How to Transform Your Backyard with a Multi-Level Garden
When designing a garden – contrary to what you might think – it is very rare that you would have a flat, blank canvas as a starting point.
For instance, some backyards slope downwards.
Meanwhile, others rise upwards from the house.
Some slope to the side, and there are those that slope in all directions.
Naturally, this complicates the task of designing your garden.
However, no matter how challenging it is to surmount these problems, there are advantages to working with sloping typographies: it gives you the opportunity to design a multi-level garden that’s both functional and visually appealing.
In today’s article, we will look at some of the ways you can work with your sloping backyard to create a beautiful garden.
Put your ideas down on paper
The traditional way to flatten a slope of land is to cut terraces into the incline and even out the ground until it’s flat. However, there are many other ways to flatten the land, from building overhanging terraces to installing sunken seating areas. You can bring a sloping garden alive with clever planting and landscaping and create secret hideaways and themed rooms. All you need to access if your imagination.
But before you start moving the earth and building structures, just as you would with any construction or renovation, you need a plan. As part of your plan, consider how you intend to use your garden. For example: will you be entertaining family and guests? Does this require a patio and a pool? Will children be using the backyard and so it needs to be safe? Will you have a fireplace and a barbecue? Will you grow your own fruit and vegetables?
Once you’ve decided how you will use your garden, you can start planning how to effectively divide the space and allocate functionality to each area. Ensure that your plan accurately reflects where the slopes are in your garden so that you know where various spaces will work best. For instance, if the land near the entrance to your home is flat and then the garden slopes up, that flat land will be a good place for a patio and the slope can become a staircase leading to a secret garden, waterfall feature or even your vegetable patch.
Planning is definitely the most important part of this landscaping process when working with slopes in your garden, so make sure you invest proper time in it. If you are unsure what to do and what to look for, reach out to us at Armstone either online or at 1300 560 560, and we can recommend a professional landscaper who can guide and assist you on this process.
Building zones in your garden
Once you’ve decided how you intend to use the garden, you can start working on dividing it into designated zones. For example, if you intend to use your garden for entertaining purposes, you’ll want to find the best space to install the seating area and perhaps an outdoor kitchen. If you don’t have an outdoor kitchen (or you don’t want to build one), it’s best to design the garden in such a way that transferring food outside is easy. The best way to do this, is by placing your seating area as close close to the house as you can. On the other hand, if you choose to build an outdoor kitchen, we recommend installing it someplace where the smoke doesn’t blow over your diners and into your house.
If you have a family with kids and your garden needs to cater for this, you can use multi-level gardens to become an exciting place for children to explore and play. You could even use the different levels and slopes to install slides instead of footpaths/steps, build hidden playhouses beneath the decks, and secret garden areas hidden from immediate view.
Finally, if you intend to use your garden for relaxing, you can use the different levels to build hidden and shaded reading/lounge areas or even installing a hammock to sleep in. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.
Creating structure with stone retaining walls
One of the challenges of working with sloping gardens is holding back any earth that has been cut away. This can be solved by building terraces using retaining walls. However, with so many natural stone options to choose from, your retaining wall can be more than just for functional purposes. In fact, you can liven up your space using natural stone cladding – whether as a retaining wall or feature wall. Using natural stone will add character and and depth to your multi-level garden, especially if you create nooks and crannies within the walls for planting flowers, trees, shrubs or vegetables.
Build a raised deck to extend your living space
If your garden slopes up and away from your house, constructing a deck over the slope is an ideal way to utilise your space by extending the entertainment area and creating elevated views of your garden. If you have a large slope to work with, you can use pillars to raise your deck and even out the land. Elevating the deck is a double bonus that gives you additional storage underneath it. We suggest adding a fence or railing for safety purposes and you can find some that will suit your chosen aesthetic and garden vibe.
Use clever planting to create interest all year round
When it comes to planting, multi-level gardens are an ideal space to utilise the ‘hide and reveal’ concept. Gardens that don’t reveal all their secrets from the first viewing, that have tiers and terraces, are eminently more interesting than gardens where everything is in plain view.
If you are working on a budget where building terraces and retaining walls falls outside of your projected financial scope, you can install banked borders with plants and shrubbery as an alternative. In fact, plants are quite happy growing on slopes – after all, they grow that way in the wild. We do suggest installing a pathway of steps to make it easier to access all the plants across the slope for basic maintenance, and if you prefer to do as little gardening as possible, plant low-maintenance varieties that won’t need as much attention or TLC to flourish.
And there you have it: a few simple ways to turn your sloping backyard, into a multi-level garden that accommodates a variety of your family’s needs.
If you would like any help getting started, or choosing the right natural stones for the retaining walls, or pathways, reach out to our expert team at Armstone online or 1300 560 560. We stock the world’s finest quality natural pavers and stepping stones, garden pebbles and wall cladding, that will transform your garden into a beautiful haven. You can also visit our showroom in Glebe, Sydney for inspiration and ideas.