Sloped garden design ideas

5 design ideas for sloped gardens

Gradients can offer an opportunity to add visual interest

By Hugh Metcalf | 30 July 2021

A gradient may seem like a challenge to landscape, but these sloped garden ideas show how creative landscaping, structural work and planting can deliver an impactful outdoor space.

‘A slope can be an opportunity to create visual interest in the level changes,’ says James Scott, MD of The Garden Company. ‘A flight of steps can meander and lead to a feature on the upper level rather than just running straight up and down, while vertical spaces between the levels can be used for a water feature or a piece of art as well as planting.’

Here are five ways to celebrate the gradient.

1. Biophilic stairs

The upper level of this garden in Primrose Hill, north London, already had a well established semi-exotic scheme. To complement a new basement extension by Ben Adams Architects, FFLO drew the qualities of this planting down the sloping garden and into view from the new floor below. Plants weave through the slatted laser-cut Corten steel stairs. In front of the slope is a brushed-concrete terrace, and the retaining walls on either side consist of board-marked and bush-hammered concrete.

sloped garden with metal floating steps - home improvements - grand designs

Plants weave through the Corten steel stairs. Photo: Joe Sanders

2. Textured tiers

This large self-build project in Richmond, south west London, which featured on Grand Designs in 2018, saw homeowners work with Landart UK on a sloped garden design with hypoallergenic qualities. The family has an array of allergies, including asthma. The tiered planting scheme includes plants pollinated by insects rather than wind, such as hydrangea and lavender, to keep airborne pollen to a minimum. Interest is added with textures of stone, and logs for the Ecodesign woodburner.

garden on a gradient with stairs and planters - home improvements - grand designs

Plants pollinated by insects rather than wind keep airborne pollen to a minimum. Photo: David Giles