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Steep slope in front yard


I need ideas for the front of our new home. We finished building last November and have no grass as of yet. We are thinking that we will need to put in a terraced retaining wall of some sort along the front of the house so that we don't have to mow along the steepest part of the yard. Do you have any other suggestions that we might consider?

See the attached picture. It doesn't show the steepness too well, but we use it as a sledding hill if that gives you any idea! It really drops (4ft) from the corner of the front porch to the right corner (english basement) of the house.


Nikki L. Easley


Hi Nikki,

From the look of the photo your lot doesn’t seem that steep. A lot of people jump to the conclusion that a retaining wall is needed just because their lot has a little slope to it. I’m not sure in your case a retaining wall is what you want to start with.

You also have an area on the side of your home that has three basement windows. If you plan to finish the basement now or in the future, you would not want to block the your potential view with plants.

I would begin by sowing the area with a good grass seed, and straw in. This will help to eliminate any erosion.

Plant some anchor plants in the corners of the house and maybe a few shrubs and things in the front and between the windows on the side. What you need to look at is not how the house will look from the street but how it will look to you from the house looking out. You are the ones that will be seeing the most of your landscape and you want it to look good from your perspective.

What I always tell people with a new landscape is to place a few stakes where you want to place your trees and shrubs. Wait a week or two to visualize if that will be the right placement. Better to decide now then to dig holes that you will have to do again.

You can use ground covers or low growing hedges on the banks. A small rock wall by the drive would give you a chance to make a flower or small shrub bed. The best thing is not to hurry into it and take one section at a time. I have seen folks put in retaining walls and wish that they had not a few weeks after it was installed.

Keep in mind the height of the trees at maturity, and how they will balance the house.

When you come up with a few things feel free to email back. You may look at circuit city for inexpensive software that allows you too place plants in a landscape. Some that can utilize your own photos of the house.

Kind Regards

Steve Jones

Ground Cover
From Full sun to shade you'll find the right ground cover for you.

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