A Garden of Slopes: Before & After

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When I first visited this property in 2011, I was amazed at the grass-covered slopes in both the front and back of this house.  The mowing of these slopes (by the homeowners)  was surely a circus act and bound to end in tragedy.  I got there in the nick of time!  The first order of business was to create a safe way to walk all the way around the house.  The second was to get rid of most of the grass.

In the front we added a low knee-wall with a small pond built into the hillside.  The wall eliminates the effect of the slope-about-to-tumble-into-the-house-at-any-moment feeling.  We removed the grass above the wall and planted out the hillside with large material higher up and more colorful perennials and grasses just above the wall.

Front slope BEFORE:

Front slope AFTER:

Front slope BEFORE:

Front slope AFTER:

The back required some serious construction.  Just off the driveway we added a graceful set of stone steps with a custom handrail.  On the opposite end of the house, we added rustic stone steps.  To connect these two sets of steps, we added a 3′ high wall and gravel walkway.

Slope up to driveway BEFORE:

Slope up to driveway AFTER:

Credit to Randy Burroughs, RLA, for the design of these steps.

Slope up the far side of the house BEFORE:

Slope up the far side of the house AFTER:

Slope across the back BEFORE:

Slope across the back AFTER:

Then we got rid of all that grass and planted a meadow over the septic field, as well as lots of other native shrubs and trees at the margins.

The septic field BEFORE:

The septic field AFTER through the years:




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