Ideas for terraced gardens: Design, key elements and ideas

Sunken gardens can have a lot of personality

Especially in mountainous areas, it is very common that land for sale or already built is on a slope. Although they are not very attractive at first sight, with good design and decoration they can be truly spectacular. To help you beautify sloping land, we are going to give you some terrace garden ideas.

It should be noted that sloping land gives a lot of play in decorating and designing our space. Thanks to a good combination of key elements for this type of garden, original ideas and imagination we can get a garden with lots of personality and charm.


terraced gardens

For sloping gardens, a tilt study is necessary

Before listing some ideas for terraced gardens, let’s talk a bit about this type of land. The design of a garden can become quite laborious, since it is not only a question of choosing the plants which will be there, but it is also essential to properly analyze the conditions and characteristics of the terrain in question. In the case of having a sloping terrain, we will face a considerable challenge. However, sloping gardens have certain advantages:

  • More opportunities to play with colors, shapes and textures. With a little imagination you can give it a very original touch.
  • Spaces seem larger.
  • A well-designed terraced garden can have a lot of personality.

Tilt-based design

Before we start removing soil and turning over the land, we must first know exactly which garden design is most appropriate for our particular plot. For this, a study on its inclination is necessary. The best thing to do for this task is to go to a landscaper for advice. Depending on the percentage of inclination, we will need specific techniques or even none:

  • Land with a slope of approximately 3%: It does not require any particular type of treatment.
  • Land with a slope of up to 10%: An erosion control system is required.
  • Terrain slope greater than 10%: More specific techniques are required.

Usually, The solutions usually given to sloping land are rock gardens, terraces and even maintaining the natural slope. This type of design for terraced gardens can be combined with other elements such as stairs or paths that help to circulate through the land without too many problems. In addition, we can mark certain points of interest in our outdoor space with them.

4 key elements for terrace gardens

The rockery is a good idea for terrace gardens

There are many options to take advantage of fairly steep terrain. Before the ideas of terraced gardens, we will comment four elements that are essential to this type of terrain and make it much more attractive. There are usually a total of four very common design elements that provide additional ambience, thus providing a wider effect of the space. They are:

  1. slopes
  2. terraces
  3. Roads
  4. rock garden

When you include any of these four elements in sloping terrain, First, the conditions and characteristics of the terrain in question must be carefully studied. This is the only way to make the best decision when designing and decorating a terrace garden.


What is a slope? It is the accumulation of rocks and pieces of rock in the basins. If the land in question has natural slopes, its design becomes quite complicated, because they are constantly being eroded by irrigation and rain. Indeed, due to the slope of the land, the water runs off and ends up wearing down the soil.

For this element, we have two possible solutions. One of them is to surround the slope with plants whose roots are large, such as agave, ivy or honeysuckle. The other option we have is to use a drip irrigation system in the garden. This system is localized, that is, it is found specifically in the plant, so that not all of the soil is moistened.


One of the best potions for sloping terrain is undoubtedly terraces. Thanks to them, we get two or even more environments in one. This is how they provide us with various points of interest in our garden which are extremely attractive.

To decorate them, a good idea is to place a carpet of grass or artificial grass in an area of ​​the garden. Also incorporating some stairs to generate a nice route is a fantastic option. Of course, we have plenty of play and freedom to let our imaginations run wild.


As we have already mentioned above, paths like stairs are essential in sloping gardens, because they considerably facilitate the possibility of moving around the terrain in a comfortable and simple way. However, these elements not only perform a practical function, but are also aesthetically important. Steps, for example, can be placed in different shapes, sizes and materials. It will depend on the style we want to implement in our garden.

rock garden

For a terrace garden, one of the most impressive solutions is the rock garden. Since it is mostly made up of rocks, It gives a lot of visual interest and personality to our garden. If you decide to place rockery on your land, it will surely not go unnoticed.

Related article:

How to Maintain a Garden Rockery

Note that it is not necessary that the ground be rocky to be able to acquire a rockery. We can just place the stones on the ground and arranging them as you wish is not very complicated.

As for the plants for this element, the most suitable are those whose growth is slow. In addition, it is advisable not to abuse the amount of vegetables. In the rock garden, it is common for plants to grow between the stones. Therefore, we must be aware of the appearance of the grass other than the one we planted.

6 terrace garden ideas

Stairs are essential for terraced gardens

Now it’s time to talk about sloping garden ideas. We are clear on the key elements for a sloping ground, but now we will see how to beautify it and take advantage of it. We will list a total of six Idea, among which we can choose the ones we prefer for our case:

  1. cover the walls: We can cover uneven walls with green walls, plants, vertical gardens or a colored fence.
  2. Same plants: Create small levels, like steps, with one type of plant in each. These can be transitional levels to reach an area of ​​interest at a larger level, such as a barbecue, swimming pool, etc.
  3. Create mini landscapes: If we have a staircase or a steep path that takes us from one place to another in our garden, we can take advantage of the unevenness to create different squares with retaining walls and create small landscapes, combining plants with stones, for example.
  4. Water: Taking advantage of the unevenness, we could consider creating a small pond with a waterfall in a place in the garden. Not only would it be extremely appealing, but the sound of water provides tranquility.
  5. Slides: Especially if we have young children at home, placing slides to go from one ladder to another can be a lot of fun even for adults. Of course, we must not forget to also place a ladder nearby to climb back up.
  6. ivy sea: Similar to the first point of sheathing the walls, we can also create an ivy blanket on the sides of a staircase. The objective is that the change in level is not perceived as if it were a step, but as a green slope covered with leaves.

Garden at different scales

Surely you have seen a house on very sloping ground more than once. In such cases, the most common design is that of different scales. Some retaining walls are created to prevent the earth from falling down the slope. Seen from a distance, it looks like a staircase with huge steps. A priori it is not a very beautiful design, but it can be.

Obviously stairs will be necessary to be able to pass from one ladder to another. We must therefore first decide if we want them on one side, in the middle or in a zigzag, for example. Now, what do we do with so many different scales? A widely used idea is to create different environments and even gardens. At each scale we can make a type of characteristic garden either by the style, or by the vegetables, or by what comes to mind. Another option is to make barbecue areas, a swimming pool or a track for sports. There really are endless possibilities. In order to further differentiate the atmospheres, you can also play with the type of floor of each one.

It is also very common to use ladders to create different orchards. It is a convenient way to pick vegetables with similar care and characteristics and control them all in a very comfortable way.

I hope this article has inspired you to design your future garden on the sloping ground, or change the one you already have. As you can see, there are many ideas for sloping gardens, it all depends on the level of inclination of the land, the space available and our tastes. You can leave us your experiences and ideas in the comments.

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