The Best Hillside Landscaping Ideas on a Budget
Landscaping a slope on a budget can be an intimidating task. It’s quite daunting even thinking about hillside landscaping ideas on a budget, even for a second.
First there is the actual complexity of the task itself. Hills and slopes can be quite unsightly in their natural state and complicated to manage from an engineering standpoint.
Ideally you’d like to build a structure, or shape your landscape and not have it fall apart. Easy DIY steps on a slope may sound simple but requires some thinking behind it. And that’s just one example!
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As if dealing with the structural issues weren’t scary enough…now you want to talk aesthetics:
Beautiful, hillside sloped backyard deck ideas! Fire pit on sloped yard installations! Patio on sloped yard! How to landscape stairs on a slope!
As exciting as these may sound at first glance, it can get nerve racking when it soaks into your brain. But hey…maybe you’re an adrenaline junkie and love yourself some skydiving and bungee jumping.
Maybe you fancy yourself as a real life Bob the Builder. But let’s not pull on those overalls just yet.
Unless flirting with bankruptcy gets your adrenaline going, you’d at least want to consider cost, before starting to build that hillside boulder retaining wall!
Yes…there’s Mr. Budget to wind off the triple threat! How much exactly is this all going to cost?!
With the average cost of a landscaping job being $8,150…you’d definitely want to have an idea of how much you are willing to spend. Keep in mind that a hillside garden, or low maintenance hillside landscaping job, can get a bit pricier due to the complexity of the terrain.
Engineering! Aesthetics! Cost!
That pretty much sums up what you need to look for when discussing sloped garden ideas on a budget or general hillside landscaping ideas on a budget.
Let’s get to some ideas for landscaping a slope on a budget, that tick off those three boxes! With the right guidance, they won’t be three strikes!
With these ultra creative ideas for landscaping a slope on a budget, you’re bound to turn that triple threat into a triple treat!
Landscaping a Slope on a Budget
What should I consider when landscaping a slope on a budget?
The three big concerns when it comes to hillside landscaping ideas on a budget are: Engineering, Aesthetics and Cost! You want to ensure that whatever you build, plant or install, stays intact or operates as planned. Your end product must also be pleasing to the eyes and be completed at a satisfying price point.
The actual structural integrity of whatever you build is of paramount importance, for sloped garden ideas on a budget! Afterall, you are putting your sweat, time and money into a project. The least you’d want is for it to stay in place, after you complete it.
Not to mention, home projects also come with some level of emotional attachment. You don’t want that to go to waste.
Using the right materials and installation techniques, to suit the right environment would save you money and heartache in the long run.
From an engineering point of view, your hillside landscaping ideas on a budget should be able to:
1. Maintain its structure and shape over time. Or achieve the desired shape as time progresses, if this is the plan.
2. Withstand weight, movement, angle of installation.
3. Handle water run off without being eroded, collapsing, or even becoming boggy and waterlogged as the case might be.
4. Withstand the test of time and not become brittle or weathered to the point of collapse. This would pose a safety risk.
5. Handle the environment, climate and common natural forces of the area that it is installed.
Landscaping a slope on a budget, that is structurally safe, simply means that you need to:
• Select the most appropriate raw materials for the location.
Use suitable rocks, bricks, concrete reinforcements, steel rebars, or whatever needed, to cater for the specifics of the location.
• Use appropriate plants for the application.
The live plants or trees being introduced to your hillside landscaping should suit the geographical location, climate, environment and application.
Use desert appropriate plants for desert locations, tropical plants for tropical locations, etc. Plants shouldn’t die and leave slopes bare and susceptible to erosion when weather changes occur.
Use low maintenance greenery if you aren’t planning on watering or grooming your live plants regularly.
Also, plants and trees need to be suitable to the actual gradient of the slope. You’d want to utilize groundcovers and trees that anchor well into slopes, but whose roots do not affect the solid structures around.
• Install solid structures and vegetation with appropriate techniques.
The foundation of your retaining wall should be at a certain depth, and built to code, for the area that it is being installed. Likewise, hillside steps ideas should suit the environment. Their required specifications also vary from one town to the next.
Your state may also have restrictions with regards to the types of trees that you can plant in certain locations, and the spacing required between them.
Follow your local guidelines and regulations. If you are hiring a contractor, ensure that he does as well. You can be guided with the hillside landscaping ideas on a budget, in this article. However, the exact technical specs should always be dictated by your local regulations.
The aesthetics of your hillside garden, or landscaped steps on a slope, is the actual physical beauty that it would present at the end of the installation. You do want it to look good after all.
As long as you select materials that bring visual satisfaction, while satisfying the technical (engineering) requirements, you’d be good to go. This would ensure that your sloped backyard ideas on a budget, front yards and hillside gardens, all remain safe and beautiful as time progresses.
Cost is king! There is always a limit on what we’re willing to spend, whatever the operation might be. This is the third and touchiest part of the rules for landscaping a slope on a budget.
You need to somehow figure out how to achieve a beautiful piece of landscaping, with sound engineering specifications…at a price that you are comfortable with.
Work with a landscaper and structural engineer, for steeper and more complexed slopes. Get expert advice on how to manage your money in order to build an attractive garden that is safe and cost efficient.
The 85 Most Creative Hillside Landscaping Ideas on a Budget
You now understand exactly what you need to be thinking about when landscaping a slope on a budget. Keep the details of your location and specific application in mind while reviewing the list below.
Be inspired and then contact landscapers and / or structural engineers that are familiar with your local codes to design something similar, but to your required specifications.
Sloped Backyard Ideas on a Budget with Water Features
1. Manmade Rock Waterfall
Gather whatever rocks you can find and just purchase the bare minimum amounts of bricks, rocks and concrete, to tie everything together. Create a lovely rock waterfall.
2. Artificial Water Feature
It doesn’t get any simpler than a classic fountain or water feature. Go as traditional or modern, basic or as over the top as your budget allows.
3. Water Feature from Recycled Materials
Make use of scrap metal pipes, pots, pans, bottles and just get creative!
4. Natural Rock Garden
Make use of available rocks around your property or see what you can round up to create this breathtaking budget waterfall. The more free materials you gather, the better off you are.
You can divert natural streams if there is one running on the slope, or install a cheap pump to recycle the water.
5. Low Maintenance Pond
A simple pond is a great addition to any sloped backyard. Combine live plants, fishes and other animals like frogs and turtles to make it self sufficient and low maintenance. While adding an elegant touch of course!
6. Fancy Pond
Up your pond game with a pump, a mini waterfall, some lights and quality aquatic plants and animals.
7. Built-in Swimming Pool
An inground pool, on your sloped backyard landscaping, with maybe an infinity edge! Need I say more?
8. Excavated Plunge Pool
If there is a natural stream on your property, consider excavating out a section and creating a plunge pool.
9. Private Hot Tub
Get steamy and relaxed with an outdoor hot tub on your hillside.
10. Slip and Slide
Roll out a tarp, get out the garden hose and some dish soap for a budget slip and slide. Pro tip: Use tear free baby soap…the kids would thank you!
11. Slide and Grotto
Nothing beats a water slide. Throw in a not so secret cave, aka grotto, under it and you’ve got yourself a winning combo for any sloped backyard landscaping.
12. Wishing well
Drill a water well on your slope and you can have a practical and aesthetically pleasing hillside landscaping addition. The money you save on your water bill may offset the cost of the entire project.
13. Manmade Beach
Get yourself some high quality beach sand and spread it out on your slope to create a relaxing DIY beach at home.
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Low Cost Ideas to Landscape Steps on a Slope
14. Terraced Lawn
Control water run off, manage erosion and add some unique dimension to your sloped landscape.
15. Rock Slab Staircase
Build yourself a gorgeous, natural looking staircase out of large rocks.
16. Concrete Staircase
Mix and pour your own concrete steps. Shape a majestic looking staircase with this hillside steps idea!
17. Carved Staircase
Get out the heavy machinery and grind your rocky landscape to create a carved staircase.
Easy DIY Steps on a Slope
18. Natural Stone Staircase
Use a combination of manmade materials like concrete and natural rocks or flagstone.
19. Low Budget Tiered Walkway
For slightly sloping landscapes, you can build a gentle tiered walkway. Add a stair tread to your walkway whenever needed. Their distance apart would be inconsistent, but beautiful nonetheless.
20. Pallet Steps
Repurpose old pallets to build a high quality, rustic looking stairway. This is landscaping a slope on a budget at its best!
21. Natural Lumber Stairs
Keeping with the rustic theme, take it even further with some natural lumber. The dried bark would add some character to your easy DIY steps on a slope.
22. Ultra Low Budget Dirt and Wood Stairs
Utilize logs, branches, lumber strips and peg into place along your slope. Use the loose material around, like dirt or gravel, to level off the treads.
Cheap Down Sloped Backyard Ideas that Control Water Runoff
23. Stepping Stones
Gather some large flattened rocks and lay out to create a walk path that also controls water flow. It can double as an easy DIY steps on a slope option as well!
Practical and aesthetically pleasing! Technically sensible and budget friendly!
24. Rock Garden
A rock garden is the ultimate hillside landscaping idea on a budget. Utilize as many natural materials from your property as possible. Just rearrange and position to create a breath taking, cheap piece of landscaping.
If your budget permits, you can include some water features, minimal plants, and features such as bridges, walkways, etc.
25. Pallet Garden
Go to your local wholesale distribution center, hardware or supermarket and try to purchase some old wooden pallets. You can even get them for free in some places.
Get creative and build yourself some additions to your budget backyard!
26. Fruit Trees
Decorating your slope with fruit trees not only look refreshing and romantic, but the roots and trunks help in controlling soil erosion.
You’d also save yourself a ton of money on fresh fruits.
27. Flower Beds
Flower beds are another visually appealing and pocket friendly option for landscaping slopes.
28. Stacked Herb Garden
Use pallets or repurpose lumber scraps to build yourself a stacked herb garden. Position along the slope and anchor into the ground.
29. Stepped Garden Boxes
Stagger some vegetable boxes along your hillside garden. Save on food, beautify your slope and control water.
30. Nature Trail
Use the natural beauty of your property! Just prune bushes here and there, clear shrubs, and create a nature trail in your backyard.
Retaining Wall Ideas for Sloped Front Yard or Backyard
Simple retaining wall ideas for sloped backyards, or front yards, can not only preserve your property from an engineering standpoint, but add some options for beautifying your landscape.
Work with a professional, get a few quotations and stick to your budget. There are many options to choose from!
31. Tiered Retaining Wall
32. Natural Rock Retaining Wall
33. Wooden Retaining Wall
34. Brick Retaining Wall
35. Solid Wall
36. Retaining Wall Garden
Practical Small Sloped Backyard Ideas
Get creative and try to create multipurpose and functional features on your slope! Why not have a perfect spot for a gathering, or a quiet getaway…while beautifying and preserving your landscape?!
37. Fire Pit Lounge
38. Sloped Hillside Patio
39. Tiered Concrete Seating Area
40. Rock Bench
41. Log Seating
42. Outdoor Pizza Oven / Barbeque Area
43. Picnic Zone
44. Seats with Natural Shade
Sloped Backyard Deck Ideas
There are several sloped backyard deck ideas to choose from. From materials to positioning and style…discuss with a professional what’s best for your location, weather…and budget!
45. Concrete Deck
46. Steel Deck
47. Stone Deck
48. Wooden Deck
49. Log Deck
50. Multi-Level Deck
51. PVC Deck
52. Aluminum Deck
53. Composite Deck
55. Cabana with Thatched Roof
56. Deck with Vinyl Roof
57. Fabric Roof Deck
58. Woven Bamboo Roof Patio Area
This can function as a patio space or hang out spot, while housing herbs, flowers and other greenery.
Sloped Garden Ideas on a Budget
Think about multi-functionality, repurposing materials and practicality of your landscaping! Once you do this, you’d definitely be able to come up with some sloped backyard ideas on a budget that suits you!
Stick to classic options, get creative or combine a little of both!
60. Vegetable Grow Boxes
61. Sloped Herb Garden
62. Flower Garden
63. Flower Trail
64. Shady Oasis
65. Flowery Slope
66. Outdoor Reading Area
67. Winding Walkway
68. Inspirational Area for Artists
69. Customized Twist to Classic Landscape
70. Trellis Garden
Cheap No Grass Backyard Ideas
Inexpensive desert landscaping ideas are great options! Especially if you are looking at low maintenance hillside landscaping methods, as your priority.
Try to utilize as many shrubs that thrive naturally in your area or ones that survive with very little water. Position some rocks in a strategic manner…and voila!
71. Desert Oasis
72. Mulch Masterpiece
73. Groundcover Glory
74. Concrete Jungle
75. Pavers, Rocks and Gravel Paradise
Kid Friendly Hillside Landscaping Ideas on a Budget
Do something fun, appealing and stimulating for the kids! If you have little ones, they’d surely love it!
76. Sloped Playground
78. Jungle Play Area
79. Henhouse on a Hill
80. Mini Farm
Low Maintenance Hillside Landscaping
Mulch, trees, low maintenance shrubs, minimal grass. Put together tastefully and you’d have some down sloped backyard ideas that’s magazine worthy.
81. Mulch and Low Maintenance Trees
82. Wild Grasses that Look Well Kept
83. Helichrysum and Gazania
These flowering plants spread nicely and are super low-maintenance!
84. Let Native Plants Run Freely
Whatever grows naturally, let them grow. Just nip a little, here and there, ever so often.
85. Let Groundcovers Go
Pro Tips to Landscaping a Slope on a Budget
1. Use as many naturally occurring materials as possible.
The less you buy, the more money you save. Utilizing natural shrubs, or rocks to create a simple and tasteful rock garden, can work wonders for your budget.
2. Compare installation costs to maintenance costs.
Low maintenance may be expensive to install but save you over time. Bare this in mind. It may be worth it to pay extra to source low maintenance plants and materials that would stand up over time, to save you money down the road.
Compare the short term and long term costs and pick the option that works for your budget.
3. Keep your specific location in mind.
Each location is different and climates vary! Utilize structures, plants and other low maintenance options for your specific location!
Natural conditions or common occurrences such as tornadoes, earthquakes, heavy rainfall and storms, present themselves differently from one location to the next. Pick your materials and install them to suit your area.
4. Focus on management of water run off.
Depending on the type of soil, weather and other location specifics, you may need to either focus on slowing water down to aid percolation or ways to get rid of surface water in a quick and controlled manner.
Tiered retaining walls, French drains, or natural methods such as planting trees and installing rocks, are all great hillside landscaping ideas on a budget.
5. Stairs are great!
Stairs add a warm touch to any slope. They aid with managing water run off and maintaining slope structure. When it comes to stairs and landscaping a slope on a budget, they create a practical solution.
Because of the wide variety of options, from bare dirt to exotic materials and amazing feats of engineering…there is something for every budget!
6. Consult the experts.
Discuss your job with an approved landscaping contractor. They should have a combination of traditional landscaping experience and technical knowledge when it comes to managing water run off and land structures. This goes especially for rugged terrain and steep slopes.
Your landscaping contractor should be well equipped with a team of persons that can deliver a beautiful, safe and long lasting solution within your budget. They should also be familiar with local regulations and permit acquisition processes.
7. Work one section at a time.
If your budget is tight, it may be worthwhile to attack a small section of your slope at a given time. You can expand and complete the entire project in time. In the end you need to have something that not only brings visual satisfaction, but is safe and didn’t cause you to go bankrupt.
Frequently Asked Questions for Sloped Garden Ideas on a Budget
FAQ: What is the best landscape material for a slope?
For the most part, natural materials such as plants, trees, rocks and mulch can be used to control water run off on slopes under 33% or 18.3 degrees. For steeper slopes, it would be best to use added measures such as erosion control blankets, landscaping mats or jute netting. These would need to be installed under the plants, rocks and other beautification materials.
FAQ: How do you make a landscaping slope?
A landscaping slope can be made in many different ways, according to your budget and the technical restrictions associated with the actual slope. In some areas, retaining walls may be needed. However, as long as the slope is gentle and soil erosion issues are a minimum, natural materials such as rocks, mulch and plant life can work wonders.
FAQ: What can I do with sloped landscaping?
Sloped landscaping is only restricted by your budget. For gentle slopes and low budget options, you can simply utilize rocks, plants and mulch to completely transform the look of your slope. For steeper slopes, technical experts may need to be consulted to install structures to manage water run off, in addition to adding the beautifying touches.
FAQ: How do you fill in a sloped yard?
In order to fill in a sloped yard, you first need to remove the plant life located at the target area. Dig up this section a bit more and add in additional soil to it. Fill the section and spread the material evenly so that it becomes level with the area around it. You can now proceed with landscaping across the filled-in portion.
FAQ: How do you retain soil on a slope?
Soil on a slope can be retained by planting: grass, trees, ground covers or other shrubs. Natural materials such as rocks and mulch can also be included for gentle slopes. For steeper slopes (over 33%) erosion blankets would need to be included, in addition to the plants and trees.
Terraces or retaining walls, or a combination of both, in addition to water diversion techniques, may also be required in some instances.
FAQ: How do you secure soil on a slope?
The simplest way to secure soil on a slope is with the use of plants and trees that anchor deeply into the soil. In some cases, physical barriers such as erosion blankets or retaining walls may need to be included.
FAQ: What is the cheapest rock to use on a slope?
The cheapest rock to use on a slope is pea gravel. This is the most common, budget friendly rock available to landscapers. Pea gravel is cheap, durable, looks nice and suitable for many applications such as rock gardens, walkways and driveways.
FAQ: What is the least expensive landscaping material?
The least expensive landscaping material is whatever is available on your property. You just need to gather enough of it or rearrange accordingly. Rocks, rubble, sand…even mulch and pine needles. Apart from that, river rocks, crushed concrete or pea gravel can be purchased at a very reasonable price. That is, if you are looking to buy cheap aggregates for landscaping material.
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Final Thoughts on Hillside Landscaping Ideas on a Budget
Now you can attack that slope head on, while not breaking the bank. Remember you want something beautiful, functional, technically safe and cost effective! Pick the hillside landscaping ideas on a budget that work for you!
Do you have any tips for landscaping a slope on a budget? Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
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