Read these 12 Terraced Gardening Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Raised Garden tips and hundreds of other topics.
Everyone's talking about slant, spin and bias. The only slant you're concerned with is the slope where you're creating your terraced garden designs. While pundits blather on cable networks about how to beat Big Oil or win the war on terror, you chatter about how to build a terraced garden. When you're building elevated gardens, you only need to know two angles--and no, they aren't "liberal" and "conservative." You need to know:
Knowing the slant isn't always a negative. in your case, it keeps you away from the TV so you spend more time planting fresh vegetables! Hey, that's one way to cut your food and gas costs.
You were the one who built Windsor Castle with your Erector set. You know how to build a terraced garden. Don't you? Actually, you've never built anything on an incline. The principles of Erector sets will help you with your terraced garden designs. Here's a crash course:
Tackle terraced garden designs on the weekend? No problem! Then you'll rewire your house...time to cut back on your caffeine. Rewiring the house takes longer than a weekend. Similarly, building elevated gardens is an attractive option if you have poor soil and a hilltop house, but don't understimate the difficulty level.
Before you run out and buy a book on how to build a terraced garden, take a cue from our weekend warrior hints:
You may not be dirt poor, but your dirt is poor or rocky. The beauty of raised gardens and elevated gardens is that you can use any kind of soil. There are just a few tips for making your dirt as rich as you wish you were:
When planning the dimensions of a raised bed, it's important to remember that all gardens need maintenance. The stunning effect of a very high or very wide bed is lessened if it's choked with weeds or spent blooms; consider access points in planning. Wide terraces can include paths or steps for easy access, or decorative flat rocks can give the gardener a place to step.
You'd love to have a vast orchard, but the only available planting space you own is your front yard slope. You're reading up on how to build a terraced garden, but none of your books on terraced garden designs mention fruit trees.
Fear not--you don't have to put up with lines at the grocery store for fresh fruit. You can even plant grape arbors in your elevated gardens--Thomas Jefferson did just that. Espalier apple trees can grow around or in your bottom terraced garden bed. We also like:
While buildings with wheelchair ramps are mandatory and more common in California, say, than on the East Coast, too great a gradient is a barrier. Raised bed gardens are a boon to people with disabilities who love to garden, but what about gardening on a slope? Carry On Gardening offers several hints.
Many terraced garden designs feature gently sloping paths that are a 1 to 15 inch gradient--in other words, they rise one foot every fifteen feet. Also, shallow steps with four-inch risers are desirable, if you're frustrated over how to build a terraced garden that's accessible and enjoyable. When you're walking or riding on your elevated garden paths, you might want to stop and rest, or sit and compost your elevated gardens.
You can remove parts of the earth to provide flat areas. While you're resting, you might be worried over how to tend all of your terraced garden. Try interspersing rocky gardens on steep slopes with accessible raised beds and ground cover plants such as ajuga, berberis, lavender, and rock roses in inaccessible areas.
Now if your local movie theater would provide a ramp instead of steep steps, you'd be happy--after all, you can't spend every day in the garden.
You thought that beach house or house on a hill would be paradise, until you tried to garden on a rolling, rocky slope. Fortunately, you're not in a California mudslide area. Besides, rocky slopes with less-than-ideal soil are perfect for elevated gardens. Some of the advantages of terraced garden designs include:
You'd like to construct an elaborate terraced garden on your hillside a la the Villa Gamberia and the Villa D'Este, but you don't have the lira--actually, Italy switched to the Euro. You don't have the Euro, but you do have a prefab kit for elevated gardens. Will it work when you're building a terraced garden?
Prefab garden kits tend to work best on level ground, unless you choose a "stepper" in which you would have to mound dirt and build a high timber base anyway. It's difficult deciding how to build a terraced garden when you have limited resources, which is why step-up kits are terrific for elevated gardens. You can also use tires and blocks of stone to form an elevated garden.
It's not quite the elaborate design scheme found in a palazzo or with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but it will help you make the most of gardening on a slope without blowing your Euros. Ciao bella!
Will tomatoes grow in your elevated garden or will they rock and roll down the slope? Talk about fast food! Part of the fun of deciding how to build a garden, especially planning how to build a terraced garden, is choosing what to plant.
Celebrity gardener Rebecca Kolls advises that if you have a steep incline that won't lent itself well to terraced garden borders of rock and wood, you can plant border flowers such as parahebe. Inside the borders of elevated gardens, you can plant ajuga.
Hostas are a huge topic, and a hugely popular plant. In your terraced garden designs, you can plant a hosta as a cover for golden bleeding heart. Just make sure that your terraced garden plants are perennials, which are easier to care for and low-maintenance the first year you plant.
As for those tomatoes, anchor them in enclosed beds with trellises or tepees to keep them from succumbing to gravity and you won't have to worry about scraping spaghetti sauce off the hill.
When planning the dimensions of a raised bed, it’s important to remember that all gardens need maintenance. The stunning effect of a very high or very wide bed is lessened if it’s choked with weeds or spent blooms; consider access points in planning. Wide terraces can include paths or steps for easy access, or decorative flat rocks can give the gardener a place to step.
You couldn't use solar power and help the environment because you live in the rainy Northwest. Because of all the water on your slope, you can't build an elevated garden that will last. It's either move or find a way to respect the environment while battling the elements. Some terraced garden designs don't actually need a terraced garden.
DoItYourself.com recommends using groundcovers other than grass--you don't like to use your power mower and you can't, anyway, because your slope is too steep. DoItYourself.com suggests some attractive groundcovers that help the environment and improve the appearance of your lawn:
This technique of how to build a terraced garden is called stripcropping. These strp gardens are better than strip malls, will contribute to the health of the ecosystem, and will make you happy that you chose to live in a rainy climate.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|