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A surprise on every level.

A surprise on every level When a garden stretches out level from the house before dropping off into a ravine, the disappearing slope is usually considered no man's land. In California's mildest climates, such slopes are often given up to weeds such as pampas grass or broom.

Landscape designer Reed Lewis's garden presents an orderly surprise. It steps down a hill in handsome terraces supported by stone walls. And as the levels drop, the garden spaces become more secluded--and more utilitarian.

At the house level, Lewis chose assorted ornamentals to create a rich textural line when viewed from indoors. Railroad-tie stairs lead down to a terrace and seating area surrounded by herbs, perennials, and seasonal bloomers grown in containers.

On the next level down, raised beds between gravel paths brim with summer annuals for cutting, as well as with berries and an assortment of vegetables.

At the very base of the garden, Lewis built a series of compost bins, using loose concrete blocks and black plastic sheeting. These can't be seen from the house.

In summer, when warm weather draws people outside, the view from the upper garden is enticingly leafy. In winter, when people are indoors more, the bare beds remain out of sight down the slope.
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Title Annotation:slope gardening
Date:Nov 1, 1989
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