How To Landscape A Hill On A Budget
When you have a hill on your property that’s difficult or impossible to mow, the right landscaping can be the perfect solution. Landscaping a hill doesn’t have to break your budget when you choose native plants that resist pest and disease. Native plants also don’t require supplemental watering or fertilizer because they’re accustomed to the Connecticut conditions. By landscaping your hill properly, you prevent soil erosion while eliminating the need for mowing or string-trimming.
Select the right plants
Choose plants for your hillside landscaping that are low-maintenance. Select native shrubs, trees, grasses, ground covers and perennials that thrive in the existing conditions of the hill. This way, you don’t have to invest money replacing them if they fail. Adding wildflowers is a pretty, inexpensive way to add a natural look. Limit your selections to a handful of varieties to stay within budget.
Create a pathway
Create a horizontal pathway that allows you to move through the plantings without causing erosion. Use stepping stones for a casual path. For a path you plan on using more often, use stone, pavers or bricks for a sturdier path. On especially steep hills, you may need to create a stairway. Solid cinder blocks set securely into the hill as steps can provide an affordable alternative to more expensive stairways.
Arrange plants in accordance with the conditions of the slope. Sun-loving plants belong on the southern and western areas of the hill. The northern and eastern sides of the hill are the ideal spot for plants that require more shade and cooler conditions. Plant that require wetter roots belong at the bottom to absorb water runoff. Dryer root plants grow better at the top of the hill.
Planting larger trees and shrubs on a slope require terracing. Otherwise they appear awkward growing sideways out of the hill. Flatten an area slightly larger than the root ball of the plants and trees and dig holes perpendicular to the ground to ensure the roots grow the proper direction. These mini-terraces provide the perfect setting for vertically oriented trees and plants.
To direct water properly so it saturates roots instead of running down the hill, use your hands to mold soil ridges around plant bases.
Groundcover and annuals
If you want to fill in gaps between shrubs, trees and perennials, use groundcovers and annual plants. Adding these plants can prevent soil erosion when you place them directly into the hill’s side. To save money, choose a groundcover that spreads quickly. You can also stay budget-friendly by scattering wildflower seeds heavily along the hillside.
Drip irrigation is best for watering as you won’t have to walk on the hill to water. If a drip irrigation system isn’t in your budget, water plants so they receive 1 inch of water a week until established. Plants can take 1-3 years depending on their type.
Consulting a lawn care professional with knowledge of the New Haven area is the best place to start when landscaping a hill.