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Slope Planting With Evergreens Or Grass

There are many ways to plant on a slope. Evergreens are the most popular method to fill in that steep terrain. However, it's possible to cover a bank with grass. First, let Herbee give you some tricks about landscaping that hillside with plants.

Erosion On Bank

The first step, of course, is prepping. Are there any erosion problems? Are there cracks in your ground? If there are cracks, the best way to address the issue is to fill the cracks in with dirt or top soil. A tiller isn't going to work to well on a steep hillside.

Raking and removing any rocks and debris will help when you go to plant. Whether you have erosion areas will determine if you need commercial landscaping fabric for erosion control. Jute is a great choice. It is made of burlap fibers and and will help hold the soil in place.

Herbee highly recommends it on major slopes. It's heavy. You may need a couple of people to carry it. Roll it out lengthwise and put landscape stakes through the gaps to hold the jute in place. Put the jute down first before you start to plant. Jute is available at many landscape supply stores.

Once the jute is down, keep your plants in their containers and arrange the plants in the landscape area where you are going to plant. Cut holes in the jute to the size of each container.

Dig your hole, mix mushroom compost in and around as you plant. Spread mulch or pine straw to hold in the moisture. You can plant a tree, but it may be difficult to plant a ball and burlap. It is tough to plant a big tree on an angle. Think about putting a 7, 10, or 15 gallon size tree in. Consider 1 or 3 trees depending on the size of your slope.

Herbee's Featured Book

Hillside Gardening: Designing Views and Planting Slopes.

Here is the featured book for you!

Hillside Gardening gives you a wide variety of different looks at designs. Your goal for doing a project of this nature, is to make sure you have a plan in place.

Herbee's favorite plants are great options for you to incorporate into the design views from this book. Create your own outdoor space that's easy on your eyes.

Herbee's Favorite Evergreens

Herbee Greenthumb

Here are some of my choices for evergreens to use on a bank. Just click on the link for more information on that shrub.

Also, Ornamental Grasses are a good choice for planting on uneven terrain.

Hope I haven't confused you with too many choices!


Many people like the look of grass on a hill, but it can be difficult to grow, especially on a steep bank. See how Herbee answers a reader question about planting on a bank.

Question From Sue Bridges, Leander, TX

Is it better to build up half of the area until it is relatively level for about two thirds of the area and then dropping off at more of an angle or should we keep the more gradual slope?

Hi Sue, Herbee here.
I guess I'm assuming you want to plant grass. If not, read the above section on planting evergreens in these conditions.

You have several options, centered around seed or sod. I wouldn't create an area with a steeper slope. A gradual slope is easier to get grass to grow on, and is easier to prep, because you can use a tiller. On a steep slope, you'll have to use a shovel. A tiller just isn't safe.

Turn over the soil to a depth of 4 or 5 inches, going from top to bottom. Mix in some compost or starter fertilizer.

Now it's time to plant. If you're using seed, spread it and lightly rake it in. If heavy rains cause a problem on this hillside, cover it with an erosion control fabric such as jute. Secure the jute with fabric stakes. This will reduce the amount of seed that tumbles to the bottom of the hill due to wind and rain erosion.

If you decided on sod, lay it length-wise from top to bottom. It too, will need to be secured with stakes. See the Sod page for tips on getting seed or sod started.

A totally different option if you're full of energy, put a retaining wall about the halfway point of the hill. Use the dirt from the bottom half to fill in behind the wall and create two level areas to plant.

I hope this helps you Sue, and best of luck on your planting project.

Preparing the bank, raking out smoothly as much as you can, and adding mushroom compost are the same whether you're planting grass of evergreen plants on a slope. Just add jute for erosion control. It works with grass or shrubs. Your slope will add a new dimension to your yard. Slope Planting can be eye catching if the right steps are done. Your outdoor investment doesn't have to be a nightmare. It can be total enjoyment for years to come.

If you have a bank go ahead and plant some shrubs or grass, and begin to enjoy the area you couldn't stand to view.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

Evergreen Plants --- Gardening Care



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