Many believe it is more difficult to design a garden on a sloping terrain.

The differences in level allow us to arrange the plants on different levels, making the whole of the cultivable areas more lively.

Of course I do not mean sites with an excessive difference in height: in that case, in fact, the budget tends to rise rapidly and much of the usable space will be occupied by steps and balustrades.

As for me, not only do I like challenges, but I also believe that a garden with a slight difference in height can be more fascinating than a flat space.


It is easy and inexpensive to draw a line on a piece of paper and mark the point where a wall will have to be built; but moving large amounts of land is another matter!

Moving a retaining wall of even half a meter greatly influences the budget: evaluate the benefits you can draw and do not make hasty decisions.


I think well-designed steps can become an interesting element in a garden and benefit from the general structure, suggesting a certain directionality.

If you can, build steps that are as large and comfortable as possible, so you do not have to queue up before going to them!

The risers must be smooth and not exceed 20 cm; the treads should be at least 30 cm deep.


Of course, the water flows in one direction only and the differences in height influence the flow.

Fill the area behind the retaining walls with gravel and create drain holes so that the water can not accumulate.

Give the right slope to the steps to prevent water from stagnating, making them dangerous.


The walls with a height of more than 60 cm must be built by a professional, especially if they serve to hold the ground.

If you intend to make steps, remember that side walls will also be needed.

In case of considerable difference in height, consider the possibility of creating a terracing. The different areas can be paved or cultivated and will allow you to make the most of the space.


In many countries, the law states that the height differences of more than 60 cm are protected by 1,2 m high balustrades, which could interrupt a view or do not match the architecture of the garden.

To overcome this problem, you can create your terraces with a difference in height that does not exceed 60 cm or build the very wide steps, in order to avoid altogether or minimize the use of balustrades.


A wooden floor can be the ideal solution in a sloping garden, because it allows the water to flow without difficulty and does not require serious foundation work.

A simple steel structure, complete with steps, can instead be used for larger gradients.

You can use something like that to create, for example, a balcony on the first floor, accessible from the garden with a few steps.

Wooden railway sleepers are perhaps the cheapest way to build a small wall or some steps.

Use it to build a framework to be filled with loose and draining material, such as pebbles or gravel, or to grow plants so as to soften the slopes.

Walls and solid steps in stone, brick or masonry give a feeling of stability, but require complicated foundation work.

Many gardens have the advantage of being structured on different levels, with comfortable areas used as lawn or patio where you can move freely.

Usually the gardens with slight slopes correspond to these requirements or adapt easily to the purpose; if instead the natural slope is significant, it will be necessary to modify it to make the garden more livable in everyday life.


The division of the garden into three parts, through two low retaining walls, allows the leveling of the ground. The three spaces are connected by paved paths and comfortable steps.

The plant design means that every single part of the garden forms a separate, autonomous and complete space. The design not only solves the slope problem, but is also an ideal solution for long and narrow gardens.

Each space can be made safe for children by adding low fences, grates and stair access gates.

Garden project on a sloping terrain landscape plan
1 Patio and Table 2 –  3 – Stone floor Outdoor living room 4 Vegetation –   5 Wall – 6 – Gravel  7 – Playground space   8 – Grass 9- Areas of vegetable garden and aromatic herbs 10 – Deposit  11 –   Tree 12 – Hedge

Huts and deposits for your garden project

Unless you are lucky enough to have plenty of free space elsewhere, for example in a garage, you will need a storage room to store gardening tools and equipment. You will discover that, whatever size you choose, it will never be big enough!

The important thing, however, is how to harmonize it with the project: it must be useful and accessible but not cumbersome.

If the garden is large, you can contemplate an area in which to fix not only the tool shed but also other elements that usually prefer to hide, such as the compost bin, the basin for collecting water and the greenhouse.

You can then create a shielding by combining vegetation and partitions. The narrow and long gardens are particularly suitable for this solution.

If the garden is small, you may be forced to place the deposit in a more or less visible place, trying to soften it with the help of plants.

If space is limited, arrange different vines on the walls of the shed, avoiding those with adventitious roots like ivy, which would make maintenance difficult.

For better performance, fix metal cables or trellises to the building and cultivate twining vines, such as clematis or honeysuckle, which tolerate well pruning every two or three years, when the shed needs your care.

With a little extra space, you can install trellises or metal cables on stakes placed a short distance from the shed.

Future maintenance will be easier; and if the grid becomes a characterizing element of the project, what is shielded will take second place.

If there is enough space, create a border of evergreens and deciduous species that completely surrounds the service area.

By connecting it to the rest of the vegetation, it will remain totally hidden.

Alternatively, consider the deposit as a positive element of the project, treating it or painting it with colors matching the style of the garden or decorating it with vases and other ornaments.

A paved area around it will transform it into a place of relaxation.

The ideal plants for this garden project

Trees, shrubs, perennial and annual choices for this garden are all easy to maintain and reasonable, and we also took into account their aesthetic appearance during the course of the year and safety for the family.

The highest ones are placed in such a way as to accentuate the division of the garden.

Garden project on a sloping terrain landscape plan plantation landscape plan


Legend of plants used in this garden project: Ag – Agapanthus ‘Blue Giant’ | As – Astilbe chinense ‘Finale’ At – Astrantia major | Br – Brachyglottis Gruppo Dunedin ‘Sunshine’ | Bu – Buddleja ‘Pink Delight’ | Cj – Camellia japonica ‘Adolphe Audusson’ | Ca – Campanula persicifolia var. alba | Cr – Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ | Ce – Ceanothus ‘Delight’Cistus x hybridus | Cl – Clematis ‘Rouge Cardinal’ | Co – Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’ | Cy – Cytisus ‘Windlesham Ruby’  | Es – Escallonia rubra ‘Crimson Spire’ | Eu – Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ | Ge – Geranium darkei’Kashmir Purple’ | Gr – Geranium wallichianum ‘Buxton’s Variety’ | Hp – Hemerocallis ‘Pink Damask’ | He – Hemerocallis ‘Stafford’ | Hi – Hibiscus syriacus’Oiseau Bleu’ | Ir – Iris ‘Frost and Flame’ (var. alta barbata) | Ii – Iris sibirica ‘Tropic Night’ | Ja – Jasminum officinale ‘Argenteovariegatum’ | Ju – Juniperus horizontalis ‘Emerald Spreader’ | La  – Lavandula angustifolia ‘Folgate’ | Le – Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Aglaia’ | Lo – Lonicera fragrantissimaMalus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’ | Mi – Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ | Mo – Monarda ‘Snow Queen’ | Ne – Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ | Oe – Oenothera macrocarpa | Pa – Panicum virgatum ‘Rubrum’ | Pe – Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Blue Spire’ | Ph – Phlox paniculata ‘Sandringham’ | Po – Potentilla fruticosa ‘Tilford Cream’ | Rh –  Rhododendron ‘Avalanche’ | Rp – Rhododendron ‘Purple Splendour’ Ribes sanguineum ‘Tydeman’s White’ | Ro – Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ Schizostylis ‘Sunrise’ | Sk – Skimmia japonica (1 male, 2 females) | Sj – Spiraea japonica ‘Anthony Waterer’| Sp – Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’ | Ve – Veronica gentianoides ‘Variegata’ | Vi – Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ | Vr- Viburnum rhytidophyllum | Vt – Vitis vinifera ‘Ciotat’ | We – Weigela florida ‘Foliis Purpureis’


Also read: TYPES OF GARDENS: Modernist Gardens.

Garden Projects: A garden project for the family