To be successful amid the outdoor living boom, it's critical for retailers and builders to stay abreast of rapidly changing consumer tastes in backyard products. To help keep your product lines up to date, AQUA has partnered with design megasite Houzz to bring you more content about outdoor living, from pools and spas to outdoor kitchens and patio furniture. This time, a Houzz expert explores just some of the design possibilities to complement sloping backyards.
There are lots of ways to have fun with an uneven landscape. From snaking paths to jutting decks and sunken seating areas, here are some ideas for beautiful and exciting sloping outdoor spaces.
1. Rise above it. Constructing a deck over a steep downward slope affords level space for entertaining and great views of a garden. Depending on the angle of the slope, the deck could also be raised on pillars to create storage or even a playspace beneath.
2. Build a banked border. Most plants are just as happy growing on slopes as in level beds, so try constructing flower beds that rise up from a path, creating a green, enveloping corridor. Small steps cut into the bank will give you access for weeding and pruning.
3. Design the terraces around different themes. Terraces cut into a sloping garden gain extra style points when each is given a clear identity.
4. Plant a living mural. If your garden slopes upward, the rear boundary will be much more prominent. Make a feature of it by creating a fabulous planted wall, as seen here. Alternatively, grow trees in pots along the wall or train climbing plants up it for a vibrant backdrop. Here strips of lawn and shallow steps with inset lights create a green carpet leading to the lush wall.
5. Walk on the wild side. Planting a slope with a relaxed mix of hardy, low-maintenance plants rather than neatly lined-up specimens that require a lot of care is a great way to make a garden slope attractive. Plus, you won't need to clamber around on it with the pruning sheers every weekend.
6. Add a rail. Walls and terraces can create steep drops that are dangerous for small children. Consider installing railings for safety. A mix of stone and iron railings can look elegant and classic, as this garden proves.
7. Create zones. While an outdoor dining space is best positioned close to the house, an area devoted to reading or lounging can be located anywhere in the garden. Make the most of the more private, lower reaches of a sloping garden by building a small terrace and adding garden furniture there.
8. Lay a feature path. A sloping garden is usually more visible from the house, so help link it to your interior with a gorgeous, snaking path that's fun to look at and walk on. This tiled path in beautiful blue tones draws the eye all the way to the upper reaches of the gently sloping garden, enticing you to explore it all the way to the end.
9. Squeeze in a seat. A cultivated sloping garden like this one is not best suited to entertaining or playing, but it is perfect for sitting and relaxing. The steep slope here has been walled to create beds; a horizontal slice of lawn, just big enough for a bench, has been included in the design to provide a spot in which to sit and admire the garden.
10. Mix up the materials. In a sloping garden, the materials you use to terrace the incline can be as eye catching as the plantings. Here steel backs plant beds while boulders add visual depth.