Installing a garden on a hillside is a challenge to say the least. We have been sheet mulching and digging terraces for raised beds on the side of a hill in 80 degree weather for a week now. It’s not the same as installing on a flat site. On a hillside, you are constantly uncentered and working to maintain your balance. Standing sideways, one leg is lower than the other, while standing facing up or down the hill, your feet are angled all the time. So, you are never balanced normally while working. This makes hauling straw bales, laying cardboard, swinging a pick, or digging, more strenuous. With temperatures in the 80s, we have been wearing out after about 4 hours of labor.
So far, we have laid the cardboard and sheet mulched about 3000 square feet of grass lawn. We are also cutting three 20 foot by 8 foot terraces in the hillside for raised annual beds. The client wanted maximum food production with low maintenance. Six raised beds plus one large in ground bed are being built. Rock walls will be built at the base of the hill to support beds for culinary herbs, which can be picked for cooking.
The annual garden and the herb beds will all happen this spring. In the fall, there will be fruit trees and fruiting shrubs added to the landscape. By spring of next year, this 5000 square foot space will be a food producing garden for humans and wildlife. No more lawn.