Sample garden design: sun slope garden

Once a slope garden is established, it will greatly decrease erosion.

If the slope is steep, and soil, compost and water are drifting downhill, try adding rocks or terracing the garden to hold soil in place and slow the flow of water. Ensuring plantings cover
the whole of the slope will also help slow water flow. Filling a slope with a mixture of plant types—trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers—forms an eye-catching garden that also helps soften the impact of rain on the slope.

 Plants used in this design

Spring interest

  • Phlox subulata, creeping phlox
  • Salvia officinalis, common sage
  • Iberis sempervirens, candytuft
  • Lavandula angustifolia, lavender
  • Aurinia saxatilis, basket-of-gold

Summer interest

  • Hemerocallis species, daylily
  • Monarda didyma, bee balm
  • Echinops sphaerocephalus, globe thistle
  • Arctostaphylos Uva-ursi, kinnickinnick
  • Thymus serpyllum, creeping thyme

Fall interest

  • Geranium maculatum, wild geranium
  • Rhus aromatica, fragrant sumac
  • Calamagrostis species, feather reed grass (can be invasive)
  • Gaillardia species, blanket flower
  • Juniperus horizontalis, creeping juniper


At least six hours of direct sunlight.


Sloped gardens ideally have a heavier than average soil to help stop erosion. Adding of 5 centimetres (2 inches) of organic material (e.g. compost, manure, leaf mold) every two years will help to create a heavier soil. If the soil is sandy and light, use more than 5 centimetres (2 inches) of organic material. Adding organic material will also feed plants and keep them healthy—no need to fertilize!


Full–sun slopes will dry out faster on the steepest part of the slope as water runs off quickly without soaking in. Use drought–tolerant plants in the middle of the slope, but make sure they are well–watered until established. Dividing the watering time into two sessions will allow water to be absorbed. For the first few weeks after your new garden is planted, check to see if the soil is wet to a depth of at least 2.5 centimetres (1 inch), even if it rains. Mulch doesn’t always work on a slope, and you may need to experiment with different types of mulch materials.

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