Not many gardens are completely flat. However, slopes and banks are going to pose challenges when it comes to getting the best out of your garden. Using the right plants to plant your gardens up can be an excellent long-term solution. In this blog post, we will reveal everything that you need to know about planting on and around slopes effectively.
There are a number of different reasons why slopes present difficulties in gardens. This is because they are prone to soil drying and erosion, as well as being difficult to access. Slopes also tend to be overrun with weeds. To help give speedy coverage and stabilise the soil, ground-cover plants or strong-growing climbers are needed.
Careful planting and thorough preparation are particularly important, as steeper slopes and soils on banks tend to be sandy and poor. You need to remove all perennial weeds and you should add garden compost or well-rotted manure wherever you can. You can identify the alkalinity or acidity and soil texture through a suitable soil test, which will influence the range of plants that are suitable. Ericaceous or acid-loving shrubs, for instance, grow best in a range between four and six.
On steeper slopes, coconut matting that is coarse or a material of this nature can be pegged down to make the soil on the slope, which is cleared of vegetation temporarily, is less likely to be washed off. You should plant through the matting. As the matting is decayed, the plants that are stem-rooting should root-in, providing effective consolidation.
You should also plant individual plants on a small horizontal shelf of soil to make watering easier. This way the water is not going to run right off. To settle the soil around the roots, make sure that the plants are watered in thoroughly. A general fertiliser can then be applied, followed by a mulch if possible so that moisture can be conserved during the warmer months. Throughout the first growing season, keep a frequent check on watering needs.
What sort of plants are best for a slope?
There are a number of different studies that have been carried out by agricultural colleges that have determined that deep-rooted plants are required for a slope. Nevertheless, what works in agriculture is not always going to be the same when it comes to gardens. After all, the total areas in gardens are a lot smaller, as are the slopes.
Of course, deep-rooted plants are a good idea for slopes. However, this does not mean that you need to limit yourself to these plants when planting on a slope. Mat-forming plants also work well. It is a good idea to search for plants that will create a thick cover across the ground and over the soil when their foliage spreads. As access is usually difficult, weeding slopes is not easy, which is why these sorts of plants come recommended. Fewer weeds are going to grow, as the thick plant foliage will block out the light.
Another option is to opt for plants whose roots are going to easily spread through the soil. Ivy and ferns are classic plants for slopes. Euphorbias are also effective spreaders, and persicarias are too. However, it is worth noting that the latter does tend to prefer a fairly damp climate. Of course, this should not be too much of a problem in the UK.
Some ideas and suggestions for planting on a slope
- Make a statement with boulders – Nestling clusters of boulders into the soil is another way to handle slopes and create a beautiful space. Boulders are great because they anchor portions of the sloped flower bed, adding heaps of natural beauty. You should arrange rocks into groups that are staggered in an informal manner, creating more a natural appearance. To stabilise this, bury the bottom one-third to one-half of each rock into the ground. Ensure that soil is packed firmly around the rocks and use plantings to finish it off.
- Deck the hill – Another option is to transform a steep, sloped flower bed into a valuable space for living by straddling it with a deck that has a number of different levels. It is always striking to have a contrast between a deck and natural plantings.
- Grow natives – Naturalistic plantings and rocks can turn an eroding hillside flower bed into a beautiful and vibrant oasis, which will blend with the surroundings.
- Terrace it – If one big wall is not going to be effective, why not try a number of low walls that have level terraces between them? Think about paving a level to create a patio and a comfortable outdoor seating area. You can create an inviting and stylish patio with a sloped backyard design, creating a beautiful place for you to sit and survey the rest of your outside area.
- Switchback sensation – Use a curving stairway to connect two levels, as this will lower the severity of a sloped flower bed. Succulents and drought-resistant groundcovers that thrive in warmer weather can stop erosion on steep grades, making the journey a lot more interesting.
- Display your favourite containers – Make the most of a change in grade to display your favourite potted plants on a sloped flower bed’s outer edges. Placing a selection of container gardens in an area that is well-travelled can have a much greater impact. Areas like the entries are perfect for this.
- Build a wall – A retaining wall is ideal for a hillside flower bed, as it makes opportunities for planting when you choose construction materials that enable you to plant in nooks and crannies along the surface of the wall.
So there you have it: everything that you need to know about how to plant on and around slopes effectively. We hope that this information will help you to make the most out of your garden. You will also want to make sure that you adorn the flatter areas of your garden with stunning furniture, such as rattan garden furniture UK.