Landscaping a hillside can be challenging, especially when the goal is to create a visually appealing outdoor space that doesn’t require constant care. However, if your Californian property contains a steep-cut backyard slope, this can also be an opportunity to create a striking hillside view that’s beautiful and easy to maintain.

At Lyngso, we understand the complexities of low-maintenance hillside landscaping, especially if you factor in additional considerations such as aesthetic appeal and budget-friendliness. To help you on your journey, we’ve compiled this guide focusing on low-maintenance ideas to achieve a hillside landscape that’s both beautiful and requires minimal intervention.

Pro Tip:

In California, sandstone, quartzite or granite are particularly well-suited for retaining walls and terraces due to their aesthetics and availability.

Two Considerations When Planning Your Hillside Landscape Design

1. Evaluating the Slope

Successful hillside landscaping requires careful planning with two primary objectives: combating soil erosion and ensuring a pleasing aesthetic. Therefore, choosing the right plants, materials, and soil stabilization methods is key.

First, when planning a hillside landscape, you must assess the incline’s steepness and stability. Steeper slopes may require particular elements like terraces or retaining walls to prevent soil erosion. Observing how water flows down the hill during heavy rainfall is a great way to evaluate your requirements, for example, where to place drought-resistant plants, incorporate elements like French drains to channel water away from vulnerable areas, or install erosion control systems.

2. Analyzing the Soil

Understanding the specifics of your soil type is essential, as managing soil erosion is key to the success of your hillside landscaping project. Based on the nature of your soil, you might want to consider strategies such as:

  • Adding mulches to bare areas to reduce surface runoff
  • Planting appropriate plants that help stabilize slopes
  • Incorporating terracing for better water flow management and reducing soil loss
  • Using erosion control fabrics to stabilize the soil, especially if you are dealing with a steep slope

Popular Options for Low-Maintenance Landscape Materials

3 Low-Maintenance Hillside Landscaping Ideas

Idea 1: Utilize a Dry Stack Retaining Wall Made of Natural Stone

Dry stack retaining walls make fantastic hardscaping elements if you are looking for an affordable, low-maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing option. These sturdy and durable structures made from stacked stone help prevent soil erosion by holding back soil on a slope, creating flat areas behind it.

Their inherent durability minimizes the need for repairs, making them a cost-effective choice over time. Moreover, natural stone retaining walls blend seamlessly with most Californian outdoor environments. You can learn how to build one yourself and discover the different materials and options available in our expert guide here.

Idea 2: Terracing With Natural Stone

Natural stone terraces can add another layer of functionality and aesthetic appeal to your outdoor space by creating usable flat areas on sloping terrain while preventing soil erosion. It’s crucial to remember that each level of your stone-tiered hillside garden will require a retaining wall to secure it in place, ensuring the stability and longevity of the structure.

The potential size and design of the terraces will ultimately depend on the specific characteristics of your outdoor space, such as its size and the steepness of the slope. Still, even a few terraces are a fantastic platform for showcasing your landscaping creativity.

Idea 3: Make Use of Native Plants

Selecting the right plants is fundamental to any hillside landscaping project. Consider native plants that are accustomed to your area’s Californian climate and soil conditions, as these species typically require less maintenance and water. As a rule of thumb, native shrubs and groundcover are great low-maintenance options for a hillside while also helping stabilize the soil and add some color.


Final Thoughts

Low-maintenance hillside landscaping might seem challenging at first; however, it’s a great chance to create something truly beautiful and enduring. It also presents a fantastic opportunity to showcase your landscaping creativity. Moreover, using natural stone for your hillside landscape fits perfectly with California’s outdoors, making your space look amazing and natural.

At Lyngso, you will find everything you need to create a low-maintenance hillside landscape that suits your style and budget, from natural stone to mulches, tools, and more. Visit our extensive showroom and landscaping yard in San Carlos for inspiration and advice, and contact us today to learn about delivery options for your SF Bay area home.