Basically, there are some ways to landscape a steep slope besides installing retaining walls, one of them is having landscape steps on a slope. It is quite challenging, though, but the result will be worth the energy.
One of the challenges you may have to face is the unstable hills. However, steps, like walls, can keep it stable as well as make it look pleasing to see.
Steps cannot work alone. You should have to combine them with planting trees, shrubs, evergreens, and flowers. It is because the roots of those plants will help keep the soil in its place. Therefore, the soil won’t slide away and erode. This is a perfect way to prevent overflow during storms, because the amount of plants you planted will lessen the water force.
When choosing the plants, make sure to opt for native plants. It is because they are easier to adapt to your landscape.
If the soil on the slope is quite deep, try to find plants that have deeper roots as well. Don’t forget to cover each section of bare soil with rocks or mulch to lessen the impact of erosion and rainfall.
When it comes to steps, actually these work best on a slope that is not too steep. It is because steep slope can be difficult to climb. You can still install steps, but it is exhausting to ascend the slope. So it is better to have steps on a narrow slope.
However, the installation needs a lot of work. It is recommended to get some help from a professional landscaper.
If you want to get some ideas about landscape steps on a slope, here are some pictures that you can mimic and get inspiration from. Ask your landscaper’s advice to determine which pavers that would suit your garden.
- Natural Landscape Steps on a Green Foliage Slope
- Peaceful Walking Garden with Landscape Steps on a Slope
- Gradual Stone Steps Landscape on a Wide Slope
- Contemporary Landscape with Rock Steps on a Steep Slope
- Japanese Style Landscape with Stained Cedar Steps on a Pebbled Slope
- Modern Shade Landscape on a Hillside Slope
- Mountainside Living with A Few Stone Steps to the Raised Planters on a Slope Landscape
- Peastone Steps Landscape Down a Steep Slope
- Combination of Wood and Stone Steps Landscape to Conquer Steep Slope
- Stone Steps and Perennial Garden Landscape on a Hillside Slope
- Grass Steps as the Central Element in a Layered Slope Landscape
- Ideas for Tropical Hillside Slope with Stone Steps Landscape
- Mediterranean Hillside Slope Landscaping with Colonial Steppers Stone Steps
- Boulder Stepping Stones Perched on a Hillside Slope Landscape
- Inspiration for a Stylish Slope Landscape with Bluestone Steps
1. Natural Landscape Steps on a Green Foliage Slope
This stunning home does have a beautiful landscaping. Living in a hilly area is actually an advantage to build a handsome garden like this. To overcome the slope, there are steps, treads, and pavers. They are accentuated by green foliages and planters sandwiching the steps, and there are shaped bushes too.
The veneer here is made out of New England Fieldstone. It looks perfect when combined with the steps, paver, and treads. Those are made out of bluestone. This is an ideal example for a traditional bright sunny backyard with stone garden path.
2. Peaceful Walking Garden with Landscape Steps on a Slope
When you look at this garden, the first word that comes to your mind must be “peaceful”. This is indeed a “Shanti” garden, and “Shanti” means “peace” in Sanskrit. This Shanti garden features series of lush and several “rooms”, though all of them are not visible through this angle.
However, you should know that each room in this garden has its own unique sensation. Some of the rooms are beautiful butterfly garden and a formal walking garden.
In this picture, you see a formal walking garden with natural stone steps. It really looks relaxing. It is punctuated with elegant planting and superb stonework. Instead of mowed grass, you can find perennials, flowering shrubs, grasses, and uncommon yet striking annual plants. This garden provides many ideas for a modern sunny stone landscaping, perfect for summer.
FYI, the soil was amended through the all planting area, so it is not replaced entirely. It creates a lovely movement design with a sense of calm.
3. Gradual Stone Steps Landscape on a Wide Slope
This traditional hillside stone garden landscaping features gradual stone steps. It is hard to see from this angle, but those steps lead to the back patio in the backyard, next to the pool.
The steps are made out of bluestone, the kind of stone that provides stability, especially with freeze cycles.
The slope is not too steep here, but it provides a little climbing steps toward the patio. Some of the plants you see here are Russian Sage, Euphorbia Rigida, and young English Lavender. The stone steps transition from the deck. The path is level with patio and then later descending down he hill.
4. Contemporary Landscape with Rock Steps on a Steep Slope
Ever want to have a walkable ground cover? You should see this beautiful garden.
This contemporary landscaping features natural stone steps on a steel slope. The slope here is hilly. But instead of building a retaining wall, the designer and the homeowner decided to build a garden with ascending stone steps.
There are bushes too to help absorb the water when the rain falls, so the soil will stay in place.
The ground cover is a common thyme. To be exact, it is an Elfin Thyme. It does well in almost any place with plentiful irrigation. There are many choices of ground cover if you don’t like thymes.
Make sure first that the ground cover you choose is suitable for high traffic. You can find out which ground covers that are stepable in stepables.com.
5. Japanese Style Landscape with Stained Cedar Steps on a Pebbled Slope
This Japanese style landscaping is located on a hillside. So the steep slope is quite a problem here. However, the designer decided to create a gravel garden path to stabilize the soil and the ground.
The focal point is, of course, the Japanese garden grass, Hakonechloa Macra. It is in thecenter of this picture.
There are evergreens and grasses to help absorb the water. The rocks are spread here and there to accentuate the look. To keep the rocks separate from the bed, the designer used some sort of edging. In this case, it is a flexible metal edge.
The Japanese accent here is, of course, the wood steps. The steps stained cedar. Fo the riser, the dimension is 2×6, and for the steps, it is 2×12. They are boxed out.
Around the steps, the ground was covered by some pebbles. There is no detailed information about the material used. However, if you want to mimic this design, you can use Baker Large Glass Subway Tile in Silver by Tile Generation or Blue Pearl Granite Tiles in 4”x4” with Polished Finish by Stone & Tile Shoppe, Inc.
6. Modern Shade Landscape on a Hillside Slope
This is a nice example for a modern and stylish shade hillside. As you see in this picture, the slope is quite steep.
To help stabilize the garden and the hill, the designer used the concrete treads. They were poured in place. It turns out that the this way is not only helpful but also beautiful too for the the garden.
The steps are, of course, made out of concrete. This may be the loveliest steep slope treatment. The steps are sandwiched by grass and planters.
If you don’t really like using grass, you can use artificial decorative Moss Ball Faux Botanicals by A&B Home instead.
The ground cover here is called Baby’s Tears, or Soleirolia soleirolii. The tree you see here is Cycas revoluta. Along with the other evergreens, the ground cover and the tree help this hillside garden look even more stunning.
7. Mountainside Living with A Few Stone Steps to the Raised Planters on a Slope Landscape
FYI, this beautiful landscape has won an award for Landscape Excellence Winner Category: Hardscaping-Residential. No wonder, this garden looks stunning located on a mountain side with sloping wooded property.
In this yard at the rear of the house, there are several areas. They are used to unwind and chills on the weekends and in the evenings, for family and friends.
The designer designed this outdoor ares to meet the desires and requirements of the home owners. When you walk through this garden, you can see a beautiful valley view, which is impossible to see through this angle.
The stairway of natural cut stone lead to a landscaped garden, that later opens to the living area patio.
The raised planters and the conservatory are a perfect area where the family members can read enjoy some down time. This area is surrounded by colorful planters to deliver a color as well as silhouette on a gray sky. Overall, this is an ideal traditional sunny backyard with vegetable garden.
8. Peastone Steps Landscape Down a Steep Slope
This is a perfect place if you want to relax yourself with some greeneries and the sound of water.
This tranquil garden features a Corten steel handrill that follows the peadstone. The steep also follows the steep slope and later pours into a round basing. It empties into a channel curving through the narrow back garden. Finally, it ends in a boulder fountain.
The whole water feature is two recirculating systems. In the back of this picture, is the upper stream. It is approximately 60’ long. In the water basin, there is a water pump to carry the water back to the top. The second system is the stream in the foreground. it has a second pump that is useful to recirculate the water. This foreground stream is approximately 30’ long.
You see the tall pines on this property. The steel structure is propped up by concrete tubes to minimize the pines’ root disturbance. This garden is an ideal contemporary bright backyard with stone water fountain landscape. The steps you see here are made out of bluestone.
9. Combination of Wood and Stone Steps Landscape to Conquer Steep Slope
Do you want to install an eclectic garden in your yard? You can imitate this look. This garden features wood steps completed with gravel and boulders.
If you ever wonder how Ross NW Water Garden ovecomes the steep slopes, the answer is here.
This backyard is located in an almost all-steep slope. In order to create the winding pathways and make this space walkable, the designer used wood timbers and stones.
To keep the steps stay in place, the designer also used boulders. The boulders are also meant to retain the slope and stabilize the hill. This way, you don’t need a proper retaining wall again.
The black sand on the ground is not actually a sand. It is basically gravel. In the Pacific Northwest where this property is situated, it is called “1/4 minus”. It looks compacted very well, thanks to the ground up basalt with many fines.
10. Stone Steps and Perennial Garden Landscape on a Hillside Slope
This area is actually a part of a green roof and a pool house. This small garden features blooming perennials, stone steps, and bluestone patios. It delivers a perfect design for traditional steep slope landscaping.
The beautiful stone steps are made out of stone slabs. To be exact, they are natural cleft Dakota Stone Slabs. The designer purchased this through Wheeler Zamaroni Supply in Santa Rosa, CA. It presents the finest looking of Dakota Stone Slabs installation.
The stone slabs steps are combined with the low retaining wall. The wall is a native Serpentine. Unfortunately, it is not commercially available. The ground cover you see here is a variety of creeping Raspberry. It is Rubus calycinoides
11. Grass Steps as the Central Element in a Layered Slope Landscape
You may have already seen too many natural stone steps in a garden. But grass steps are something that you may not usually see. And in this picture, you can see that these beautiful grass steps are the centra element in this layered steep landscape. This is a mid-sized contemporary sunny backyard garden. It looks even more beautiful during the fall.
The first question that may pop up in your mind is, how could I construct these artsy steps? How does the grass stay in place? Well, you should know that the grass used here is a Korean grass, or Zoysia tenuifolia. To make it stay in place, the designer used a custom set of steel risers to plant the grass.
Korean grass doesn’t need mowing. So you don’t have to worry about the maintenance. In face, this kind of grass is considered low maintenance. Yes, it needs sun, but it only needs a moderate amount of water. It is good for a light traffic garden. Sometimes this grass gets a little brown, but it doesn’t die as long as you give it the proper care.
12. Ideas for Tropical Hillside Slope with Stone Steps Landscape
If you want to build a garden on a steep slope with a tropical design, you can use this picture for your inspiration. It features a large bush with white flowers as the center point. But don’t forget the beautiful steps too.
The steps here are made out of Florida keystone. And since this garden is located in Miami, it can be purchased locally. The retaining wall material is also a local product too. It is made out of South Florida Oolite Blocks. Both create a pretty tropical style. All of them were purchased through general contractor by Larry’s Cap Rock, Homestead, Florida.
The handsome bush with white flowers as the center piece of this picture is actually Bougainvillea that is also known as “Miss Alice”. It goes by other names too, like Moonlight and Singapore White. This bush is a semi-thornless, semi-dwarf, giant-bract variety. The red flowers behind it comes from Red Bougainvillea.
13. Mediterranean Hillside Slope Landscaping with Colonial Steppers Stone Steps
This garden delivers a beautiful view. It is an inspiration for a mediterranean slope landscaping. It features boulders and natural stone steps. The stone steps are called “Colonial Steppers” in the area of where this property is located. However, the name may vary from vendor to vendor and quarry to quarry.
When it comes to dimensions, the steps are roughly 4-5’ width, while the landing tread for the foot is roughly 1” in width. And for the height, the steps don’t have the exact dimension because hey are natural stone. The height range from 6” to 8”. The steps are interposed between the boulders in each side.
The upright juniper that you see here are “Degroot’s Spire” Arbovitae. And for the plant between the boulders, it is Liriope, completed with a little “Hamlin” Miscanthus spread around.
14. Boulder Stepping Stones Perched on a Hillside Slope Landscape
This attractive garden is situated on a hillside, so you can see the slope here. In this picture, this is a backyard. The homeowners decided to have a backyard that took benefit of the stellar views around the farmland.
The retaining walls here are masonry. They match perfectly with the bricks in the house’s exterior. The whole landscaping completes the vistas. The gravel landscape makes the whole look more modern. This is such perfect inspiration for a large traditional backyard.
Beside the pool, you see the beautiful water feature. It has multiple falls that pour into a deep wading pool right below it. In front of the water feature, there is a concrete patio that spreads over the water. Therefore, it delivers a seamless transition. And right across the top pool, there are boulder stepping stones that keep up with the path to the upper part of the patio.
15. Inspiration for a Stylish Slope Landscape with Bluestone Steps
The steep slope that you see in this picture can be stabilized as well as beautified by the bluestone steps. Those steps were designed to descend the steep slope. On the even ground, the stepping stones are changed into circular shape, and they blend harmoniously with the rectangular-shaped bluestone above.
There is retaining wall right beside the steps. The wall is made out wood and it looks a lot more like picket fence instead of a wall. That provides a traditional look for this garden.
A more level area here is draped in strawberries. You should know that strawberries combined with bunch of grasses will provide a great ground cover.
If you live in a sunny area, you can combine beach strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) with blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens), like you can see in this picture. For a dappled or shaded areas, you can use a combination of wild straweberry (Fragaria vesca) and Idaho blue fescue (Festuca idahoensis).
From the pictures above, you see that installing steps are sometimes insufficient. You have to combine them with planting evergreens or trees, installing a water feature, building a deck, or building up tiers of walls. It is not only functional but also aesthetic.
However, nothing is more important than planting the plants on your slope. You may install your steps without a water feature, building a deck, or building up retaining walls. But you cannot leave your steps without some plants. They types of plants you opt will not only depend on your preference, but also the characteristics of your area. Here are some tips to choose the best plants:
- Deep rooted plants can stabilize soil. Trees like this can add dimension in your garden as well as shade the whole area.
- Turf grass can be a great choice, but it needs high maintenance. It needs to be mowed regularly and it requires a lot of water.
- For a better option, you may want to combine several different types of plants that are not sensitive to wind and drought and have huge branching root areas to harbor them to the incline.
- For a low maintenance choice, here are some plants recommendations on the slope that produce very little mess so you don’t have to clean up regularly: Siberian Carpet Cypress, Snowberry, Dwarf Forsythia, Creeping Juniper, Caliifornia Lilac, Japanese Yes, Fragrant Sumac, and Burning Bush.
- For the ground cover, here are some best plants that can prevent erosion and add some texture and colors to your landscape: English Ivy, Cotoneaster, Rockrose, Creeping Myoporum, Vinca, Dwarf Coyote Bush, and Prostrate Rosemary Dwarf.
- For the shady locations, you can choose: Kinnikinnik, Beach Strawberry, Vinca, and Japanese Pachysandra.
- If you want some ornamental grasses that can add more color and dimensions to your yard, you can choose Canada Wildrye, Switchgrass, Little Bluestren, and Red Fescue.
- For hillside flowers, here are some best ornamental perennials: Russian Sage, Coneflower, Spring Bulbs, Roses, Deadnettle, Daylilis, and Violets.