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Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 | 0 comments

Landscaping a Steeply Sloped Yard

Landscaping a Steeply Sloped Yard

When we moved into our house earlier this year, there was pretty much zero curb appeal. The yard was a mess of weeds mixed with patches of mulch and irregularly placed sod. It was weird, really, because the inside of the house was updated, so it seemed like the previous owner forgot about the outside.

The worst part of the yard had to be the steeply sloped sides, two narrow patches of dirt, rocks and weeds eroding with every rainfall. One side received sun and was somewhat evenly sloped.

Yard before

The other side was mostly shade and had a flatter top and then a steep drop (plus an eyesore of a drainage tube!).

Yard before

We called a few landscapers to get their opinions. Everyone seemed to come to the same conclusion: sod the sunny side and hardscape the shady side.

We liked the idea of steps on one side to make it easier to get to the back of the house without going inside. Though seed would have been significantly less expensive than sod for the sunny side, it would have been difficult to grow on a hill. Sod also gave us the instant gratification we wanted to improve the landscaping.

We ended up hiring Bright Shade Gardens based on rave reviews from the Beverley Hills listserv. In addition, their quote came in right on budget. About a month later, Paige and her crew came over and in one day, they leveled and sodded the sunny side and hardscaped the shady side.

Here’s the new sunny sod with glorious green sod.


I asked Paige to leave a two-foot wide space along the side of the house for a flower garden. I haven’t had a chance to plant anything yet as I have been focusing on my vegetable garden, so I think I will wait until the fall or next year to start on this project.


The sod is a little over a month old and we’re still trying to avoid walking on it. That brings us to the other side of the house where we now have a stacked staircase of boulders.


Each one of these weighs about 300 pounds and it took a crew of 4 men to install them. They weren’t the cheapest option for steps, but they are permanent and will not require any upkeep.


Paige’s crew also hid the ugly drainage tube and installed seven Laurels going along the property line to mask the chain-link fence. The Laurels are still getting used to their surroundings but the idea is that they will create a natural fence as they fill out in the years to come.


We couldn’t be happier with the way this turned out. I’m not sure this was a project we could have done ourselves — for one, lifting those boulders would have been impossible! — but I hope this gives anyone out there who lives on a hill some ideas for making the most of their yard.

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