Backyard Hillside Landscaping Ideas
Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev from Pexels

Backyard Hillside Landscaping Ideas

Once we moved and settled into our home, we realized that the hill was actually one large Alabama sandstone rock loosely covered with a combination of weeds and grass. The dirt layer over the rock varied from a foot or so deep, to just several inches in some areas.

Ultimately our solution, after considering many options, was to uncover the rock and embrace what God planted in our backyard–a beautiful sandstone hill.

The one red flag that arose in this project of removing the grass and dirt from the rock was confirmed by a drainage expert. He warned that once the grass was removed the water would flow extremely fast down the hill and could potentially cause water issues with the house below. He suggested a major creek bed several feet deep and several feet wide. The expense and implausibility that heavy machinery could get into our backyard kept his proposal from going forward.

Armed with expert information we opted to build a smaller dry creek bed, taking fate into our own hands and saving ourselves a major hit financially. We had some peace of mind that any excessive overflow would be captured by an existing French drain closer to the house.

Needless to say the photo above is much more than the 5%. We had to dig out some sections, but after about 10 feet we had a natural downward slope with gravity working in our favor.

4. Test your creek bed. Run a hose at the top of your drain and check for any obstructions or slow moving spots. Note that after you do this, it will be a muddy mess to dig for modifications. Thankfully, at this point we were ready stop for the day.

The next day we made the necessary changes to improve flow and set out our landscape fabric. Not all landscape fabric is created equal. Invest in a high quality polyester fabric that is non-biodegradable and has the strongest tear rating.

We tested the flow one more time just to be sure. Because some of the water goes through the fabric,
I think the truer test comes without the fabric liner in the creek.

5. Cover the fabric with small stones or pebbles and fill the creek bed. We chose a medium sized pebble, Calico Stone by Vigoro. We liked the color variation and the size of the stones.