Yard Makeover: Design for a Sloping L-Shaped Garden

With a little landscaping love, this uneven, exposed garden gets a dining space and some privacy.
Garden Map

Garden Map

The site plan for this awkwardly shaped garden includes a cross-section of the slope.

Photo by: DK - Design Your Garden © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Design Your Garden, 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

The site plan for this awkwardly shaped garden includes a cross-section of the slope.

The drama in this garden comes from the slope; the difficulty is the corridor effect created by the alley down the side of the house. This part of the garden is also overlooked by neighboring upstairs windows. The slope was grassed over and uneven, with no level space for a dining area: terraces were needed to create more usable spaces. The owners were looking for a formal design with herbaceous borders, and they also wanted to retain a few of the mature trees. 

Garden Format 

Garden: L-shaped 80 feet x 35 feet ( 25 meters x 11 meters) 

Owners: Couple that loves plants and gardening 

Aspect: Southeast-facing 

View: Leafy gardens to the sides and back 

Wants and Needs

  • Dining area close to the house 
  • Herbaceous plants with some structural trees 
  • Semi-formal design 
  • Somewhere to sit and view the plants 
  • Potager or vegetable plot 
  • Greenhouse to grow seeds and tender species 
  • Lush lawn as a foil for the plants

Design Solution

Squares are elegant, but not dynamic, so instead the final landscape design (see above sketch) uses two circles: One is a dining area, paved with granite cobbles, and the second is a lawn inset with brick steps. A wooden arbor over the patio solves the privacy problem. In addition:

  • Planting ideas for the arbor include a vine, honeysuckle and hops. When planted up, it will offer some shade and privacy from the neighbors. 
  • Broad, deep steps leading from the arbor to the first circle open up the area and make the yard look wider.
  • White planting in the garden beds is elegant and contrasts with the granite paving. 
  • Curved brick steps are integrated Into the circular lawn. 
  • Formal seats set in the beds alongside the lawn offer a good view of the plants. 
  • A vegetable patch and greenhouse are hidden behind screens at the far end of the yard.
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