How to plant on a slope (and other great sloping garden tips!)

How to plant on a slope, plus what you need to know about having a fabulous (and easy care) sloping border. Broadcaster and plantsman Stephen Ryan of Dicksonia Rare Plants tells you what works and what doesn’t (and why!)

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  1. stuart Anderson on March 20, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Give me great information, and inspiration for my own large bank.πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

  2. fortheearth on March 20, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    Very helpful video! Thank you for sharingthis@

  3. Eddie S on March 20, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    Great video. Thanks guys

  4. Lila Sweeney on March 20, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    I am planting a terraced garden per your video. Can you tell me where I can buy azorella trifurcata nana or how to propagate the plants?

  5. Maria Thiele on March 20, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    Thank you, a very good video for slope planting.

  6. Crow Quill Tarot on March 20, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    More help with sunny slopes, please…NW lower Michigan, Zone 6B. Great info, thanks!

  7. FlowerGrower Smith on March 20, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Are you just visiting now Alexandra..? I’ve got a heck of a slope to deal with – not large, but really exposed. In fact just near Stephen Ryan (in Trentham). Thanks for this video – very useful.

  8. Christine Pops on March 20, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    This was great, I learned so much! I do have a bit of a slope in several areas of my garden and it’s been a struggle but now I feel confident to tackle it this spring. Also loved his garden, those lilies!

  9. FlowerFairy on March 20, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Speaking from experience a small grappling iron wouldn’t go astray! lol!

  10. cheryl weatherhog on March 20, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    Thank you Alexandria for a great video covering this topic. Great to see one of Gardening Australia’s wonderful former hosts. Stephen Ryan was one of my favorites. Are you in Australia at the moment. If so please enjoy. Cheers Cheryl.

  11. Neldidellavittoria on March 20, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Wonderful video. Seen lots of gardening vids but nobody touches this particular topic. Very useful advice. Especially the ditches above the plants and the brick/stone contention below.

    Regarding shady slopes, Mr Ryan mentioned vinca, and I must say they worked fantastically well for me in a deep-shade dry slope where I lived many years ago. I was inspired by a patch of vinca I saw growing in a woody area outside the village where I lived, tried them in my garden and they were a godsend.

  12. Pople BackyardFarm on March 20, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    Good information πŸ‘ New friend Ruthie

  13. Enna Sus on March 20, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for theses tipps! They help me a lot! Do you think you could write down the names of the plants mentioned in the box below? It is rather difficult to understand the names when English is not your first language. Especially latin names sound very different and are spoken abbreviated and very fast. So I would appreciate them in written form very much.

  14. neverlostforwords on March 20, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    Great advice given here. We have a gentle slope in the front yard and have had a lot of watering to do in summers as we didn’t make swales or retaining structures. Our saving grace has been the use of bush mulch, applied once or twice a year. But ignoring the slope issue is always a mistake and unfortunately soil slid about in heavy spring rains to create a muddy area around a mature choisya ternata which has recently yellowed and appears to have succumbed to root rot. I doubt we can save it. I will look into incorporating some of the ideas here on our slope. Thanks to you and Stephen. Enjoy Melbourne. Just overlook the weather!

  15. Beronica O'Barr on March 20, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    I would love to know the list of plants he used among the blue bearded irises, lupine and that touch of yellow on tall stalks. Would you please share the list if possible. Thank you.

  16. Panse Pot on March 20, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    Beautiful garden!

  17. jparkerwillis on March 20, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    If you have a tree on a slope you can create a dish around it so that the water drains directly into the roots.

  18. Rivka SC on March 20, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    shady plants start @5:24 vincas, rascas? sunny @ 6:15

  19. Angela Berni on March 20, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    I must have the worst possible scenario of a slope. It’s so steep it’s impossible to stand on it. It’s all hard compressed rocky red soil( more like cement than soil) and we get 35 degrees boiling hot sun in the summer. Sometimes even 40 degrees. It’s also impossible to water. Suggestions anyone?πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜ŽπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ

  20. Simon Clark on March 20, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    A great video, if you have time, please could you do a video about Australian plants that will grow in the UK climate? I had mixed results with Kangaroo Paw last summer, but I’m really keen on Snow in Summer (Melaleuca). It would be great if you could film at Cranbourne (City of Casey) to showcase them.

  21. Tamara Demarco on March 20, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    finally someone that explains and shows in detail what to do on a slope. I agree with someone else’s comment, that it could be longer!!! Very informative and practical. Thank you!

  22. Beronica O'Barr on March 20, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you. This is so appropriate for my garden slopes and I am going to apply the trench above the plant hole with confidence it will work. I would like see more examples of sunny slope or terrace gardening for retaining soil.

  23. Lisa Gomez on March 20, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    Great video thank you for sharing. This is exactly what I have in my backyard. i’m trying to gain privacy from my neighbor who is able to walk right up (on his side) and look down into my yard.I have planted a hedge of ligustrum however, they’re not growing FAST ENOUGH for me! The site is roughly 80ft long and 15ft wide. I live in zone 9 California. Any suggestion on other plants? I have 3 dusty miller that are gorgeous and drift roses with weeds popping thru. Cottage garden theme desired. Thanks you in advance for any recommendations.

  24. Little Jordan Farm on March 20, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    Alexandra thank you so much for these videos. I’m sooo excited I dreamed for year for a piece of property to have for the vision I have in my videos help so much..with limited money I’m starting a bank with periwinkle as well a creek bank. Sorry I just get so excited when I watch and get more ideas. ! I’m so ready for spring her in U.S. …blessings

  25. Claudia Rosa on March 20, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    Great video!!! He did a great job explaining … just one thing… it was too short πŸ˜„ I could have listened for an other 30 minutes πŸ‘

  26. Stuart Eldergill on March 20, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    Hi, I have just discovered your channel and subscribed. I am thinking about starting a You Tube channel focusing on ornamental gardening, plant advice, techniques etc without stepping on anybody`s toes. Any advice you can give me would be much appreciated. I have worked in horticulture for about thirty seven years.

  27. Garden Obsessions on March 20, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Hello Alexandria! Perfect timing! We will be tackling an area in our front yard with a steep slope at our new home this spring. We have picked out plants but I was still a little worried on how they would do. After seeing this video I feel a lot better and will be sharing with my husband. Thank you tons for such a wonderful video as always! πŸ˜ƒπŸ’πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š

  28. Wenda Jones on March 20, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Please send this man home to me and my slope!

  29. Rachel Bird on March 20, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    He was a great guest – lots of practical information and very enthusiastic!

  30. Esmay Morgan on March 20, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Hi, Thank you so much for an informative slope gardening video!
    I am a new gardener here. I have a very steep slope full of weeds right on a major city street. I am planning to prep my hill for planting. I read that I can do this with layering my hill 6-8 inches thick of mulch. I was told I need to continuously mulch for 3 years before I can even get a solid and healthy foundation of soil. So my questions is…

    1. Can I start this process in the summer?
    2. How do I layer the mulch on my hill without it running down to the streets?
    3. I was planning to put the mulch on the hill immediately after I mow the lawn super low. Is this enough or do I need to uproot the large pieces of weeds first or use chemicals to kill the weeds before laying down the mulch?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  31. Kathryn Willette on March 20, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    I got a lot of great information from this video! I really like the idea of using a mulch that is like straw or hay because no one can see the slope in the back of my yard. Maybe pine needles?

  32. momster on March 20, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    What is he saying β€œswayles”? @4:00

  33. Emily Dryden on March 20, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    I really enjoyed this. I have 2 acres, most of which is sloping. Sometimes I call it Swiss gardening because it is all walking up and down the hill. It certainly can be challenging, not least of all on the legs. Nice to see someone else with the same challenge and doing so well (much better than I) at it.

  34. The Impatient Gardener on March 20, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    Lovely video topic and very helpful. Also nudges me to just buy the Sneebor planting spade I’ve been eyeing up. Also, you’re in Oz! Enjoy.

  35. Cory_aqua on March 20, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    πŸ‘Œ thanks

  36. Durga Lamichhane on March 20, 2021 at 11:23 pm


  37. gentle_storm on March 20, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Wonderful video, specifically the "how-to" demonstrations. While there is some information (but not a ton) about planting on a slope, much of it is limited to which plants to choose (which is helpful, but even more helpful when taught how to plant properly).

    I have a specific question that I can’t find an answer to, but maybe you can help. Last year, I "tiered" a 24’L x 11’H/ 7.3 m x 3.4 m hill that has a Β±27-degree slope for some senior friends. It’s a very unprofessional tier job because I”m not a landscape professional, just a friend that likes digging in the dirt. πŸ™‚ There is currently a full-length tier/landing about half-way down the hill, and some paver "steps" dug into the slope about 2.75’/0.85m from both the top and the bottom of the hill (i.e. there is a step up/down about every 0.85m). This is not the ideal set-up for an aging couple (73 & 71 y.o.), but I’m working with two strong personalities. πŸ˜‰

    The slope is still very steep, but their ability to get up and down the slope seems to be of less concern than what they will use to cover the weed barrier I installed. The coarse mulch is a good idea for the horizontal landing and most of the sloped, but mulch won’t stay put on the vertical "risers" leading up to the paver steps or the landing. Installing a rock "wall"/riser isn’t an option because we don’t have enough rocks and their budget is very limited, especially now that they’ve likely lost a chunk of their retirement savings because of COVID-19 market volatility. This morning I was wondering whether moss might be a good option for the riser areas, but tend to think planting some rapid-growth trailing plants would be easier.

    Do you have any suggestions about how to mask vertical risers in an aesthetically pleasing, budget friendly manner? I could dig out more of the hill to soften the slope, although I just spent yesterday afternoon planting their garden picks (feathergrass, daisies, pink dianthus, Candy Tuft – Snow Cone (Iberis sempervirens)). Last fall, I transplanted some Lamb’sEar (stachys byzantina) (which is doing great) and wooly thyme (not doing so great, surprisingly). They also have some bishop’s wort in their backyard (contained between the house and a concrete barrier) they wish to transplant into the garden; however, I’m concerned about it taking over the other plants in the garden.

    I know that this project is being done backwards. I would have preferred to have a plan in place before digging up the lawn and creating what feels to me like a bit of a mess. However, I’m working with a very strong "perceiver" who likes to go with what feels right when it feels right. I love both of them very much and am doing what I can to make something that makes them both happy. Neither of them know much about gardening and I personally don’t want them spending much time on the steep hill, so I’m trying to present low-maintenance, fast-growing suggestions. I think the suggestions might mean more if they come from an expert.

    That’s probably much more info than necessary, but I’m hoping it gives a full scope of the parameters without being able to see it. Thanks in advance!

  38. Emma Lavenham on March 20, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    Thank you for creating this video! This is so helpful. Love to hear what plants you think would work best for colder climates. It sounds to me that some native plants would work well here, like "Sweet Fern" and "Turtlehead" Black Ace, to keep the soil in place – and at the same time look great from a design perspective.

  39. Erin Phelps on March 20, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    This is fantastic! I am going to be attacking an overgrown ugly slope this Spring and I had no idea where to start. Now I am more confident it won’t be so bad to make it look better.

  40. mary w on March 20, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    Really great information!

  41. shumaisa khan on March 20, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    does the ditch/swale need to be on precise contour lines, or just gauged by eye/feel?

  42. Walter Ritter on March 20, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    Thank-you! This was my first visit to your YouTube program. I am gardening a slope that is decidedly shady on its south side and sunny on its north which makes for a diverse selection of plants. Water conservation is an issue in southern California so I appreciate Stephen’s comments on water’s inclinations! Another of my challenges is to make my slope as pleasing to the eye from its bottom as from its top. It’s an engaging project that benefits from good advice like yours. I look forward to future editions of "The Middle-Sized Garden!"

  43. Ash on March 20, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    Dont have a slope … but when I see a quality video, I KNOW. This is such a VALUABLE video. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» hope u have him on again. This video is so thorough and inspirational. πŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎ

  44. bluesky7226 on March 20, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    What a wonderfully informative video. I so enjoyed hearing that accent from my fellow Aussie. I have been gardening on two slopes in Colorado for nearly 30 years, and I have learned to do all that he spoke about. Sometimes when I plant in the very heat of summer I will also use the discarded nursery pot, which I fashion into a dam of sorts, to keep the water more readily available for the plants. It is only a temporary measure, but it has worked beautifully. I hope you enjoyed my precious Melbourne! I was hoping to be there on holiday this time of year….

  45. YooToobgurl86 on March 20, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    Hello, new Gardener here πŸ˜ƒ Can you please give us some solutions to flooding in the garden when it rains please?

  46. London potager garden on March 20, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    fantastic video full of expert advice, i will re watch this video several times over, thank you

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