Terrace Yard Landscape IDEAS
Image by Bernhard Schürmann from Pixabay

Terrace Yard Landscape IDEAS

Farmers use terraces to grow crops on hills.

Terraced landscaping prevents erosion and provides level planting spaces in sloped yards. It reduces water runoff during heavy rains or irrigation, which cuts back on fertilizer pollution in nearby bodies of water. A mellow slope will benefit from shallow terraces. Although it’s somewhat labor intensive, you can build your own shallow terraces to improve the planting areas within your landscape. Terraces are most popular among gardeners who live in hilly locations.


Reduced water runoff means you will not have to irrigate plants as much after you install terraces. In the long run, terraces can save you money on water and fertilizer. They make it easier to till the ground and harvest edible crops thanks to the flat surfaces they create. Terraces also improve soil drainage and make it easier for many plants, such as most vegetables and herbs, to grow. Trees with shallow root systems can also grow more safely on flat terraces than slopes, and will be less likely to fall over during storms.

Terrace Design

Many gardeners use safely treated lumber for terrace walls, because it tends to last longer than untreated lumber. You can also use masonry blocks or stones to build terrace walls, although they are heavier to move. To calculate the dimensions of each terrace, you will need to measure the rise and run of the slope. Next, you should decide how tall you want each shallow terrace to be by dividing the height of the slope by the desired number of terraces. For example, a hill with a rise of 5 feet could have five 1-foot-tall terraces or four 1.25-foot-tall terraces.


It is a good idea to contact your utility company to make sure you will not run into any buried utility lines while building the terraces. After you build them, you’ll need to level the soil within each terrace. Gardeners with gradual slopes and just about any soil type can install shallow terrace landscaping as long as they set up sturdy retaining walls. When you install terraces, it is also great time to add some high-quality topsoil if you live in an area with poor soil. Tilling the soil and adding some compost or manure will improve soil drainage and nutrient levels for planting.

Building Terrace Walls

To start building the lowest terrace, dig a shallow trench at the base of the slope and place timbers in the trench until the front terrace wall reaches the desired height. After putting up the front wall of a terrace, the next step is to dig trenches and place lumber along the sides. To secure the terrace walls in place, you can drill through the lumbers near each corner and then pound metal spikes or thin pipes through the holes and into the ground. Moving soil from the back of the terrace toward the front wall will level the ground in the section. If you want, add some compost to improve soil fertility. You can then continue building terraces up the hill by digging the front trench of the second terrace at the back of the first terrace.