Landscaping Tasmania – Sloping Gardens

Landscaping Tasmania – landscaping tasmaniaWhat You Should Know

When landscaping Tasmania you find an abundance of sloping gardens. While a sloping garden adds distinctive charm and character to any property, it also presents a few unique challenges to homeowners. On a sloping ground, mulch and nutrients tend to run off with the water leaving the soil lacking in essential nutrition for plants. Mowing on a slope can be particularly difficult at any time and more so when the grass is wet and slippery. During the rains, the erosion run-off can create a messy heap of mulch at the bottom of the slope.

Landscaping a sloping garden that successfully manages run-off while encouraging some water to soak into the garden requires some thought and planning on the main components of good landscape design especially with regards to the drainage and the retaining wall. Making major design changes mid-way can be expensive and laborious so take time to think through every aspect before you start with the actual work. Here are some tips on how to mow a lawn on a sloping garden.

Terracing or Levelling a Sloping Garden … Which is better?

Both of these options work wonderfully. They add a different dimension to the whole area simply because you can plant at varying levels. The combinations and variations you can use are endless. Imagine your sloping garden with a flower border and perhaps a patio at the topmost level, a herb garden in close proximity to the kitchen, a vegetable patch somewhere further down the incline with some fruit bushes and taller trees right at the bottom. Once the slope has been tamed, you will have some spectacular design and planting options to toy around with! Check out How to re-invent your garden for more ideas on garden designs.

 Let’s Talk About Retaining Walls

landscaping tasmania retaining walls are an important aspect that needs careful consideration. Retaining walls are usually installed into the slope to level the overall garden and to get the lowest levels up to grade. In doing so, your plant choices immediately get much larger because availability of water and drainage issues are no longer a problem.

Erecting a retaining wall requires the use of some kind of brick, stone or landscaping block that looks good and also creates a sturdy, rugged wall to hold the soil and prevent it from getting washed away. Mortaring the retaining walls into place helps provide additional stability if necessary.

You can make use of a range of materials to create the retaining walls.

  • Stone retaining walls are the most commonly used. They can be created using breeze blocks, natural stone or pre-formed concrete stacking blocks.
  • New Oak beams are another popular but expensive option. Moreover these need to be treated regularly over the years to prevent rotting.
  • Reclaimed house bricks make an unusually attractive retaining wall.
  • Railways sleepers are the most economical option

The material you use and the quality of the footings will ultimately determine its strength and durability.

Basic Design Advice On Building A Retaining Wall

While the choice of materials is important, even more important is getting the design of the wall right.

A wall that is too high is likely to be more unstable than a shorter wall. As the height increases, the tipping force that tries to topple the wall increases exponentially.  Keep that in mind when trying to determine what height you want your retaining wall to be. 600ml is the norm.

When soil freezes, it expands and this expansion can cause serious damage to retaining walls. If you live in an area where frost is imminent, the most effective way to minimize this damage is to back-fill the wall with gravel this ensures the soil and surrounding area is well drained to prevent water build up and ice behind the wall.

If the slope behind the wall is so severe that there is no way to drain the water way, drainage can be achieved by using weep holes at the wall base  .

landscaping tasmania

landscaping tasmania

You

 need to create a foundation of concrete or compacted stone to prevent soil creep.

 

Drainage Considerations

Getting the drainage right is one of the most important considerations when landscaping Tasmania. It is crucial that storm water should be directed away from all structures – yours as well as your neighbors  It’s not just the water that is a matter of concern. Even under dry conditions, water naturally runs down a steep gradient. When it rains, the soil gets heavier as it keeps absorbing water and this waterlogged soil slowly slides down the slope which causes tremendous damage, particularly if it gets into the house. Diverting the water to where it will cause least damage is the core of good drainage. This can be achieved with carefully planned buried drainpipes or by installing draining ditches in a way that does not mar the face of the slope. Digging a ditch at the top of the slope and connecting it to the drains that run down the slope will help divert the water that would otherwise run right over the edge.

Selecting Plants For Your Sloping Garden

Plants that tend to flow down the slopes work wonderfully when planted at the edge of a terrace. These include black eyed susan, Shasta daisies, cone-flowers and garden phlox, and herbs such as creeping phlox and cat-mint.

Soft woolly lambs ears, artemesias and other plants with silver or grey foliage add contrasting colour that is eye catching when planted alongside other brighter coloured blooms and dwarf-sized evergreen shrubs.

Elaborate trellises, large flower pots, bird feeders and bird baths all add different degrees of interest but too many items can make the garden look cluttered. Instead a few pieces carefully placed flowers can speak volumes.  Here is an interesting article called :    “Your Three Options for Landscaping on a Slope”.

Good luck with your garden!  

If you need any advice regarding landscaping Tasmania, contact John from DH Landscaping – big or small – he does it all.