Discover the Best Plants for Landscaping Steep Slopes

Discover the Best Plants for Landscaping Steep Slopes

Steep slopes in gardens can be a challenge, but with the right plants, you can transform these difficult terrains into beautiful and functional landscapes. In this gardening guide, we will explore the best plants for steep slopes in Australia. We have gathered information from various sources to provide you with a comprehensive list of plants that are suitable for landscaping steep slopes. Let’s dive in and discover the top plant choices for your slope garden.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the right plants is crucial for transforming steep slopes into stunning landscapes.
  • Groundcover plants are excellent options for erosion control on steep slopes.
  • Tall shrubs and trees provide stability, dimension, and shade for slope gardens.
  • Select groundcover options that are effective for erosion control.
  • Follow these gardening tips to successfully maintain and beautify your steep slope garden.

Groundcover Options for Steep Slopes

Gardening on steep slopes can be a challenge, but choosing the right groundcover plants can help you create a beautiful and functional landscape while controlling erosion. Groundcovers are low-growing plants that spread horizontally, providing coverage and stability to the soil. They also help prevent weed growth and reduce the need for excessive maintenance. Here are some groundcover options that are well-suited for steep slopes:
  • Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis): This evergreen groundcover is known for its dense and carpet-like growth. It tolerates poor soil conditions and drought, making it an ideal choice for steep slopes.
  • Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata): With its vibrant flowers that bloom in spring, creeping phlox adds a burst of color to your slope garden. It thrives in sunny locations and well-drained soil.
  • Green Carpet (Herniaria glabra): This low-growing perennial forms a dense mat of small leaves. It is highly tolerant of foot traffic and can withstand various soil conditions.
  • Blue Star Creeper (Pratia pedunculata): A versatile groundcover option, blue star creeper produces delicate blue flowers and thrives in both sun and partial shade.
When selecting groundcover plants for steep slopes, consider their growth habit, adaptability to the local climate, and the specific conditions of your slope. It is important to choose plants that have good erosion control properties and can establish strong root systems to stabilize the soil.
Groundcover Options for Steep Slopes Sun Exposure Soil Conditions
Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) Full sun Poor soil
Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) Full sun Well-drained
Green Carpet (Herniaria glabra) Full sun to partial shade Various soil conditions
Blue Star Creeper (Pratia pedunculata) Full sun to partial shade Various soil conditions
Remember to prepare the soil properly before planting and provide adequate water during the establishment period. Mulching can also help conserve moisture and reduce weed growth. With the right groundcover options, you can create a stunning slope garden that not only enhances the beauty of your landscape but also prevents erosion and preserves the stability of your steep slopes.

Tall Shrubs and Trees for Landscaping Steep Slopes

When it comes to creating a stunning landscape on steep slopes, incorporating tall shrubs and trees can provide both beauty and stability. The vertical dimension these plants offer can add depth to your slope garden, while their roots help anchor the soil and prevent erosion. Here are some recommended options for tall shrubs and trees that thrive on steep slopes:

Tall Shrubs:

  • Escallonia ‘Red Dream’: This evergreen shrub produces vibrant red flowers and glossy green foliage, adding a pop of color and texture to your slope garden.
  • Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Sheen’: With its silvery-green foliage and compact growth habit, this shrub is a great choice for creating a dense screen or border on steep slopes.


  • Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’: Known for its stunning burgundy foliage, this Japanese maple tree adds a touch of elegance and grace to any slope garden.
  • Callistemon viminalis ‘Slim’: With its weeping foliage and vibrant red bottlebrush flowers, this tree not only adds beauty to your landscape but also attracts birds and pollinators.
Before planting tall shrubs or trees on steep slopes, it’s essential to consider their mature size and growth habits. Ensure that they won’t obstruct views or pose any hazards. Additionally, proper soil preparation and regular maintenance are crucial for the health and longevity of these plants. Consult with a professional landscaper or garden center to determine the best options for your specific slope garden.
Plant Description Growth Habit Height Spread
Escallonia ‘Red Dream’ Evergreen shrub with vibrant red flowers and glossy green foliage. Upright, compact 1.5-2m 1-1.5m
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Sheen’ Shrub with silvery-green foliage and compact growth habit. Upright, dense 3-4m 2-3m
Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ Japanese maple tree with stunning burgundy foliage. Upright, spreading 4-6m 3-4m
Callistemon viminalis ‘Slim’ Tree with weeping foliage and vibrant red bottlebrush flowers. Upright, weeping 2-3m 1.5-2m

Groundcover Options for Erosion Control

Erosion control is a crucial aspect of gardening on steep slopes. To effectively prevent soil erosion and maintain the stability of your slope, it’s essential to choose the right groundcover options. These plants have strong root systems that hold the soil together, reducing the risk of erosion. Here are some groundcover options that are highly effective for erosion control:

Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus)

This evergreen groundcover forms dense clumps of narrow, dark green leaves. Its fibrous root system helps stabilize the soil, preventing erosion. Dwarf Mondo Grass is low-maintenance and thrives in both sun and shade. It’s also drought-tolerant, making it an excellent choice for slopes.

Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)

Creeping Juniper is a hardy groundcover with a spreading habit that forms a dense carpet of foliage. Its trailing branches and needle-like leaves help control erosion by covering the ground and holding the soil in place. This plant is also deer-resistant, making it suitable for areas with wildlife.

Prostrate Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)

This aromatic herb is an excellent choice for erosion control on slopes. Its trailing branches and needle-like leaves create a dense mat that prevents soil erosion. Prostrate Rosemary produces beautiful blue flowers in spring and requires full sun to thrive.
Groundcover Option Key Features Preferred Conditions
Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) Dense clumps of narrow, dark green leaves, strong root system Sun to shade, drought-tolerant
Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) Spreading habit, dense carpet of foliage, deer-resistant Full sun, adaptable to various soil conditions
Prostrate Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’) Trailing branches, needle-like leaves, aromatic, blue flowers Full sun
These groundcover options not only help control erosion on steep slopes but also add beauty to your landscape. Consider incorporating these plants into your gardening plans to create a visually appealing and environmentally friendly slope garden.

Tips for Gardening on Steep Slopes

Landscaping on steep slopes can present unique challenges, but with the right strategies, you can create a stunning and thriving landscape. Here are some helpful tips to ensure successful gardening on steep slopes:

1. Evaluate the Soil and Drainage

Before starting any gardening project on a steep slope, it’s important to assess the soil quality and drainage. Steep slopes can have different soil conditions, including poor drainage or nutrient deficiencies. Conduct a soil test to determine its composition and pH levels. If necessary, amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to improve its structure and fertility. Additionally, consider implementing drainage solutions, like terracing or installing French drains, to prevent water runoff and erosion.

2. Select the Right Plants

Choosing the appropriate plants for steep slopes is crucial for their survival and the overall success of your garden. Opt for plants with deep, extensive root systems that can anchor themselves securely in the soil. Native plants are often a great choice as they are adapted to the local conditions and can better withstand the challenges of steep slopes. Look for plants that are drought-tolerant, erosion-resistant, and low-maintenance. Groundcovers, such as creeping juniper or vinca minor, can provide excellent erosion control while adding visual interest to your slope garden.

3. Implement Terracing and Retaining Walls

Terracing and retaining walls can help create level planting areas on steep slopes, minimizing erosion and providing stability. Terracing involves creating multiple flat platforms or steps along the slope, allowing for easier access, planting, and water retention. Retaining walls, on the other hand, are vertical structures that hold back soil, preventing erosion and providing a foundation for planting. Both terracing and retaining walls can be constructed using various materials, such as wood, stone, or concrete blocks. Consider seeking professional help to ensure proper design and construction, especially for larger or more complex projects.

4. Mulch and Water Properly

Mulching is essential for gardening on steep slopes as it helps retain moisture, suppresses weed growth, and prevents erosion. Apply a layer of organic mulch around your plants, being careful not to cover the plant’s base. Mulch also acts as an insulator, protecting plants from extreme temperature fluctuations. Additionally, proper watering is crucial, especially during dry periods. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage plants to develop deep root systems. Consider using drip irrigation systems or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the roots, minimizing water waste and runoff. By following these tips, you can overcome the challenges of gardening on steep slopes and create a beautiful, sustainable, and low-maintenance landscape. Remember to plan and prepare carefully, select the right plants, and implement appropriate drainage and terracing solutions. With patience and proper care, your slope garden can become a stunning focal point of your outdoor space.


Gardening on steep slopes can be challenging, but with the right plants and techniques, you can create a beautiful and functional landscape. Consider the suggestions mentioned in this gardening guide to select the best plants for your steep slopes. Whether you choose groundcovers, tall shrubs, or erosion control options, these plants will help you beautify your slope garden while maintaining stability and reducing maintenance. By opting for suitable groundcover options, you can effectively control erosion on your steep slopes, preventing soil erosion and maintaining the stability of the slope. Tall shrubs and trees not only provide dimension and stability but also offer shade, creating a more comfortable environment. Incorporating these plants will transform your steep slopes into stunning landscapes. Remember, gardening on steep slopes requires some special considerations. Use the tips provided in this guide to successfully navigate the challenges of gardening on slopes. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a thriving garden that will enhance the beauty of your landscape for years to come. So, start transforming your steep slopes into stunning landscapes with these plant recommendations and gardening tips. Happy gardening!


What are some groundcover options for steep slopes?

Groundcover plants such as Liriope, Creeping Thyme, and Ajuga are excellent choices for steep slopes. They provide erosion control, add beauty to the landscape, and require less maintenance.

What tall shrubs and trees are recommended for steep slopes?

Some recommended options for tall shrubs and trees on steep slopes include Bottlebrush, Grevillea, and Banksia. These plants provide dimension, stability, and shade to your slope garden.

Which groundcover options are effective for erosion control on steep slopes?

Groundcover options such as Dichondra, Ophiopogon, and Dianella are effective for erosion control on steep slopes. These plants help prevent soil erosion and maintain the stability of the slope.

What are some tips for gardening on steep slopes?

Here are some tips for gardening on steep slopes: 1) Terracing the slope to create flat areas for planting, 2) Using retaining walls or rocks to control erosion, 3) Mulching to reduce water runoff, 4) Selecting plants with deep roots for stability, and 5) Regularly inspecting and maintaining the slope garden.

Source Links

Scroll to Top
Call Now: