Our Landscaping Blog

Advice, tips and tricks from industry professionals

How to Make a Slope in your Backyard Usable & Beautiful

In Atlanta it is very common to have a yard that has a slope somewhere on the property, whether it is on the side of your house or in your backyard due to Georgia’s natural terrain. These areas are often unusable and that makes them a wasted area on your property. With home and land prices as high as they are today, you want to be able to use every spot on your property. We enjoy taking unusable slopes and turning them into usable spaces that accentuate properties at MyLandscaper.com.

One of the first things that every slope needs is a new set of stone stairs. Straight concrete poured stairs are boring. If you are working with me to accentuate your slope, I am going to recommend using Tennessee Crab Orchard stone stair treads that make instant staircases in your landscape or another type of attractive stone. Each one weighs close to two hundred pounds, so let us worry about moving them into place.

I think sexy staircases in the landscape should have natural curves in them like we would find in a stone outcropping in nature, rarely is anything perfectly straight in nature. Long spans should have flat landing areas built in that are often six to ten feet long made of the same stone treads, then the stairs can resume until the bottom of the slope is instigated. With a nice natural “S” curve built into your stone stair tread design, your slope will now be easily navigated and aesthetically pleasing to look at as well.

It is important to plan large to medium boulders or other means to keep the soil off the stairs on either side, depending on how your slope is naturally created. We can help you with that, creating natural terraced areas on both sides of the stairs for level planting and for making the space usable. We always like to bring flowering trees, shrubs and perennials into sloped areas turning them into bee, bird and butterfly magnets. Adding drip irrigation and mulch into the sloped beds will turn your once ugly slope into a feature point of your yard that is green and beautiful year round.

On my own sloped terrace in my yard, I have included several perennial lantana bushes to attract butterflies. A purple flowering Vitex, Shoal Creek Chaste Tree, for June blooms that is a magnet for many types of pollinators and over twenty types of bees here in Atlanta as well. In the spring, hundreds of daffodils reappear bigger and better every March. I have mixed them with pink and purple Darwin hybrid tulips that are perennial in Atlanta unlike most tulips that only bloom one season. This mixture gives me plenty of spring and summer blooms on my terraced slope, with a beautiful S curved stone staircase that splits the slope down the middle and forms the entry from my driveway into my backyard.

I am a fanatic for arbors, both metal and wood. I believe every yard should have one or even many arbors. I like to see an arbor at every entry and exit in a yard that I design for drama. In Atlanta, there are many types of climbing, flowering vines that can be trained on a sturdy arbor that thrive in Zone 7. At the top of my slope, I have an entry arbor that begins my stone staircase into my backyard.

In April, around Easter of each year, Amethyst Falls wisteria blooms in brilliant small lilac cones that smell heavenly, intertwined with salmon color trumpet vine that blooms simultaneously on an antique metal arbor at the top of my slope. The mixture is a magnet for the early arriving Rufous hummingbirds migrating back from Mexico into Atlanta each spring. This is such a great way to use a slope, if you are interested in letting me design your slope, give me a call 404-999 -YARD.

I enjoy selecting boulders for slope projects. Picking them out is a serious project for me as I like to find ones that are covered in natural lichen and other types of moss that make them appear naturally aged and striking in your landscape. The boulders can be used as makeshift walls together, that create natural terraces for planting and for supporting trees in your slope. Large ornamental grasses can be used as focal points or in groupings to help hold the slope as they have tremendous root systems that help protect against erosion. Together, small trees and grasses give interest to your slope and help stabilize the soil.

At the bottom of your slope and in terraced sections of your slope on either side of your stone stairs, many types of retaining walls are useful in holding up the soil, making it into leveled areas for planting and walking. Adding boulder retaining walls into your slope, or even adding formal stacked paver retaining walls at the bottom or in sections can turn an unusable slope into terraced raised garden or a cottage garden to attract pollinators.

We are experts at adding retaining walls to slopes to make them usable spaces. If you would like a landscape design consultation, please give us a call at 404-999-YARD.

When we bought our house twelve years ago, the slope off my driveway was covered in creeping evergreen junipers that had taken over. Although they were doing a nice job of holding the soil, the slope was useless and there was no way to enter the backyard right off my driveway into the backyard.

Now my slope is beautiful in all four seasons. There is a gorgeous stone staircase that ages with each passing season that I have probably personally traversed 10,000 times since we installed it. There are blooms in each season and when I go outside and stand on the stone stairs, I see lizards basking in the sun, Tiger Swallowtail butterflies, hummingbirds, honey bees, and more birds than I can count enjoying the slope too. What was once a useless slope, is now an entry into our restful haven and a welcoming butterfly garden into my backyard. I love it. We love building wildlife friendly backyards at MyLandscaper.com, it’s what we do.

If you have a slope in your backyard that needs stone stairs and terraced retaining walls to allow for planting, please give us a call. Turning slopes into focal points in yards is one of our favorite projects.

We give slopes hope!

Our Service Area

We have worked with many clients around the metro Atlanta area. We have happy customers in cities like Kennesaw, Marietta, East Cobb, Acworth, Alpharetta, Milton, Cumming, Roswell, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Vinings, and Canton. 


Contact us today for an initial consultation.

Get In Touch


404-999-YARD (9273)

Quick Contact Form