Taming a Slope

Before putting in plants, this slope was landscaped with large stone slabs that act as retaining walls. They provide structure to reduce erosion while creating plantable spaces on the tiered hillside. The addition of stone steps turns what would otherwise be a difficult hill to navigate into an inviting walkway.

Since the slope is an exposed area that gets a lot of sun and little shade, we planted sun-loving, drought-tolerant annuals, perennials, and shrubs. We chose an array of heights and habits with a good amount of low, trailing plants such as Lemon Coral™ Sedum and Mojave® Portulaca in the mix to grow over the rocks for a lush, filled in effect.

1. Consider Height, Spacing, and Water Needs

  • When planting, work your way from the back of a tier to the front.
  • Keep the mature size of your plants in mind when spacing them, and space accordingly.
  • Plant taller, less drought tolerant plants towards the back, and shorter, trailing, drought-tolerant varieties towards the front.

2. Amend the Soil

  • Turn the soil to get rid of any compaction.
  • Amend the soil with things like mushroom compost, cow manure and peat moss, making sure it is thoroughly mixed in.
  • Add heat-release fertilizer to the holes for all plantings to further enrich the soil.

3. Water With the Slope in Mind

  • The bed is planted on a slope, so the lower beds usually get the most water in a heavy rain because gravity pulls the water lower.
  • Plants in the higher beds may need more water than those in the lower areas.
  • Planting more drought-tolerant plants towards the top is a good solution to the water issue.