a house with a downward sloping garden

9 Downward Sloping Garden Ideas

Sadly, no garden is entirely flat unless it has been dug out and levelled that way. Unfortunately, that means many of us have a garden with at least a bit of slope. Although a sloping garden, whether a gentle incline or almost a slide, can be pretty daunting, don’t panic! Quiet all those questions worrying your mind, as a slope can be an extraordinary accentuation in a garden, adding interest and character without you even having to try. And, to help you enjoy your potentially awkward outdoor space, we have nine downward sloping garden ideas to help you make the most of your inclining garden.

Make A Defined Route

downward sloping garden ideas with a pathway and an edged border

Creating a defined route through an awkward downward sloping garden can make it seem less inclined and easier to navigate through. Additionally, a defined pathway running through your sloping garden will lead visitors through the different levels of the garden seamlessly, ensuring that any awkward slope will not pose an aesthetic problem. To further camouflage your garden pathway, you can lay it between steps from your terraces or outhouses to create a defined route that spans the length of your outdoor space without drawing attention to the sloping decline.

Once you have laid your garden path, you could take it one step further by adding a border around the edge. Depending on the material you have used to build your garden path, this border could be a metal border edger or gravel setts – whatever works in your garden! A border will help outline your garden’s spaces and provide contrast for a more exciting space.

Add Stone Walls

Stone walls are making a comeback in modern gardens, and those of you looking for downward sloping garden ideas should rejoice! Although stone walls are not necessary, their rustic yet charming finish works wonders in a sloping garden, adding plenty of interest and helping to minimise the evidence of an awkward slope. Plus, a stone wall is perfect for growing plants on and around since these walls will create small spaces for you to grow drought-resistant plants and alpines with little maintenance. And, of course, a stone wall provides a beautiful backdrop for growing plants in front of! So, if you decide to add a stone wall to your sloping garden, ensure that you decorate it with plenty of plants to add beauty, texture and interest.

Plant For Your Soil

a cottage with a downward sloping garden planted up with climbing plants

When you’re trying to plan any garden, it’s essential to consider your soil. Unfortunately, this is much more of a necessity in a sloping garden. Usually, a sloping garden will experience different soil types the further down the slope you go. For example, the soil will be drier at the top of the slope than right at the bottom. And in some cases, the ground at the top of the slope could even be acidic, while the soil towards the bottom could be more alkaline or vice versa.

So, before you start planting, make sure to do a soil test at the bottom and top of your sloping garden. This will tell you how acidic or alkaline the soil is at different points of your garden and help you choose the best plants that will grow in these positions. This way, you will have a lively garden with colour and interest that draws attention away from awkward slopes.

Read More: How To Make Your Garden More Colourful

Decorate Your Slopes With Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses work wonders in sloping gardens. Their significant growth height and spread help to disguise any particularly awkward slopes, their flowers provide plenty of colours, and they create a beautiful cascade effect in the wind! Fortunately, ornamental grasses aren’t too challenging to grow. Most prefer well-drained soil with little maintenance. However, you should be sure that you are planting ornamental grasses that will thrive in the soil types of your garden.

Some of the best ornamental grasses for you to add to your downward sloping garden ideas are:

● Greater quaking grass

● Reed grass

● Pampas grass

● Wood rush

● Hair grass

● Blue fescue

● Silvergrass

Consider Adding A Terrace

a downward sloping garden with a terrace

Naturally, a terrace may not be within everyone’s budget. However, if you have the money and time to build one, it’s certainly something you should be considering if you’re hunting for downward sloping garden ideas. A terrace will level out part of your sloping garden, helping the rest to appear more levelled and less awkwardly inclining.

However, there are more affordable (and less time-consuming) options rather than building a terrace. For example, you could install retaining walls using railway sleepers, lay tiles as a floor-level terrace, or maintain a beautiful, flat lawn.

Forget About A ‘Perfect’ Lawn

Although a patch of perfect lawn can make an excellent terrace alternative, you’re unlikely to achieve one all along your sloping garden. Unfortunately, it’s just not achievable. In fact, it can even become dangerous trying to keep a lawn on a slope, especially when heavy machinery, like strimmers and lawnmowers, comes into play. So, embrace your new imperfect lawn! An overgrown lawn is perfect for attracting wildlife and will eventually begin to create an ecosystem all of its own.

Try Edged Borders

We touched on borders previously when talking about garden paths, but edged borders make such a difference in sloping gardens that we had to go into more detail. Of course, you can add an edged border around your garden path to define the route through your garden. However, an edged border also looks fantastic around flower beds and will help to delineate these beds and draw attention to them.

Take a look at this handy tutorial to help you create edged borders in your garden:

Keep It Simple

If your sloping garden is really beginning to grind your gears, it can be easy to try out the most convoluted and difficult suggestions you find to try and fix it. But, these time-consuming solutions may not be the best. For downward sloping garden ideas, it’s best to keep it simple and quick. For example, you don’t want to invest yourself in a project that lasts a few months only to find that it worsens the ambience of your garden. So, make sure to keep it simple and make your sloping garden work for you.

Find What Works For You

house with a patio overlooking an east facing garden

Just because you’re dealing with a sloping garden doesn’t mean you can’t be picky. And solutions or design options that have worked for other sloping garden owners might not work for you – and that’s fine! If some downward sloping garden ideas that other gardeners swear by aren’t really your style, there’s no need to spend too much time and energy worrying about them. Keep your own desires in mind, work with your garden, and you’ll have an outdoor space that you’ll want to keep on coming back to.


What To Plant In A Sloping Garden?

As we’ve discussed previously, what you plant in a sloping garden should depend on your soil type. However, plants that require little maintenance and can grow in sometimes difficult conditions will be best. Here are some of our suggestions for what to plant in a sloping garden:
● Coneflowers
● Burning bush
● Japanese yew
● Snowberry
● English ivy
● Beach strawberry
● Violets
● Daylilies

What Prevents Run-Off Water On Sloped Land?

An unfortunate downside of a downward sloping garden is that water can easily run downhill. And, if you’re trying to water your plants or your area gets hit with a rainstorm, this can spell disaster. Fortunately, there are several solutions for this. We’d recommend regularly mulching the topsoil of your flower beds to keep it secure and stop any runoff water from disturbing it.
However, another long-term option would be to plant using hardy shrubs and plants that cover the soil with little maintenance. These will help to prevent runoff water on sloped land and also add interest to your garden.

Can A Sloping Garden Be Levelled?

Yes, a sloping garden can be levelled! It’s not the easiest job to do yourself, although it can be done. However, there are plenty of groundwork specialists who can do the job for you.
Levelling a sloping garden involves measuring the slope of your garden, removing unwanted turf, adding in a retaining wall to level the land and then filling it back up with soil. If you’d like to have a go at levelling your sloping garden, there’s a handy step-by-step guide on how to do so here.

Do You Need Planning Permission To Level A Sloped Garden?

No, you don’t usually need planning permission to level a sloped garden. However, if the work you are planning will impact protected bushes, trees, wildlife or buildings, then you will require planning permission. You can find out if you will need planning permission for your project through your local planning authority, who you can contact through your local council.

Put Our Downward Sloping Garden Ideas To The Test

a property using downward sloping garden ideas to style the pond side garden

Working with a sloping garden can seem daunting at first. But, once you realise the benefits it brings and the fun you can have with this type of garden, you’ll forget how intimidating it seemed! Try out some of our downward sloping garden ideas, add your own unique twist, and you’ll have a garden to be proud of.

Do you have any downward sloping garden ideas you think should be here? Let us know your suggestions.

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