Suggestions for a backyard slope with partial sun

by Bob
(Lowell, MA)

Backyard slope to woods

Backyard slope to woods

Very pleased to have found your site.
Hoping you have some suggestions for a sloped portion of my backyard that faces west and gets little sun after the morning due to trees on the side and back of my property.

The area is about 8' to 10' from the retaining wall to the woods behind us. In the picture I've attached you can also see a concrete retaining wall on the adjoining property. Ideally I'd like to add some color back here and put in something that will eventually hide the wall once the foliage drops. Bird friendly shrubs would be a plus as I love to feed the birds.

I'm not opposed to taking out some of the small swamp maples in the back. There are two major shade trees (both giant oaks) that sit on the side and in the back of my property. One can be seen in the picture.

Hope you can help. Thanks for any advice.



Hi Bob,
If I understand you correctly, you want to plant the area above the wall which extends back about 8 to 1o feet. In addition, you would like to plant in front of the wall to soften it.
If this is not correct, let me know.

The length of the area above the wall looks quite long. If you wan to keep it more simple and less expensive, you could incorporate lots of landscape plants along with some pretty groundcovers.

Not sure if you have a deer problem. If you don't, I happen to love English Spreading Yews and Hydrangea. You could also use some Rhus aromatica 'Gro Low' which looks nice on a slope and provides great fall color. I would also definitely add a few ornamental trees such as Dogwood or White Birch.

Plant the shrubs in masses of 3 to five (minimum) each. Add in Ajuga, Pachysandra, and or Vinca for groundcovers.

In front of the wall, sue some additional shrubs...Butterfly Bush (perennial), Lilac, Little Princess Spirea, China Girl Holly, Viburnum. These are just some ideas. Again, plant them in groups, alternate varieties. See my page on Landscaping Ideas.

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Apr 21, 2010
Plants for Hiding a Wall
by: Susan

Ahh, I see now!

I would suggest a mixture of Hemlock trees and native Rhodendrons. They both grow naturally in the woods and thus will look as if they belong. Hemlocks get very large. Rhodos will take a long time to get big but will never compare in size to the Hemlocks. So go heavier on the Hemlocks.


Apr 21, 2010
Your ideas for slope in backyard
by: Bob

Thanks for the suggestions Susan. The only clarification I wanted to make was with respect to planting something that might eventually hide the large retaining wall on my neighbor's property in the background of the picture, although your idea of planting something in front of the lower retaining wall is a great one. I like that idea, and it will help with the fact that the lawn doesn't grow well there due to shade.

If you have any other ideas for what might help to hide the upper wall over time, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks again.

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