Steep Slope Landscaping

The magnificence of a well designed hillside landscape can make a backyard sing, but as homes are being developed into the beautiful hills and landscapes of Southern California, many find that the steep elevations of sloping back yards are a challenge.



They loved the house but when the new homeowners took over they were faced with a situation which happens all too often in our hilly San Diego area.  The backyard was spacious, in a great neighborhood and the lot was quite large, but the landscape was a disaster, including a back slope overgrown with invasive volunteer plants (weeds).  It looked as though it would be a maintenance nightmare.

This was the perfect time and place to rediscover the wisdom of nature.  California native plants are perfect for sloping hillsides for many reasons, not the least of which is that when they are carefully selected they provide beauty in the landscape year round, they stabilize slopes and they reduce water usage.


Unlike the recently popular hillside plantings of red apple or similar groundcovers, California native plants have a symbiotic relationship in which a mycorrhizal mat forms within the soil binding plants together and stabilizing the soil within the entire plant community.  The steepest hills in the back country covered with native plants show very little run off even in heavy rains.

Using the advanced technology of MP rotator sprinkler heads, the mature native landscape is usually watered lightly twice a month to wash off the leaves of the plants and to moisten the mulch.


This steep slope landscaping is now planted with beautiful California native plants which will assure stabilization and provide beautiful seasonal color and texture.  The plants have differing bloom cycles which provide color and variation year round.  The homeowners also will benefit from its attraction to native birds and butterflies.

Plants and hardscape work hand in hand in this striking backyard landscape.  The complete renovation presents a strong architectural design statement while still creating a serene and refined living space.  Both setting and plants are controlled; each item selected to play its part for the overall design.  The backyard uses simple, natural materials made interesting by varying textures and hues.


Taking advantage of the slope, the viewer’s eyes are immediately drawn to a striking natural rock water feature spilling down the hill into the swimming pool.  A petrified rock log accents the waterway and the same stone is repeated across the patio at the base of the hill in the succulent garden.  The redesigned and refurbished pool and a masonry retaining wall create the transition from the native slope to the thoroughly modern diagonal lines of the patio.  It is as if the home backs up to the beauty of nature providing a sense ease and relaxation.