Enhancing a steep garden

A steep garden fixed with black timber steps
ARTICLE Rachael Farthing  

A flat garden to many is desirable, but not all properties have them, especially within the New Zealand landscape. Gardens come in many forms, and more often than not, homeowners don’t get to pick and choose the layout of their land. However, there are a few tips and tricks to enhancing your steep landscape and garden, whether it be by use of retaining walls, removing land mass, or other variables that are key in the process.

Enhancing a steep garden can be a challenge but with a streamlined process and the right landscaping specialist, it can be stress-free and achievable on a range of budgets.

What can I do with a sloped backyard?

Although a flat garden may be the ideal outdoor space for many, the cost of making those large contour changes can rack up very quickly.

Access to site for diggers, removing soil, and potential engineering costs, are factors that people might not be aware of at the start of their garden renovation. This does not mean that you are left with an unusable site, or one that is fated to be entirely vegetation.

Small areas can be retained to provide enough space for your favourite outdoor activities without blowing the whole retaining wall budget. Seating can be built into the retaining, to mitigate dead space behind furniture, leaving enough room for a dining table or a space for kids to play.

What are the benefits of a terraced garden? 

Terracing provides an option to still have flat spaces, they are just broken up into layers. This could become a useful tool when defining the kids play area and parents relaxing zones. The cost is lessened as you are not removing so much soil and smaller walls are being built with less weight behind them.

Is it possible to build a deck on sloped land?

Decks are wonderful spaces and can be built over just about any terrain. Multi-layer decks can provide those much-needed activity spaces, while not requiring many alterations to the ground surface. If you are looking at lowering your site level, it may be worth taking a trip up to the highest part of your site. Will you lose view corridors if you change the layout of the land? Creating your very own terraced or viewing deck could provide you with a secret hideaway and views to wow guests with.

What are some important considerations when working on a sloped landscape?

When considering any alteration to the surface of your property, drainage and disturbing existing vegetation are some issues to think about. It is worthwhile checking with an expert to talk about your specific situation before making changes.

Modern housing pressures have impacted landscaping too, make sure you read about Urban gardens.  

This article by Rachael Farthing featured on page 34 of Issue 021 of Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

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For inspiration and information on how Zones has helped a number of homeowners to create their ideal landscape, please check out our past projects and testimonials


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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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