Terracing has historically been the best way to deal with slopes, which can be difficult and even dangerous to maintain. A terraced landscape is created by building a series of retaining walls, allowing space for level beds or lawns. From stone and brick for traditional gardens to concrete, metal and railroad ties for contemporary landscape designs, we have a wide choice of materials to create retaining walls, but the plantings are what can really add style to the terrace.
The real joy, though, of these raised beds is that the plants are brought up to eye level.
This style of planting can be reasonably high maintenance, however, especially with the inclusion of herbaceous perennials that require attention throughout the growing season. For this reason, the retaining walls shown here are low, and the terraced beds are are kept wide in order to carry out maintenance safely.
Different-size beds accommodate both large and small plants without a great deal of competition.
The plantings are used to emphasize the clean lines of the walls. Grasses can be perfect to achieve this. The Festuca grasses used here become low-maintenance ground covers as they grow, requiring minimal irrigation or tending.
Ornamental grasses can be a good plant choice, as terraces can drain freely, but the selection is important; choose those that are happy to survive in existing conditions.
The glaucous coloring of the succulents contrasts well with the metal, and the plants are perfect for dry conditions. The gravel mulch aids drainage and prevents water evaporation while providing a great textural contrast against the plantings and steel.
The precise plantings in this terraced front garden link all the beds of differing height and size because they have the same color and tone.
The terraced plantings are minimalistic on the lower levels, with manicured lawn stepping up to a line of ornamental grasses — the whole creating the theater for the living wall at the rear of the garden.