An undulating Stony Brook, NY, property is a highly desirable prospect, giving you the chance to finally have a home with a commanding view. However, sloping terrain can offer more of a challenge when it comes to landscaping and landscape architecture. Here are some landscaping ideas to make the most out of your hilly property and make it beautiful, usable and safe.
More practicality through terracing
Terracing is an ideal way to make the sloping areas of your yard more practical, while still retaining the imposing beauty of the elevated land. Retaining walls can be placed strategically along the slope, supporting the soil above them and allowing you to level out the expanse of land below them. The terraces can then be used for planting flower or vegetable gardens, shrubs, or any other softscaping that suits your design. If your design demands a more natural look, the area can also be graded below the retaining walls to give them a more shallow slope. This would ensure that they are still suitable for planting, without the severity of completely flat terraces.
Not only do retaining walls give you more control over your slopes, they can be used as design elements themselves. You have a variety of options for constructing the walls, including natural stone, lumber, or concrete paving stones. Moreover, retaining walls play an important role in maintaining the integrity of a slope and make it more resistant to erosion.
Sloping terrain can offer the opportunity to construct a viewing platform that allows you to take in the stunning view of your own property and its surroundings. The highest point of the slope can be leveled out to install decking, giving you a rustic platform to gather with guests and enjoy the view. You can also go the through the more involved process of installing structures such as gazebos or pavilions, which can be more functional and makes your yard more usable during the winter months. These viewing platforms can help exploit the view offered by your property to its fullest.
Another excellent way to using the sloping terrain of your yard is to install an appropriate water feature. Water sources can be installed at the top of the incline, giving you a cascading waterfall that snakes down the slope. The water can be routed through the terraces along the steps. You can also go the more natural route and create a small stream, complete with boulders and rocks. Finally, the water can be collected at the base of the slope in a pond or pondless catchment mechanism. For more modern landscapes, rectangular channels can be placed alongside the steps to achieve the same effect in a more controlled fashion. This design element also opens up the world of waterborne fauna and flora, giving your whole landscape a unique and natural touch.
Erosion prevention measures and drainage
Lastly, we come to the more practical discussion of ensuring the safety of your sloping landscape. Sloping terrain is highly susceptible to soil erosion from rain water rushing down the incline. Retaining walls are a great way to minimize this, not only supporting the mass of soil behind them, but also breaking the water’s momentum as it flows down. Subsoil drainage pipes can then be installed to route water out of the soil under the walls. Shrubs and groundcover plants can also be used for a similar effect. Both these methods can be coupled with grading to reduce the slope and minimize the erosion, ensuring that the structural integrity of your landscape is retained.