In FiveSTAR Landscape Design, Landscape Design, Landscape Design El Dorado Hills, Landscape Design Folsom, Landscape Design Ideas, Landscape Tips, Landscaping Sacramento


Rock Retaining Wall Sacramento

One pressing issue many homeowners face, especially in the Sacramento and Folsom areas, is how to landscape steep hills in their yards. Many homes on hillsides offer beautiful views but the steep incline of these hills can be a pain in the neck to landscape. These slopes can be difficult to mow and water and as a result, most homeowners find them frustrating to maintain.

Not to worry – there are many available landscape design ideas that can be applied to ensure that steep hills are manageable and maintain their aesthetics.

Some of the options for steep incline landscaping are:

  1. Use of Retaining walls
  2. Plants and Shrubs
  3. Ground cover with substances like mulch and bark.

Depending on a homeowner’s preferences and budget, these techniques can be applied individually or as a combination.

The challenge of landscaping Sacramento, Folsom and the foothills

As anyone who has tried to mow a steep hill can tell you, it is not an easy task to accomplish and can be quite a dangerous. Trying to mow up a steep incline can be tedious and requires a lot of energy. Couple that with the fact that watering those hillsides can cause runoff – which leads to soil erosion – and pooling. It is clear that there are many challenges that come with landscaping hills in Sacramento and Folsom homes. Some of the challenges include:

  • Basic, traditional landscaping solutions cannot be applied to steep hills.
  • Runoffs and pooling means that water drainage and soil erosion have to be taken into account
  • The types of plants used and how they are placed must be taken into consideration. Plant wells or blocks may have to be used.
  • Common landscape features like gravel paths and flagstones are not viable options for hills

However, the following landscape design solutions can be applied on steep hills:


Concrete Hardscape Stamped Concrete Design

Retaining walls and hardscapes are used as a sort of divider, creating segments along the hill. This technique provides a solution to the problem of mowing grass on steep hills. Instead of using grass on these segments, plants and mulch are used instead to cover the areas. This eliminates the need for mowing as there is no grass, this also opens up options for artificial grass. Grass may be used towards the bottom of the hill, on the less steep areas where it can be easily mowed. The only maintenance required with this method is watering the plants and replacing mulch every now and then. There are plants that require minimal water usage and they should be considered when choosing what plants to be used on the hill.

Though efficient, a few costs to consider when using this method:

  • Cost of materials
  • Labor costs

Most homeowners would incur labor costs due to the stonework involved in installing retaining walls. More than likely, a professional landscaper would need to be hired. If this method proves a bit costly, there are other options for landscaping backyard slopes.


Side Yard Landscape Design Sacramento

With this method, plants and shrubs are planted which helps to prevent erosion. In addition to the plants and shrubs, a homeowner can substitute grass with mulch which is much easier to maintain on steep inclines. Consider using plants with dense root systems as well as ground cover plants which prevent topsoil erosion. One problem that may arise with this method is the issue of wash-down when it rains. Rain will tend to push down mulch – especially loose-textured mulch – which can be unsightly to look at. To avoid this, the placement of plants and shrubs is crucial. Landscaping rocks should also be considered. Staggering and interspersing shrubs and plants will slow down run-off and distribute water much more efficiently.


This approach is similar to the one discussed above but there are no plants or trees involved. This is a great option if you are looking for drought-tolerant landscape design in Sacramento Even though this is the simplest landscape design idea for steep hills, it does not provide the same aesthetics as the other techniques. A homeowner who chooses this method may not be too concerned with the look of the hill but just wants to maintain it as easily as possible. Again, the problem of rain wash-down of mulch arises as well as runoffs. This time, there are no plants and shrubs to slow down the runoffs and you have to keep this in mind when considering this option.

The good news is that a homeowner does not need to be limited by one approach. The landscape design ideas discussed can be combined, depending on what exactly you are trying to accomplish and what makes sense budget-wise for you. The steepness and location of the hill also have to be considered when trying to figure out what technique you should go with.


It is important to have the right professional landscaping contractor to help you realize your vision for your home. Landscaping steep inclines can be a bit tricky but is much easier when working with the right team. Our team at FiveStar Landscape Design offer many landscape design options for steep hills in the greater Sacramento area, including Folsom and the foothills, to fit your needs and budget. We will work closely with you to ensure that the appropriate technique(s) is applied that makes the most sense for your yard and gives your maximum satisfaction. Contact FiveStar today to help with all your landscaping needs!

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search

January Veggie Gardening in SacramentoFebruary Veggie Gardening Tips Sacramento