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By Helen Newling Lawson

Many landscapes have at least some degree of slope. In certain situations, a slope can be a design asset, allowing you to create interesting features or place certain garden elements at eye level. But steep slopes can create mobility or erosion issues that sometimes require some type of landscaping solution. For walls higher than approximately 1 foot, UGA professor Paul Pugliese advises you seek the advice of a professional. But many slopes can be managed with simple, inexpensive approaches.

Love the look of a rock garden? A slope can help make placed boulders look more natural, as if they have emerged through the hillside from natural erosion rather than by design. To get this effect, bury at least one-third of the rock below ground.

A hill can also make a stream or waterfall look like a natural occurrence. Whether you create a dry streambed to direct runoff during rains or install a pump to have a constant flow of water, a tumbling stream doesn’t make sense without a slope.

Installing a rain garden is an attractive and environmentally friendly way to collect runoff from a slope. Not only is a properly designed and planted rain garden a low-maintenance “self-watering” addition to your landscape, rain gardens also limit pollutants from reaching our waterways.

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