Cope with your Slope
Addressing the Challenges of Hilly Landscapes Around Your Home
Sometimes it seems as though the perfect home and the ideal yard just don’t always occur on the same piece of property. Hilly landscapes and graded backyards are often considered less desirable than level landscapes or those with a variety of elevations with at least a focal area with a flat topography. Still, beauty can be achieved even on these seemingly more challenging landscape settings, and it may just require a little creativity and some help from a talented, professional landscaping contractor.
Creating lovely home landscapes on uneven ground involves some degree of imagination and a little bit of trust in your landscape architect. Consider these tips to help you envision the ideal end result for your home’s landscaping designs.
Dream Big, Start Small
Uneven land may initially seem to present a challenge in determining the best landscaping plans for your property, but don’t be discouraged. You can really achieve a stunning setting for your home with some imagination and careful planning. No matter what you may be thinking, and despite wishing you’d ended up with a flat yard, remember that some of the most challenging projects often deliver the most amazing results. A hilly or uneven yard serves as a blank canvas for the landscaper who will consider all possible angles in choosing the palette for a truly dramatic landscape masterpiece.
As you think about all of the pieces of the puzzle you want to put in place in your home’s landscaping, give some thought to the lifetime use of your property. In the event your family stays in the same home for the next 20 or 30 years, it is important to think about the different needs you would like your yard to satisfy. If you don’t have room for a full swing set, you can surely still fit a tire swing or a single swing coming off the biggest tree you’ve got. A tree house may be another possibility for your kids’ enjoyment. You can break apart your idea for a pond with a flowing fountain into a series of water gardens scattered throughout your property, possibly even connected from a flowing waterfall that begins at the top of a stone terrace. Employ a gorgeous stone retaining wall to allocate more level gardening space and to divide and connect areas of different elevation as desired. The point is, don’t give up on what you want, but rather scale your visions and dreams or rearrange them to fit the land you have at your disposal.
Inspire Multiple Intimate Settings
Rather than jumbling all of your recreational and relaxation areas together, space them out amid a lovely landscape that surrounds your home. The perfect book nook may be nestled along a small hillside while a tranquil hot tub and spa area work much better in a low-lying area shrouded by foliage for privacy and seclusion. You can create a meandering path of stepping stones on a slight grade, flanked by perennials that you can look forward to seeing again with every new year.
Rather than looking at your property as one big pie, look at it as the sum of all its parts. When you look closely at the size and grade of the available areas, you can begin to determine the perfect purpose for each individual location. An experienced landscaper can help to ensure your plans allow for natural water drainage, and plan your plantings accordingly to avoid overwatering, too much or too little sun, and other possible issues. You can find even plenty of impressive ways to improve the curb appeal and wow factor of your home’s surroundings by playing to the advantages of its rolling hills and uneven soil.
Go with the Flow
As you look at your property and the areas you want to develop with the special touch of landscaping architecture, try to envision your family and friends making use of the areas. Work to create a flow that makes sense, taking visitors or family members comfortably from one living space to the next. The fire pit doesn’t necessarily have to be right next to the pool, nor does the hammock and reading area need to be exactly adjacent to the whirlpool. Connect your outdoor spaces with patio landings or other special areas. Allow yourself some flexibility to map out your ideas on blueprints in a few different arrangements and choose the best fit for your family’s needs and the yard space you have available.
Consider using stones and boulders to create a majestic garden with variegated flowers interspersed throughout the different altitudes. Set up a number of gardens in a design of steps that mimic an organic staircase, allowing plantings even on an uneven surface. Choose flowers, plants, trees and shrubs with different textures, colors and growth heights to create the illusion of a vast jungle or garden that draws the eye to the dramatic display of foliage and blossoms rather than the varied elevation planes. Perhaps all you need to do is build in a lovely outdoor stone staircase or series of stepping stones to connect one living space to the next. Work with a dedicated landscaping contractor to make use of your home’s existing scenery or to create new backdrops from scratch, designing the areas that will best serve your family’s needs now and in the years to come.