How to create a workable garden on a steep slope

Client Brief: create a new level lawn for their children to play on.

Problem: how to create a workable garden on a steep slope.

Solution: build two retaining walls and an intricate series of steps that facilitate a level lawn area.

Gardens with steep slopes are obviously full of challenges – however our recent design & build in Cold Ash proves that you can achieve surprisingly good results.

The most important stage in the build was to construct two retaining walls, one metre each in height to raise the garden by 2 metres overall. This was a time consuming job and difficult to achieve, especially as most days proved to be wet in this early stage of the build. It involved importing 60 tons of grade A top soil all of which had to be moved from the front of the house round to the garden at the back in order to shore up the retaining walls.

Another tricky part of the build was moving the heavy oak sleepers down the steep slope in the wet weather conditions although my foreman Andy came up with an ingenious idea of bringing his bicycle into work. By resting the sleepers on top of the bicycle they were safely steered into place with no injuries to the workforce!

The before photo - there is a lot of work to be done before the transformation!Andy my foreman safely transports the oak sleepers down the slope with the help of Jake and BrettRetaining walls constructed from new oak sleepersA new more level lawn is created as per our clients' briefThe internal pathway leading to the bottom of the garden showing the anti-slip treads

The retaining walls now create an attractive feature at the bottom of the garden, they are constructed from new oak sleepers and in total we used 260  – a record for ALDA Landscapes! Either side of these retaining walls we constructed two sets of steps leading down to the bottom area of the garden, the step pathway on the left was constructed as an internal pathway adding a distinctive feature to the garden, whereas the pathway on the right hand side consists of open steps.

Both sets of steps were topped with slate mulch chippings and fitted with an anti-slip tread to eliminate the possibility of someone slipping in the wet winter months. A cobble path was laid at the bottom of the garden linking these step pathways together and making this area more practical throughout the year.

The build was completed by laying turf on the newly raised area above the retaining walls.

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