Building garden bed terraces on a hillside - tips and tricks?

user22 Posts: 10 ✭✭✭

Any tips/tricks to build bed terraces on an existing hill quickly? It is a 30deg incline, 100ft wide by 40ft on the hypoteneuse. It is not easily accessible because it is behind a house and several unmaintained lots (no roads). Is the best way to build some incline 'steps' just to use shovels & hoes? I am wondering if we could sneak a skid steer in there but not sure it will handle that kind of incline safely? I would definitely need to hire someone for that, as I have never used one. I might just try and find some laborers to assist with the task using manual tools. I would like the 'steps' to be fairly wide so I can plant a la grocery rows with a path to one side.



  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 754 ✭✭✭✭

    Wow, that sounds like quite an endeavor! I'm cheering you on😄

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @user22 It is a challenge. I remember my father forming a garden on a steep slope. He ordered many trucks of soil to be brought. I think it is not the solution for you. The question reminded me of our holiday on one of the Canary Islands La Gomera. There people made terrace gardens everywhere. It is the only possibility to have a garden. They used local lava stones to form terraces and filled with all kinds of available natural waste. I include a photo. May be that gives you some ideas. Here, in Austrian Alps the stone gabions (metal frames filled with stones) are very popular to strengthen the slopes and to make high beds. I use stones, pieces of rocks to form slopes in my garden. Whatever you do, I wish you best success.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    Welcome to the forum, @user22! When you get a moment, please leave a short introduction in our Introductions section. Thanks!

    One tip is to make sure you stack retaining walls properly (very important) & also secure them properly so that they don't push out under the weight of the soil.

    @Monek Marie You've done something similar at some point if I'm not mistaken?

  • Due to leg issues my man started to dig paths in our hillside placing the dirt onto the next raised area. He also used the tree brands to create a waddle fence. Son=me woven weed fabric helps keep the weeds down. Lots more views I have as we are not on the 4th level of this behind the house. Deer fence keep the chickens out and the deer a well. The back woods of Tennessee, spring water and so very quiet back here. Been following The Grow Network about 5 or 6 yrs now.

  • How it started... a pathway from the other side leading up the hill and I vision ~ 3 months of digging and now 3 years into this we're on the 4th level up.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Welcome @user22 A hillside garden is a fun challenge. Its a lot like creating a puzzle that fits your land. It can also be expensive unless you do it yourself and use materials on the property, surrounding area or free.

    Looking around the internet will help give you a few more ideas.

    @LaurieLovesLearning Yes I have made hillside gardens and terraces. Our property was impossible with the hill to maintain safely and fit within zoning regulations. (I would have it be a small tree, shrub and forest garden area if I could have.

    I used flat rock from the property and a terrace area could not be higher than 2 foot without getting a zoning permit - so it was kept below 2 foot. I did not use any mortar in the edges so I had to use bigger rocks and lightly slant the rock walls at the bottom to make sure soil and our freezing conditions would not push out the walls. I composted raw material I got for free to create soil and soil beds so that I did not have that expense.

    I love a terraced area. It add beauty and more purpose to the landscape. And for me it helped get rid of a unsafe area in the yard.

    I love the waddle fence idea.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    Welcome to the forum @cindysolutions! I'm glad you decided to comment. That's a very attractive idea. Useful & beautifying.

    When you get a moment, please leave a short introduction in our Introductions section to give us an idea where you are from. 😄

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One idea to keep in mind too is water flow.

    Will this help to slow or direct water. Can it be used for flooding issues and rain run off. And will one area be wetter from the design and another area drier? It will help with plant selection.