A terraced garden makes highly usable spaces on sloping sites which can result in a more unique, visually pleasing garden to live in. Terracing or levelling a sloping garden adds interest and creates numerous workable spaces, allowing planting at different levels.  Perhaps a patio on the top terrace, some flowering borders along walkways, with a vegetable patch lower down the slope and a herb garden near the kitchen. The combinations are endless once the slope has been levelled and the terraced gardens designed.

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The benefits of levelling or terracing a slope include; 

  • Creating functional zones for patios, firepits, outdoor living room, kids play areas and garden beds
  • Stopping soil erosion and rain water washing the nutrients and seedlings away
  • Making the garden easier to navigate and work on, and
  • Having a visually appealing outdoor space that becomes a valued addition to your home

What do you want from your terraced garden?

It is worth taking time to think about what functions you need from your outdoor space before engaging a landscape designer. Knowing what the main purpose of your new terraced gardens is important before you start designing and levelling your sloping garden. It’s expensive to make major design changes once the levelling has started.

Depending on whether the site slopes away or toward the house a different landscape design and build approach will be required to ensure the terraced garden are structurally sound.  If you are levelling your garden to make it easier to get around because of age or problems that affect mobility, construction of pathway surfaces and steps will become important considerations.

Having a clear idea of what you want your terraced gardens to provide as they add to the useable space of your home, will make for a successful landscape design and construction process.


Popular materials used for terracing a garden slope

A major part of garden terracing to split the levels of sloping sites is the important structural retaining walls. These can be a striking feature of the overall garden design or are able to blend in with the natural landscape or match the architecture of the home. Popular materials for retaining walls are:

– Gabions (wire cages filled with stone or rubble), are being used more often in domestic landscaping for constructing cheap, safe and attractive retaining walls

– Stone retaining walls using pre-formed concrete stacking blocks, breeze blocks, house bricks or natural stone

– Reclaimed railway sleepers are economical and treated to last
– New sleepers are a cleaner, but slightly more expensive option to build retaining walls from. They will need to be treated over the years to prevent them from rotting

What features can I include in my terraced garden?

The size of your site will dictate as to what you can include in your garden terrace design. Creating to many different levels on smaller sites may result in spaces becoming less functional.

Paving on a slope
A paved terrace requires an area large enough to dine and entertain without falling off the edge. Allow room for a table with chairs pulled back for access and don’t forget to include space for the BBQ!

Vegetable beds
You may be more interested in growing your own vegetables than entertaining. If a growing area is more important to you than a paved terrace, try to include space for a compost heap. Vegetable beds can be on a slight slope making them perfect for any areas that can’t be fully levelled.

Kids play area
Families with young children will want to include safe playing areas with space perhaps for a sand pit and storage for all the toys.


Natural seating spread around the garden with sunny places to sit and ponder make lovely features. The tops of stone retaining walls and sleeper raised beds make great places to sit and plan to make the tread of your steps wide enough to sit on for more seating options.

Water features.
Water features and streams running from the top to the bottom in a sloping garden look beautiful and they connect the various terraces together. The sound of running water bubbling over pebbles is so calming!

outdoor sandpit

Terraced gardens create an incredible outlook from inside your house offering visual stimulation and will turn your sloped yard into the envy of your flat yard friends and family.

If you need help turning your unused sloping garden into a functioning, usable, terraced garden space, contact Luke for all your sloping site landscape design advice. M: 0434 355 066 or on our Facebook Page