How to make the most of a sloping garden

The best design solution for a sloping garden is to slit it into different levels to make the most of the space

Make the most of a sloping garden by creating different levels, each with its own purpose. This design has an area right next to the house for outdoor dining and a barbecue. Then, wide steps lead down (or up, depending on which way your garden slopes) to an area with built-in seats (with lift-up lids for extra storage) and a water feature, or sandpit if you have children. The last level includes a play area and lawn, plus a shed and compost heap. Hardy plants that don’t need lots of water, such as osteospermum, are great for a low-maintenance garden.

Will it take much looking after?
The lawn will need cutting up to once a week in high summer, but if you choose raised borders planted with hardy perennials, such as hosta and astilbe, they won’t need much care or constant maintenance. Add splashes of colour with drought-resistant osteospermum and gazania.

How can I cut costs?
Shifting earth and shoring up the terraces can be quite costly. In a gently sloping garden, save money by just decking over the top of the old surface, and swap raised planters for pots (which you could always add later when you’ve saved up).

How to make the most of a tapering garden

The best design for a tapering garden uses strong diagonals to trick the eye. The main border comes into the middle of the garden, while the lawn widens as the garden narrows, balancing the tapered shape. The shed hides behind a water feature at the far end, making the narrowest part of the garden a useful spot.

Will it take much looking after?
In the summer the lawn will need cutting once a week and the plants in the borders will need regular watering. Put down a weed-suppressing membrane (from garden centres) to cut down on the amount of weeding, then plant the border with ground cover plants, such as geraniums or catmint. Geraniums, in particular, provide good ground cover and colour through the summer. Use tall pots planted with grasses for an eye-catching display.

How can I cut costs?
Replace the pots with tall plants set into the ground — bamboo would be a good choice because it’s evergreen and makes a good screening plant. Making the lawn area larger and the border narrower will also save money.

Visit the Ideal Home garden shop

Love your garden? Take advantage of our special offers on plants at the Ideal Home garden shop. Our curated collection of beautiful flowers and shrubs is guaranteed to add colour and charm to your outdoor space.

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