I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.
A common solution in a sloped yard is to install terraces with the help of retaining walls. The amount of terraces necessary to stairstep up the slope depends on the area and steepness, but good landscaping can improve the appearance whether there is one terrace level or several.
1. Moisture Access
Irrigation is vital for successful terrace landscaping. Water tends to pass through terraces quickly, so being able to provide regular irrigation is necessary if you plan to put in any type of plant. An automated irrigation system is the ideal when combined with the right plants. Generally, those that can thrive on less water, such as succulents, do well in terraced landscaping.
2. Drainage Concerns
Terracing can slow moisture flow down a slope, but the soil will still dry out more quickly than it would in lower levels of the yard. New terraces should include some drainage so that water doesn't build up against the terrace walls as it tries to flow down the hill. You can further slow drainage by putting in groundcover plants with fibrous root systems, as these help weave a net in the soil that will impede moisture flow slightly.
3. Soil Conditions
Soil conditions can be poor within the terraced area. Years of water flowing down the slope or through the terraces may have stripped out organic matter and soil nutrients. Before planting, have your landscape service test the soil nutrition and then work in compost and fertilizer as needed. Continuing to topdress with compost and fertilizer every year will ensure the soil remains in good condition.
4. Site Exposure
Exposure to sun, rain, wind, and other weather conditions affects all parts of your landscaping, but terraced areas can be especially sensitive. A terrace that receives full sunlight every day will dry out more quickly than one under heavy shade. Adjust planting choices so that they can thrive in the site conditions available, keeping in mind the other plant factors that affect terrace landscaping.
5. Maintenance Ease
Access to a terrace may not be easy, depending on the design and height of the terrace. Integrating steps into a steep terrace design can make maintenance access easier. For those terraces that are harder to access, stick to simple landscaping that won't require a lot of hands-on maintenance. For example, perennial plants usually only need to be cut back in the fall, and small evergreen shrubs may require nothing more than a light trim every year or two.
Contact a landscaping service if you need further help in planning and putting in terrace plantings in your yard.Share