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Sloped Garden - Planting Recommendations

Hi, Living in the hills, we have a very sloped garden, which makes mowing quite hard work (I have an arthritic wrist). We have a retaining wall at the bottom of the slope and it's problematic to mow the grass where the wall and lawn meet. I've tried strimming, but strimmers and I do not get along well. I am considering creating a gap so the lawn ends before the wall, or planting something that needs little tending. If I go for the latter, what would you recommend, please? I need something that won't grow very high but would be happy for it to trail over the wall. Thanks. 


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    Can you give more info - approx location, climate, aspect  etc.?
    It helps with suggestions. No point in us saying Ceanothus for example, if the site's shady and soaking wet  :)
    Photos would be helpful too  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • We're North Pennines, so high precipitation, but we still enjoy sunny climes between April-October. The garden is south-facing. 

    This is the lawn, taken in the summer. The next photo is the wall it leads down to. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    edited 28 February
    You could have a row of Hebes. There's hundreds of varieties, but many are quite compact. They need good drainage. Some don't manage well here because of our climate, and they don't always recover well if you have to cut them back, so you'd have to make a judgement on that. It's wet cold they don't like. The small ones like Hebe. p. Pagei might suit. They're low growing and would trail down over the wall :
    There's quite a lot of things that would work - just low growing ground cover for example - hardy geraniums with spring bulbs etc. A basic edging between the planted area and the grass would prevent the grass encroaching.  I thought it was a wall a few feet high that you were planting against, so that's where the photos help  :)

    To be honest, if you're just wanting low maintenance, a gap between the wall and the grass would be easiest. Just filled with gravel or bark or similar.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks Fairygirl. I'll look the Hebes up. I like the idea of very low maintenance, but also think the wall could do with a bit of greenery to add interest to the patio. Thanks again. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    Even some easy annuals like nasturtiums would give you colour through summer, without too much effort. They're very easy, and would trail over.
    There are lots of little plants which would be fine - many trailing alpines too, like Arabis and alpine Phlox if the drainage is good  :)

    The wall is beautiful - I wouldn't want to cover it too much if it was mine  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 3,992
    A row of narrow flags or tiles, so you can mow right over the edge, and maybe a few pots or troughs for some colour for the patio.
    I'm up in the Pennines too and some of my grass slopes like that, so I know it is jolly hard work!
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,140
    @MadDogLady73 You could consider Campanula Poscharskyana E H Frost. Considered by many as a bit of a thug, I love it . It grows well in clay and is evergreen. It will tumble down the wall and flower for a long time. It is a little scruffy after flowering so gently pull all the flowers away and you will be left with just a flat plant and a few stems tumbling.

    If you go to Farmyard Nurseries web site you will see Poscharskyana in the different colours that are available you could also mix and match. It is strong growing, one small plant can be split into three in one year.  If you like the idea you may like to just try one plant to see if it is for you. You may have friends who grow the more common purple form. It could escape into the lawn if grass is poor but I am unaware of this happening. I will now await the downsides of this plant from other forum members perhaps it is really badly behaved in other soils and conditions.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,079
    I would go for the tougher kinds of trailing alpines - aubretia, arabis etc. More ideas here:
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    edited 28 February
    In wet clay, those campanulas are definitely a problem! Unless you have rabbits... ;)

    I missed Aubretias @JennyJ. Yes - another really good contender if the conditions are right. They'd trail down the wall nicely too, even thought they'd technically be facing north. I find a lot of the aforementioned alpine plants perform very well in less than ideal conditions.  :)

    I know the problem too @Buttercupdays. Our last garden was on a pretty steep slope apart from one section. I used to travers to cut the grass, but it's easier going up the hill than down it with a mower  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • MadDogLady73MadDogLady73 Posts: 13
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Much appreciated. Funnily enough, we love purple flowers, so am very happy to see these suggestions. I had no idea we might be able to plant aubretia up here and that it might survive (we're quite high up, in fact the area is well known for the gentian Alpine flower). I always admire aubretia. It's good to hear about your experiences with sloped gardens. Ours is pretty and shelters us well, but it is a bind to mow!  :)
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