Stone wallIf you live in an environment with mountains and slopes or there are other reasons for level changes in the garden there are different ways to deal with this.

You can use ramps as a smooth means of changing level in the garden. That can have an interesting effect especially in large gardens. In smaller gardens and with steep slopes another solution may be preferred. This is a matter of taste and specific wishes. I hope to give you some ideas with this article.

Disadvantages of slopes

If it has not rained for a long period some plants may need extra watering. If the soil is very dry the water will not get sucked into the ground immediately. If the ground slopes the water will immediately flow to the lower part of the garden. The plants on higher ground will stay dry. The ground at the top may also dry out faster. Of course you can solve this by putting a watering system in the ground but you can also solve this by changing the design of your garden.

Another disadvantage of slopes is that the ground can more easily wash away in heavy rainfall.


You can cope with or create level changes by using retaining walls and steps. Basically this is a onetime adjustment which you should enjoy for a long time. There are many possibilities with retaining walls. I will show you the solutions I have used and mentioned some other ideas.

Steep slopes

Broken paversIt is best to cut up the slope into smaller parts. You can create some smaller horizontal parts with planting and low retaining walls instead of one high wall. This is safer and potentially more attractive.

In my garden I have only a small level change. I have used various solutions. In the past I have stacked a wall with pavers of 12 by 12 inches (30 by 30 cm) that where cut in half. This gives you the opportunity to place small plants in between the cracks. The plants in my garden did not get any sunlight in that wall which is why it did not work for me. That is why I decided to build a smoother wall with concrete blocks.

There are many materials available for building retaining walls like amongst others natural stone, concrete, wood and steel. You can for example pour a concrete wall, build a wall with bricks or place a wooden, plastic or steel retaining wall. It is nice if the used materials fit in with the style of the house and the environment.

Stone wall and stairsFor the steps I have used U-shaped concrete elements. At first I chose to place the elements with the open side out. You can place some plants within the elements for a natural look. Years after that I had them turned around. That looked better to me and after I have them decorated with patchwork tiles it will look wonderful. I will show you the result in a next article.

Also for steps there are many possibilities available. There is something for everyone. You can for example build a steps with bricks. You can use concrete or natural stone blocks. You can also choose to use wood or metal.

Be careful with the use of wood. It can easily become slippery. Concrete and natural stone hardly have this problem and they will last much longer.

Small height difference

Pavers as retaining wallThere are also nice solutions for small height differences in your garden. At first I used tiles of 16 by 24 inches (40 by 60 cm). I placed them upright and dug them partially into the ground. It is not very expensive but not very pretty either.

Steel retaining wallLater I chose a metal retaining wall. It looks better and has a nicer colour that fits better into how I envisioned my garden.

For another part of my garden I have used U-shaped concrete elements. You can use them as a bench as well. As announced in my article about patterned pavers I have brightened up the concrete elements with patchwork tiles. You can see the result in my article Patterned tiles in the garden.The advantage of using concrete is that you can paint it and plaster it with tiles and mosaic. All to your own liking.

There are many more solutions to deal with small differences in height. Take a look on the internet for the latest possibilities.Concrete U elements