Landscaping on a Hill: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

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A landscaped hill can be extremely beautiful if done right. Unfortunately, many homeowners make serious mistakes when trying to landscape a hill. What are the most common mistakes?

1. Forgetting to Plan for Erosion

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when landscaping a hill is to forget about erosion. Because rain hits a hill directly, it's easy for soil to wash down the hill, especially if strong roots don't hold it together. When planning a hill landscape design, it's important to take into consideration the type of foliage you are going to plant. It needs to have strong roots to hold up against the forces of erosion.

Shrubs and groundcover are a good choice for a hilly landscape. This is because these plants have many different root depths, which hold the soil better and prevent erosion.

Before landscaping a hill ask yourself some questions. What is the drainage like on the hill? Does water flow directly down the hill? How deep is the soil? What kind of soil is it? When you dig a hole, does the water drain? How steep is the hill? What kind of sun does it receive?

2. Failing to Plan for Stairs

Another common mistake is to fail to build stairs on a very steep hill. This is especially problematic if you plan to use the hill to access another part of your yard. Of course, if you only plan to admire the landscaping from afar, stairs are not necessary. But if you need to access the landscaping for various purposes, failing to construct stairs on a steep incline is a serious problem.

3. Forgetting to Consider the Sun Exposure

Another problem is including plants in the landscape design that don't work well with the sun exposure the hill receives. If the hill receives a lot of sun, shade-loving plants will not flourish. On the other hand, if you plant a lot of sun-loving plants on the hill and it is very shady, you'll also have a problem.

4. Failure to Plan Ahead

Failing to properly prepare a hill before planting can also cause problems. Even if your landscaping design is purely ornamental, it's important to clear away brush and weeds before starting to plant. Weeds create more weeds and make it harder to control erosion.

If you want to build structures on the hill, make sure you plan ahead. Some hills work well with paths and retaining walls, while some don't.

5. Forgetting to Secure Large Rocks

Large rocks can also pose a problem when landscaping a hill. If you want to include large rocks as part of the design, make sure they are securely held in place. If you're lucky, your hill may come with a built-in boulder already.

Do your research before starting the project, and make sure you plan everything from start to finish. If you don't want to tackle the project on your own, call a local landscape architect and ask for some advice. Landscaping on a hill can be a rather tricky process, so it pays to do your homework and contact the professionals when necessary.