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Slope Gardens : A Photo Essay
October 3, 2001 by Evelyn J. Hadden

Many urban homes in Saint Paul, Minnesota, were built on hills above the street. The lots often slope down steeply to a sidewalk, and the majority of these slopes are planted with lawn. I've seen people pulling their lawnmowers uphill with ropes to cut the grass. I've also seen people standing under their running lawnmowers to push them uphill.

But things are changing, and recently gardeners who are both adventurous (with plants) and cautious (with lawnmowers) are replanting their slopes with a variety of gardens.

Here are a few samples of slope gardens in my neighborhood, with my best guesses about the identities of the plants:

tall evergreen with sedum slope

Creeping sedum clothes this steep slope on a corner lot under a mature evergreen.

grasses and perennials slope

This prairie-style slope garden, colorful even in October, includes ornamental grasses, daylilies, and Russian sage.

limestone wall with hanging plants

A limestone block wall supports creeping vines and white snakeroot in dappled shade.

timbers and hosta

Landscape timbers neatly retain a short slope with hosta and creeping groundcovers.

yew and ivy over brick

Oversized bricks support a row of yews and boston ivy on a shady slope.

half creeping, half rocks

This corner is divided, half planted with crown vetch and the other half covered in large rocks interspersed with asters and brown-eyed susans.

cement and evergreens

This sunny cement wall is topped with creeping evergreens.

rock garden slope

Rocks and driftwood are scattered among dozens of perennials and annuals; the bottom is held by a line of landscape timbers.

rock garden slope

Clipped shrubs cover this slope in a formal thicket.

A slope can be an asset to your property. Shaded or sunny, it offers you the chance to make a bold artistic and architectural statement. I hope this sample of the many possibilities will inspire you to create your own unique slope garden.

This Sunset Book is packed with photos if you need more design ideas.

Hillside Landscaping

Other LessLawn photo essays:
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