Do you have a slope in your landscape that you just don’t quite know what to do with? Numerous Tulsa residents find themselves with this type of landscape design problem because so many Tulsa homes were built on the area’s beautiful hillsides. These steep hillside slopes can be rather tricky to garden, but it’s important to landscape these areas to prevent costly and possibly even dangerous erosion and drainage problems. What are some ways to landscape slopes to prevent these problems?
Make some walls.
Erosion occurs as surface runoff moves downhill taking with it loose soil. The faster the water flows down a slope, the more soil it can take with it. Thus, to effectively control erosion, the rate at which water flows downhill must be decreased, and yet still allow for drainage. Carefully constructed retaining walls and terraces can be very effective at preventing soil erosion and flooding. Retaining walls can be constructed using a variety of decorative hardscape materials such as natural stones, concrete, interlocking blocks, wood, brick, or cinder blocks. Because of their decorative appearance, retaining walls can add dimension and character to your landscape. They can be textured and aged or smooth and symmetrical, adding a decorative architecture and organization to the landscape while holding back an embankment and creating level areas of land.
However, retaining walls must be properly built so they can withstand the pressure of weather, time, and other natural elements. These retaining walls must also complement your property’s drainage and irrigation system to be effective. Several shorter terraces are often more effective than one or two larger segments because the more gradual the slope, the less of a chance there is for runoff.
Put nature to work.
Use woody shrubs and trees that have a deep network of roots to help bind the various layers of soil together. Over time or through construction, these soil layers can become weak and less cohesive. Thus, plants with a strong root system can help keep the soil layers intact and slow water runoff. Hardy, drought-resistant plants like succulents, groundcovers, and native plants that flourish in Oklahoma will help reduce erosion and even weeds. These plants are also usually more low-maintenance plants, providing easy care for your landscape.
Rocks and boulders provide another decorative means of slowing the flow of water down a slope. Add native plants or shrubs behind these stone hardscapes and you’ll create a beautifully natural landscape. Make sure boulders are firmly packed into the soil.
Steps that stabilize.
Meandering steps can be used to guide guests up what would otherwise be a difficult slope. You could build a series of steps in a winding or zigzag pattern that adds character and charm to the hillside. Plant colorful shrubs or groundcover alongside the curving stairway to create even more interest and help prevent surface runoff.
Use Water to the Full
While surface runoff can cause much erosion damage, you can work with the water by diverting it through a stream, waterfall, or other water feature along a shallow slope. Fill in the stream with rocks and you have a natural creek bed. Thus, your babbling brook can safely allow water to flow downstream and create another visual interest piece for your landscape.
Because of the delicate nature of slopes, soil, and their proper drainage patterns, it’s often good to seek the advice of professional landscape designers before making any major adjustments to your slope or hillside. The Tulsa landscape designers at Oklahoma Landscape will be happy to help you correct or prevent drainage and erosion issues by properly landscaping your hillside or slope.
We offer a complete range of landscape architecture, drainage, irrigation, and hardscape services to help you “find yourself outside” in your beautiful and engaging landscape.