5 Hillside Landscaping Ideas to Spruce up Your Yard

A house on a hill has the amazing advantage of spectacular views. However, sloped yards are notoriously difficult to maintain with problems such as soil erosion and difficulty in navigation. There are ways around these issues, though. As usual, I’ve got you covered. With these 5 hillside landscaping ideas, your hilly backyard will soon be the envy of the neighborhood.

1. Tier-ific Idea

A tiered garden showing one of five hillside landscaping ideas

The number one problem for sloped backyards is soil erosion. Naturally, the steeper the incline, the bigger the problem. One way to limit soil runoff is to introduce tiers to your backyard. Not only are they practical, allowing you to access your garden easier, but they also look great. Tiers add dimension, making your backyard more visually appealing.

You can use different materials to terrace your hillside. Stone walls are a great idea as they are low maintenance once installed. They also heat up in the warmer months and hold heat at night, creating a microclimate for plants that wouldn’t do well in other areas of your backyard.

2. Stairs to get Around

An outdoor staircase made of stones

Stairs not only make it easier to access your backyard but they provide some order too. Whether you decide to let nature take over or have a well-manicured backyard, stairs give you the option to enjoy your garden a bit more up close.

From wood to concrete to stone, there are so many choices of material for stairs. To help your little stairway to heaven blend into the surroundings, choose a more natural-looking material and consider having plants on either side.

3. Low-Maintenance Rock Garden

A person grabbing a rock for landscaping

Of these hillside landscaping ideas, this one is definitely low maintenance. If you intend to grow various plants, they’re going to require water to thrive. But watering a slope increases chances for soil erosion. Rocks provide a great way to anchor the soil and prevent runoff.

If your sloped yard is rocky, begin by letting the rocks fall where they may – this gives it a more natural look. Throw in a few more well-placed rocks where needed and add your plants between the spaces. Some maintenance and de-weeding may be required as the plants take hold, but as they begin to spread you’ll have less to do. I recommend plants that don’t require too much water to thrive, such as cacti and other succulents to cut your hillside landscaping requirements down to a minimum.

4. Plant Selection

A picnic table surrounded by shrubs on a backyard hill showing hillside landscaping ideas

Speaking of low maintenance, landscaping a slope can require a little extra work. Keep your backyard chore list short by selecting plants that aren’t so needy. Coneflowers, shrubs, grasses, and plants native to your area ask very little of you when they’re growing and provide a network of roots that help prevent soil erosion. They’re also quite hardy come wintertime, as well as colorful and great to look at. A little pruning here and there and you’re good to go. With the right choice of plants, your hillside can look great all year round.

5. Central Feature with Seating  

An outdoor fireplace with seating surrounding it

You know I had to include something in this list of hillside landscaping ideas that will encourage you to stay outdoors a little longer! What’s the point of having a beautiful view but nowhere to sit and enjoy it outdoors? I highly recommend incorporating a central feature in your hilly backyard; and any central feature should have some seating. This will likely require some work (and money) to install, but if you can it’s certainly worth it.

Consider water features or – one of our favorites – a fire pit. Fire pits not only look great but they serve various purposes from providing warmth to cooking and bringing friends and family together. You can get creative with your choice of seating – building concrete or stone benches into the hill and around the fire pit to complement the surroundings and anchor the soil.

Hillside Landscaping Ideas: Mix and Match

A log cabin style home perched on a hill

The great thing about these hillside landscaping ideas is that you don’t have to choose just one. Most of them work well together – winding stairs leading to a fire pit surrounded by rocks and shrubbery, for example. There are so many landscaping ideas for slopes. So if you have a hilly backyard, it’s not all downhill; things are looking up!

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