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There are many reasons to consider creating a multi-level garden, from visual interest to making the most of a sloped yard. If you’re a master of gardening DIY, try creating your own split level garden. If not, work with a professional landscaper to make your dream a reality. 

What is a Multi-Level Landscape? 

A tiered or multi-level garden can take many forms, shapes, and sizes. Any outside space with more than one level is tiered. This could include a backyard with grass-covered steps and flower beds, a patio with stairs up to a second level, or terraces created using retaining walls. 

Why Create a Tiered Garden? 

A flat, one-dimensional garden can be beautiful. It’s a blank space on which you can create your dream flower beds, sitting areas, and vegetable plots. Some choose to build tiers or levels in this space simply for the added visual bonuses. 

Tiers add vertical space, multiple levels, extra focal points, and a lot of drama and visual interest. There are also practical reasons to create this type of garden. For instance, if you have a severe slope that makes it difficult to grow anything, cutting terraces into the space provides platforms for beds. 

Tiered spaces also allow you to compartmentalize outdoor space and make a smaller space feel larger. One level can be a vegetable garden, another a native bed, and yet another a sitting area. Water features also work well in terraced gardens, allowing water to flow down the stepped beds. 

Ideas for a Split Level Garden

A split level backyard can be tricky to plan and implement. You may want to consult with a landscaper to do the work or to help with the design. Here are some ideas to inspire your project: 

  • Elevated patio. Create a tier or terrace for your patio area to elevate it above the garden. This gives you a separate space and a great view for entertaining. 
  • Tiered decking. If you don’t want to disrupt your garden, create levels with your deck. It’s a simple way to add more visual interest. Use containers on the deck levels as an addition to your garden. 
  • Raised beds. Another way to add more levels without overhauling the entire yard is to create some large, raised beds. 
  • Terrace a hill. Terracing is an ancient farming practice to get more use out of a hilly space. If your yard is steep, cut terraces to create levels and flat spaces for planting. 
  • Use walls. Simple cut terraces are great, but retaining walls ensure they stay in place. They also provide a vertical scaffold for growing vines. 

Adding levels to a garden can be a simple or involved project. Always plan before you start digging, and enlist a professional if you get in over your head. 

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.