Gardening on Slopes

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This is a perfect time of year to take a mental break from all of the holiday hubbub and think about your gardens and landscape. I've had several inquires about gardening on a slope, so here are some things to keep in mind while you dream and scheme:

The number one concern with a slope is preventing erosion or, in other words, promoting soil stability. First, determine if the slope needs to be supported artificially by means of a retaining wall(s) or a series of boulder groupings (a good solution for a more moderate slope and/or a rustic-natural appearance). This work should be done prior to any planting.

When you are ready to select plants, look for shrubs and perennials-especially- that have these characteristics:

  • Plants that spread or have fibrous root systems.
  • Plants that are evergreen or hold their foliage through the winter. Hint: think grey!
  • Plants that are drought tolerant.
  • Plants that are low maintenance. This is for your safety!

The goal is to cover the slope quickly and permanently. As always, a combination of contrasting plant sizes and shapes as well as foliage color and texture will make the garden more beautiful and interesting.

Even drought tolerant plants need water to become established (often for up to three years), so it's important to have a watering plan in place. Low volume drip, pop-up spray or leaky hoses that can be set to run repeatedly for short time periods are ideal for use on a slope. This type of system and application method will allow the water to soak in more easily and help prevent water run-off (and soil erosion).

Take the time, now, to enjoy planning for the future!

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