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Tiered garden move

Hi we are moving to a property with a tiered garden, just one tier but it is a 10ft drop. The lower level is just grass with a steepish stairway from the patio. I am taking alot of my plants with me in pots, some are not impressed with being potted! 
One problem is actually getting large pots etc down there?
Does anyone know of any books or websites that give planning ideas for tiered gardens, I have lots of ideas but feel a little out of my depth?



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,045
    Take a look at @KeenOnGreen's garden  :)

    He ahs a steeply tiered plot. Just click on his name and look through his posts 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Ferdinand2000Ferdinand2000 Posts: 537
    edited September 2020
    I tend to get my ideas from looking at places rather than books, but my favourite user of steps in garden design is probably Lutyens. His ideas often need shrinking, but there are books about his gardens and the use of material texture and form is magnificent.

    I think the first comment I would make is to plan to make the tiers what you want eventually, rather than what you were given. Though there may be a lot to be said for living with it for a year first.

    The things I would learn from @KeenOnGreen's gorgeous garden above are that the person in the garden will feel important because it seems to be about them as performer, that the steps are relaxed (shallow - look to be about 20-22 degrees only in gradient), and are in 'usable by human in comfort' proportions (that is 2 x riser + 1 x step adds up to 24 to 32 inches in old money), and that they have made the table into a focus and (if it is at house level) put it where it is easy to get to with lunch or G&T (so it will be used a lot).

    The only thing I would add would be to have put a wheelbarrow groove / ramp (eg below) in the steps to help move things around.

    All the best


    “Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
  • Oh wow, what an amazing transformation, lovely. 
    See pics below.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,804
    Is there grass on the upper level as well? If not I think I'd be putting a shed on the lower level for the mower.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,024
    edited September 2020
    My previous house had 15 metal steps down to the garden (and more steps within the garden after that).  We used a sack barrow to get heavy items down the steps, and used a bungee strap to fasten things like pots to it, so they wouldn't slip off on the way down.  It was good exercise...

    Edited to add:  that 10ft wall is definitely asking for some climbers, or fan-trained fruit, in my opinion   :)
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,308
    That asks for nicer stairs (made into a feature) and some beautiful climbers.
    If the wall feels too overwhelming, a raised bed at its foot could help too but I think the climbers will soften it a lot.
  • Thanks everyone, we are thinking of another level, maybe a water feature and steps in the middle. The top is slabbed-see pic.
  • ElmozElmoz Posts: 30
    Wish I could give you some advice but I'm a novice! Beautiful gardens, you have 2 separate spaces and they both look lovely and private. It's going to take some serious building work to put in another terrace below the one you have so best of luck and I look forward to seeing the transformation.
    Also loving KeenonGreen's garden.
  • @sue529  @Ferdinand2000 's comments about the depth of steps is a really good one.  The original steps in our garden were too deep, and very uncomfortable on the knees.  We reduced the depth, by adding additional steps, and they are much better.

    Be mindful that if you build metal or wooden steps, they can get dangerously slippery in winter.  Some kind of paving/stone surface gives a better grip, but you can always cover wooden steps in chicken wire.  

    Your terracing is much deeper than ours, but I apart from the hard work you will have in moving things (including yourselves!) up and down the stairs, I can see that wall creating a wonderful backdrop/support frame for plants.  It already has a nice climber on it, so you could add more, or perhaps grow some espaliered fruit trees on it.

    Going back to my original point, worry less about which plants to put in for now, and focus on how you will safely and comfortably get around the different levels.  Once you've gotten that right, you can then look at planting.  Keep us posted on what you do!

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