist does.

If you have any art skills, you can draw the vision to give you a better idea of what you will be looking at soon. But if you don’t, then just getting a good idea in your head is enough to let you know where to start. 

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are one of the best ways to level the ground and make it look natural. You can create one at the edge to line with flowers and plants. Or you can create a series of retaining walls that work as stair steps. 

There are a lot of different ways to create retaining walls. They can be one-foot high or three-foot high. But they are rarely taller than a few feet as this can pose a hazard to people walking by, especially children. 

Gravel With A Border

Gravel is nearly a necessity for hillside landscaping. It can be placed over the entire hill, used to make borders, or simply placed as flower beds. But no matter what, hillside gravel needs to have a border.

Just like when you make a patio out of pea gravel, you need a border to prevent the gravel on a hillside from falling out and making a mess. You can dig down a little or place a border above ground with wood or larger rocks. 

Work With Your Climate

This is an important aspect that a lot of people tend to forget. But putting plants out that are only green a couple of months throughout the year can ruin the effect that otherwise good hillside landscaping can have.

Work with your climate and choose plants and trees that will be in bloom most of the year. This would be evergreens for cold climates, while mild climates are easier to please. Check the list in your area.

Make A Path

You can make a path with gravel or stones that will really bring your entire hillside landscape together. It will give people somewhere to walk that is designated for just that. Start at the bottom and work your way up.

Gravel is generally cheaper than stone, but there are other alternatives as well. A simple dirt path clear of greenery can do the trick and so can a wooden pathway, which is more expensive, but makes a big impact. 

Stairs Over Paths

Stairs are almost always better, and safer than regular footpaths when it comes to hillside landscaping. This is because no one will slip down nor disturb the ground below when using a set of stairs.

They are more expensive than paths, however, and sometimes don’t look as natural. But if you decide to use stone, you can sink it into the ground and make it look as natural as possible given the landscape. 

Hillside Landscaping Ideas On A Budget

Image from SURROUNDS Landscape Architecture + Construction


Working with a budget can make one feel defeated, but it doesn’t have to. Most people won’t notice if you worked with a budget or not if you take notes from guides like these. It’s all about aesthetics, really. 

Just Grass

There’s nothing cheaper nor more natural than just grass. You can buy grass seed which is the cheapest way to do it, or you can buy turf, which will be more expensive but give instant results. Either way will end up the same.

Just remember to check the package to see if you need to till the land before adding the seed or if it is better to leave the ground natural and packed. It will be the difference in grass sprouting in a few days or a month. 

Reclaimed Pieces

Finding reclaimed pieces can be the best move you make for your hillside landscape. You can ask friends, visit flea markets, and check out online thrift stores for pieces that can work outdoors on your hillside. 

They can be outdoor furniture, old logs, or fountains that most people wouldn’t see what you see at first glance. Transform the pieces that you got for such a good price and people will assume you spent a fortune. 

Focal Points

Focal points will ensure that attention is drawn to certain things, letting the background escape the viewer. This can be a good thing for those working with a strict budget. Because you can spend more money on one thing and be more strict on the others. 

Choose something like a statue or a really nice small fast-growing tree. These will keep the attention of visitors and will give them something to talk about. That way, you can fudge a little on the rest of the landscape. 

Low-Maintenance Hillside Landscaping

Image from Ecotones Landscapes, Inc.


If you have the money but you don’t have the time, then there are a few things you can do. These ideas will help you enjoy your hillside landscape without ever lifting a finger to maintain it on your own.

Weed Barriers

Weed barriers will ensure that you don’t have to pull weeds ever again. Place them underneath the plants and gravel to keep your hillside looking smooth and free of weeds for the remainder of its life.

And the life of a low-maintenance landscape is a long one! Weed barriers aren’t very expensive but if you have to redo the hillside landscape to put them in the cost can add up. Especially if you’re not doing it yourself. 

Build A Terrace

If you just want to cover that hillside up, then you can add a terrace and forget about what is beneath. This is not a cheap way to do things but it is effective and very low maintenance. It’s also great for parties.

All that will need to be done is weedeating. This is only for safety issues and because an unmowed terrace area can look a little messy. But it doesn’t take long and is much easier than if the hillside needed to be maintained. 

Dry Creek Bed

A dry creek bed is a great way to keep the area drained without any work. It also looks really cool and has a natural effect that most people want in their landscaping endeavors. You can make it any size you want as well.

An alternate type of dry creek bed draining system is a French drain. This is an old way to drain your yard that looks amazing. However, it isn’t all that easy to install, it is easy to maintain after it’s already done. 

Rock Garden

A rock garden is a lower maintenance garden you can put in your hillside landscape. This is because rocks don’t need maintenance but plants usually need a lot of maintenance, so rocks are a better choice if you don’t have much time.

Find different shapes and types of rocks to create a diverse garden without any green at all. Or, you can use desert plants from desert landscaping ideas to blend in with the rocks and stay low maintenance. 

Hire A Professional

The easiest way to ensure things stay low maintenance is to hire a professional. Not only will they do all the work to create the landscape but they will also make sure that you don’t have to do any work regularly.

However, hiring a professional can be expensive so only do so if you can fit it into your budget. In most cases, you need to plan on spending twice as much as you normally would to hire a contractor. 

Never Lose Hope

If things aren’t going as you planned or you make a mistake along the way, don’t worry about it. At any time during the process that you feel overwhelmed, take a break and reevaluate your landscaping ideas.

Take a step back and plan again. Things will never be perfect, it’s nature after all. And it is nature’s imperfections that make it perfect, not its lack of flaws. Keep this in mind as you create your perfect hillside landscape. 

The post Hillside Landscaping Ideas For Any Budget appeared first on Home Decorating Trends – Homedit.

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