Design Trend – Terraced Gardens

  • 5 minutes
  • 12 March 2020

Looking for a creative way to tackle your tricky sloping block? Level up with this month’s design trend and create an amphitheatre of lush foliage with terraced gardens!

Design Trends of the Month - Sloping Blocks with Terraced Gardens | ModularWalls

Landscaping hack for sloping blocks

Steeply sloped blocks can be quite a challenge to work with. Furthermore, the cost of retaining walls over 750mm can usually skyrocket, especially when custom engineering is involved.

However, terraced gardens can offer an accessible solution to creating a more functional garden design from your sloped yard. By using tiered retaining walls, it can tackle the overall incline — and subsequent soil pressure — in increments. This solution not only delivers a practical retaining solution, but also offers a stunning cascade of gardens to frame your outdoor space!


Themed terrace gardens

With the addition of layered gardens, you’ve now been given the truly powerful gift of creative freedom. You’ve now multiplied the amount of garden beds available to you; so take advantage of them! Below are some trending garden themes that could add a designer touch to your terraced garden; you can either stick to one, or mix a few together!

Architectural gardens

If you’re looking for a structured garden aesthetic, consider an architectural garden theme. By designing an architectural garden you can introduce trending plant choices, purposeful shapes and textural contrasts that harmonise with the existing architectural values of a home. The result? A sophisticated, artful wall of greenery and blooms!


Bedhead gardens

There is nothing quite as hypnotic as the sway of ornamental grasses in a breeze…so you can only imagine what it would be like to watch layers upon layers of them! If you’re looking for easy, carefree landscaping with movement and lightness, bedhead gardens are the perfect choice for you.

Native Terraced Gardens - Design Trends | ModularWalls

Native gardens

Aussie flora offers a distinct beauty; decorative seed pods, sparse foliage, flowers engineered for resilience. If you’re looking to showcase the best of Australia’s bush, create layers of natives; grevilleas, bottle brush, banksia. They’re usually hardy, lower maintenance, offer striking colour palettes and even attract and feed birds!


Drought tolerant gardens

Further to the above, drought tolerant gardens are the epitome of low maintenance; this can be a great factor for terraced gardens where access to the upper levels is limited. This can be anything from cacti and succulents, to hardy desert grasses and silver foliage plants. For more info and inspo, check out our full run down on drought tolerant gardens.


Edible gardens

Want a garden that gives a lil somethin’ back? Why not take a more holistic approach and invest in an edible garden?

For example, terraces offer the perfect opportunity to grow contained gardens, a big factor of successful veggie patches. By sectioning off certain groups whilst still employing permaculture hacks like companion planting and gravity irrigation systems, you can grow everything from herbs to fruits and roots!

Outdoor Fireplace Before & After With DIY Retaining Wall | ModularWalls

Terraced garden design features

When designing your terraced yard, there are a few considerations and elements that can make your life a lot easier.


Steps and paths

Access and functionality are a key question to answer. Do you want every level to be accessible? Will some levels be for aesthetics only? Would you like to wander through your terraces, or simply admire them from below? This will dictate where you need paths and stairs.


Living zones

Further to the above point, you should consider how you want to use each level; gardens are not the only option. If space permits, you create living zones on different levels, nestled amongst the terraces! Some ideas include:

  • Built-in bench seating
  • Outdoor fire pit area
  • Deck or patio
  • Pond or terrarium for small pets


Feature plants

Whilst modern gardens usually limit choices to a few specific plants planted en masse, a feature plant can help create striking focal points. Some popular feature plants and trees that include:

  • Dragon trees (dracaena)
  • Bird of paradise (strelitzia)
  • Grass trees (xanthorrhoea)
  • Foxtail fern (asparagus aethiopicus)
  • Ponytail palms (beaucarnea recurvata)
  • ‘Birthday Candles’ banksia (banksia spinulosa)
  • Prickly pear (opuntia)
  • Bird’s nest fern (asplenium nidus)
  • Flowering gum (corymbia ficifolia)
  • Elephant ears (colocasia)
  • Foxtail agave (agave attenuata)
  • River wattle (acacia cognata)
Backyard Lighting Ideas - Landscaping Garden Lights | ModularWalls

Outdoor lighting

What’s the point of good landscaping if you can only see it half the time? Bring some magic and depth into those levels and light it up! From solar lights, to wall lights, to garden lanterns and fairy lights, there are so many outdoor lighting options to make your garden come to life at night.


Irrigation systems

The natural gravity of terraced gardens create a lot of flexibility with irrigation systems. It’s also an important factor to consider when deciding on how many level you want access to; if you can’t water it by hand, you’ll want to consider an irrigation system.

Not to mention, the other key factor is drainage; for the retaining walls to remain strong and avoid damage, there needs to be adequate drainage at every level. But, again, you can organise this when discussing the irrigation system; for instance, the lowest level could be a rain garden designed purely to use run-off.


Water features

What better opportunity will you get to build your very own waterfall? A terraced garden lends itself beautifully to water features, whether is it a simple water dish or a multi-level design. This may also be a factor to include when discussing your drainage and irrigation plans!

Smart Gardens - Design Trend of the Month | ModularWalls

Smart garden systems

Mow the lawn, heat up the hot tub, switch on the landscape lighting and schedule the soaker hose overnight…all with the press of a button from your couch, on the train or out at dinner! Smart garden systems are the latest trend for automated homes. Not only is it incredibly convenient (especially for tiered gardens and sloping blocks), but it’s actually been suggested to be more energy efficient!