Hillside landscaping is considered one of the challenging jobs by landscape designers. the simple reason for this is the problem of soil erosion and inability to hold water that is necessary for
healthy growth of plants.
Before we dig into the possibilities of creating a hillside landscape I want to bring to your attention a very vital point that should not be overlooked. Unlike a plain land surface a hillside or a sloping land if formed naturally should never be disturbed. The form of the land thus formed because of accumulation of the ground elements such as soil, rocks or combination of these is the best possible form in that particular natural environment.
Always remember that “nature” has its own rules and deep thinking behind every minutest details, as humans we must first learn to pay attention and respect to these details and help or co-ordinate
in the ecological process of any landscape form. True beauty and success of any landscape comes by working in accordance with natural growth cycle. of course we using our creative brains can certainly create beautiful hillside landscapes. Here I am trying to give you 3 possible options.
Create Terraces in the for of plain lands. the number of such terraces directly depend upon the degree of slope. The plain land at various such levels above the ground level is supported by retaining walls
constructed in stones. Arrangement to drip of water from the portion of soil the wall supports must be done at the time of construction.
Instead of creating terraces, another option is to keep the sloped land as it is and create a “rock garden” on the slope. The main advantage of using this system is that the cost of constructing
retaining wall gets reduced immediately. The rocks used in the rock garden are usually boulders that are used in wall construction.
Since the rocks have a considerable “self weight” no extra foundation is needed and they help in holding down the soil around them by prevention soils erosion. the space that remains around the rocks can be used to plant beautiful flowering plants that will cover the slope entirely. this creates an awesome design of rocks and flowers (hard and soft) landscape.
The third option is creating pocket trenches of slightly large trees at regular intervals horizontally and vertically. the pocket trenches are nothing but plain terraces (similar to option #1) but not for the
entire length of the slope. The pocket trenches should be laid out that would be enough to hold a tree in place even if the tree grows bigger in future. The roots of these trees will eventually grow in all directions holding the soil in place and the plain trenches will co-operate in seeping of water in the internal parts of the slope.
The remaining portion of the slope can be creatively used using the rock garden ideas mentioned above with a combination of soft and hard landscaping.
I hope these ideas will help to develop a spark of imagination in your mind and you will be able to come up with more ideas to landscape a hillside.
Copyright Shrinivas Vaidya