The Q&A Archives: planting on a slope

Question: we will be moving soon to a property that has a relatively steep slope. At the present there is grass and doesn't seem like there is much erosion. How would I go about having a veggie garden,herbs, grapes etc.The back yard has a fence with a lot of trees and vegetation on the otherside. Do I need to terrace or are there other options? thank you

Answer: In general, you will need to terrace in some way -- possibly with retaining walls -- to prevent causing erosion when you disturb the soil and to make sure the slope stays securely intact and does not slide during wet weather. The terracing also allows you to water more effectively, use equipment such as a tiller safely, and gives you a level space to walk along when you work on your plantings. Properly designed retaining walls also include carefully contstucted allowances for drainage during periods of rain and snow melt, as well as adequate footings and bracing to support the wall during wet weather and when the ground freezes in winter. You might want to work with a professionally trained and degreed landscape architect to determine the best way to assure the drainage pattern is workable and the wall(s) are safe, make the area look its best and assure adequate planting conditions for the types of plants you want to grow. There may also be building permits involved, depending on your local laws. Enjoy your new home and garden!

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