Forum home Garden design

Sloping garden nightmare!

I have a terrible east facing garden which is sunny all day until about 4.30pm. It slopes downwards and has eight steps from my back door down so is quite steep. I was thinking about replacing the whole patio and extending a little further, then having the turfed area levelled off and extending from both sides of the fence to give me more grass space. It will cover up the path, gravel and hideous retaining wall. Then a few steps from garage to be built with a flat path to back gate. I am also replacing garage roof to make it slightly less of an eyesore. Any ideas?


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,882
    That looks like a lot of the houses here  :)
    Do you really want grass? It's not the best aspect for it, and it's sometimes more bother than it's worth. If you're going to be using the back gate regularly, you'll just wear a path down it too.  Unless you're clear enough of other buildings at this time of year, and autumn, it'll struggle for a large part of the year. Depends on what your needs are though.
    Are you replacing the fence on the left?
    Some planting to hide the garage would help. Depending on what you do re the grass, you could possibly move some of the plants that are along that side, to there. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,882
    Definitely a good idea @pansyface :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • chickychicky Posts: 10,403
    Have you thought about a small tree somewhere? Something like a crab apple?  It would vary the height levels a bit and distract from the boundaries/fences.

    Your back neighbours to the right have a tree (much bigger than I would suggest).  You can see how it gives that garden a different look from its neighbours.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,957
    edited February 2022
    I would get someone to check that garage roof for asbestos if you’re thinking of removing it. Just to be on the safe side. 

  • It is an asbestos roof which is being removed safely and replaced.
    About the turf - I have a toddler and dog so thought the grass was better to keep. I’m not keen on artificial grass. I will have a stepping stone path laid along the right fence side to the steps starting at the garage so the grass isn’t ruined. 
    I’m now wondering if I’ve made a bad plan! I’d like to retain my left side border which I started last year but as the ground is being raised and levelled I might not be able to save them.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,491
    It sounds like you've thought about your garden a lot already and I'd agree with your practical ideas to achieve a flat lawn as a play area for your toddler and dog.  As said above, it may be a bit of a challenge to maintain but you can get "utility" type lawn mixes and turf that will tolerate shade and take wear and tear.

    I would want to get the garden fully enclosed too by taking the fencing on both sides up to the height of the fence posts - you're probably already planning this.  Then, a nice evergreen hedge or mix of evergreen shrubs along the bottom boundary to hide the garage and neighbouring properties. 

    You could choose a conifer, like Thuja plicata, or Portuguese laurel or Griselinia littoralis to make your hedge.  They do prefer sun but will tolerate shade, they'll just be slower growing.  A combination of all three grown as individual shrubs would achieve the same screening effect.  You could also include a small tree in the mixed planting which has multi seasonal interest such as a Rowan or Crab Apple.

    Once your space is enclosed you could plan some beds for plants that you like, suited to the aspect and conditions, using easy care perennials, grasses, small shrubs and bulbs.  Prepare your soil beforehand by adding plenty of organic matter.  You'll feel much better about that space once it's enclosed, private and green with some interesting plants!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,882
    Personally, I'd wait until you have the hard landscaping done - ie the fences, and/or anything else that's being done. Then take a view on how to proceed.  :)

    Those houses ,and the distant view, look very familiar. If you want to PM me your rough location, and it is near me, I'm happy to help you if I can.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,491
    I had a long, narrow, east facing garden on a slope in a property I once owned, surrounded by six foot high privet hedging. There was a drop of about four feet from the back door onto the garden with steps and a path on the right.  Not dissimilar to your situation but the garden was longer and already had established trees in the neighbouring garden at the bottom to make it private and hide the neighbouring property. 

    Here's a couple of photos to show you before and after.  I had a contractor to lay the sandstone patio, but I sourced all the plants from local garden centres and renovated the mossy lawn myself. 

    I think it's important to consider your hard landscaping and soft landscaping at the same time so that you achieve an overall intended objective.  You don't need to do everything at once, just when time and budget allow!  It took me four years to develop this garden, learning as I went.  I hope this has given you some encouragement!



    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,463
    If it can be made strong enough, the garage would look fantastic with a green roof .
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    I think you are on the right lines. Replace the patio with non-slip decking and extend it to a generous size. That will take some of the slope away. Keep a hard standing path of some description to garage as grass will get slippy in the wet. Put trellis up to hide the garage rather than a hedge. It will take up less room and less maintenance for a young family. Make a curvy border round from the far end of the trellis to about half way up the LH fence and move your plants to there. Grow clematis, honeysuckle even a climbing rose up the trellis. One thing to be careful about is the height of the decking vis a vis your neighbours - you might consider a few broad steps down to the decking from the house in order to lower it. The steps from the decking to the lawn can be anywhere, no need to have them in the same place as the original path - may be nice to shift them to the other side and have a windy path through the lawn to the garage. Have a think about replacing the whirlygig with an extendable clothes line.  
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
Sign In or Register to comment.