Here’s a good article on landscaping ideas for sloping yards by the Editors of Better Homes & Gardens.
A gentle slope relies on shade-hardy plants for textural interest.
Big brush strokes of color — from the same plant — draw up the eye through the landscape; here, a bright red stretch of astilbe beckons at the top of the path.
A terra-cotta container offers a no-fuss way to integrate additional flowers and foliage along a slope.
The selection and placement of hardscape materials reinforces the style of a garden setting, as with these free-form stacked boulders at the path’s edge.
Bright blooms of yellow sedum soften the geometric angles of path and edging.
Wide and deep, the steps offer a leisurely stroll up the hill with plenty of shade-lovers for view along the way, including sedum and lamb’s ear.
Pretty plants and trees make quick work of a steep incline.
The design of a slope is as much about the approach as it is about the angle of the hill; here, a grass path sinuously curves around plantings to draw visitors toward the stairs.
Retaining walls present a garden conundrum: How do you dress them up without them looking fussy? A series of simple metal trellis and flowering vines does the trick here.
With no spot along the slope for a resting spot, a bench offers a breather before the rise of the stairs.
Shrubs and trees such as a full moon maple maintain year-round visual interest.
Restrained yet elegant plants, including hostas, roses, and coralbells, provide a cohesive visual style.
A Steady Incline
A hillside garden relies on uncomplicated plants and a straightforward path.
A switchback path makes quick work of a steep hillside and helps reduce erosion.
A path’s design can add visual interest to a landscape; here, the flagstones are mortared into place in an understated pattern.
To shorten the approach to the boathouse and dock, the path neatly segues into a series of steps at key curves.
Slope safety is key; this simple metal version fades discreetly into background.
Ivy works as a vigorous, no-fuss groundcover, with a few shrubs here and there to up the vertical interest.
Broken by a series of terraces, a gentle slope strikes the right notes.
Slight slopes such as this one can become boring when planted with just grass. Elements such as terraces break up the rise, offering plenty of gardener-friendly spots for flowers and shrubs.
A shrub or two placed on each terrace maintains visual and textural consistency.
Just as an unbroken slope equals blah, an unbroken wall can be a distraction. White latticework offers cover as well as a spot for a climbing vine.
Trees can be used — or omitted — to enclose a yard or open it up. To one side of this yard, a cluster of trees shields the area from the neighbors, while the other side has a nearly unobstructed view of the expansive back yard.
Neither exotic nor overdone, the plant selection, including black-eyed Susans and daylilies, offers a pretty, pleasing palette.
Plants and materials in similar colors break up a steep expanse.
Resting spots on hillsides can come in many forms, such as a table and chairs, a pergola, or another structural element.
Offering hardscape elements as separation between the grades in a garden is a visual trick to rest the eye; here, a small gate marks the end of the stairs.
Plants and materials should complement each other in style and form. The color of the wood rail fence echoes the stonework, while its casual style recalls the rail near the gate.
The stairs up the slope neatly transition into a series of terraced beds.
Repeated groupings of plants such as dusty miller, salvia, phlox, and impatiens, provide visual consistency.