Asked on May 1, 2017

How do you landscape a steeply slanted and tilted backyard?

Jan21659710Janet PizaroSharon
+18

Answered

The 50' X 60' yard tilts toward the house with a 7' drop in elevation, back to front. It also tilts from the back right corner to the front left corner with a 7' drop in elevation. Stone retaining walls run along both of the 60' sides. Bedrock is just 6" - 10" below the clay soil surface.
11 answers
  • Beth Shorts
    on May 2, 2017

    We had the same problem in a house I lived in. We solved it with rock gardens, that cascaded from one garden, to another, down the slope. Plant a few different kinds of ground cover plants that don't grow tall and don't need to be mowed, in between the rock gardens.
    • Jan21659710
      on May 4, 2017

      I'd need plants for along the "stream bed" that don't require too much attention and can withstand clay soil, and full sun. All I can think of is ajuga and violets, but I would like a few plants that are 8"- 12" tall, too. Oh, there's one more problem.... DEER. Deer wander through our yard in the pre-dawn and post-sunset hours, so all plants and shrubs have to be pretty much deer proof. (One doe even gave birth at the back corner of our property where we have a pile of lawn and hedge debris piled up.)
  • Janet Pizaro
    on May 2, 2017

    I think it would be best if you posted a photo ,your location and lighting
    • Jan21659710
      on May 4, 2017

      The back of the property is high and to the south. The yard slopes down to the north toward our house, so any flowers planted on the hill face south and we only get to see the backs of the flowers.
  • Carol
    on May 3, 2017

    I would do something so you don't have to mow. Either plant Ivy or some type of creeping plant.
  • Shirley Heikkinen
    on May 3, 2017

    My son's back yard has a very steep hill at the back which they planted heavily to prevent erosion. Beth Shorts suggestion makes a lot of sense being as there are only a few inches of soil on top of the bedrock.
    • Jan21659710
      on May 5, 2017

      I want to reduce the amount of lawn that needs to be maintained and create a natural setting for birds and animals . At some point in the future we will downsize and the back yard should be attractive and low maintenance when we put our place up for sale. We've thought of extending the deck, but at two lower levels, to make it more multi- functional and at the same time reducing the lawn area. If we put in a faux dry stream bed, with low care plants among the rock edges, that would reduce the lawn area and create interesting texture. Trees can grow in our shallow soil if they are small enough (2'-3'tall) when planted, and I thought that dogwood, redbud, and hemlock might work and be inexpensive to acquire. A couple of azaleas and some evergreen shrubs might be good, but they would have to be somewhat deer proof. It's a big project, but done in stages, over the next five years, I think we can get it done.
  • Sharon
    on May 3, 2017

    Check your town for other similar slopes and see what ground cover they are growing.
  • Janet Pizaro
    on May 4, 2017

    How about different perennial grasses?
    • Jan21659710
      on May 4, 2017

      What kind are you thinking of? I've thought of decorative, tall grasses, but they can become invasive when the wind blows their seeds to a neighbor's yard.
  • Janet Pizaro
    on May 4, 2017

    Easy fix for that plant them in large buried garbage cans with drainage holes.
  • Janet Pizaro
    on May 4, 2017

    You can sing large garbage cans with drainage and plant them that way.Just a thought.It is not the seedlings per say, they have invasive root systems. I should have thought of all of this before I planted mine.
    • Jan21659710
      on May 4, 2017

      The clay soil is not very deep and then it is bedrock. Everything we plant must have a shallow root system, or be able to find it own water source by sending its roots between the layers of the rocks. Grasses grow well in this condition, but I couldn't contain them very well with a garbage can, I'd have to jack-hammer a hole to sink a garbage can in the ground. Do you know of any grasses that wouldn't be invasive? I think that IS the nature of grasses. I don't want my yard to become our neighbor's headache.
  • Sharon
    on May 4, 2017

    Thats why I love flowering ground cover. Blue lobelia is one of my favorites. Primroses are also practically indestructible, and I've even seen mine flower in the snow, A field of blue bells is pretty spectacular. Flowering scrubs are also some of my favorites.
  • Janet Pizaro
    on May 4, 2017

    You can try Karls foster,Dwarf Zebra.Fescue,Sweet flag,muhly grass,Liriope which technically is not a grass but pretty,mondo grass,these are small but very attractive.So another thought is there a way to have container plantings without sinking them in the ground?
  • Jan21659710
    on May 4, 2017

    I have some Liriope that I can move to the back yard. You're right it would look good. I might be able to mound up rocks and gravel to hide a container to prevent grasses from spreading to other areas. I told Beth Shorts that I'm toying with the idea of a dry stream bed as a design feature. I'd be planting interesting plants along the "stream". I'm looking into native, KY plants that I can use, too. We have a lawn of fine bladed fescue, but it's a bit plain when there isn't anything else. I think that a faux dry stream bed might add some pazazz.
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