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Easy CareEasy-care features : Planting a bank


A bank can be a problem weedy area, but there are ways to reduce the effort. When a new house is built on a sloping site, earth-moving often leaves one or more banks, or cuttings. These can be close to the house running along one or more sides, or alongside a driveway entrance. The bank can rise back from the house, or slope away from it.

Planting a bank

Planting a bank

In either case, a bank can present a difficult problem. The usual approach is to plant these banks with shrubs or flowers of various kinds. The result is nearly always an unsatisfactory garden feature that does not fit in very well with the rest of the garden but requires considerable maintenance effort to control weeds.


There are three possible solutions that will reduce the effort of maintaining a difficult bank. The most obvious answer is simply to reduce the grade of the bank further. In the case of a slope away from the house, this can involve filling the slope. Then it can be grassed over as an extension of the adjoining lawn area.

If the slope is too steep to be reduced, or a boundary is in the way, an alternative is to build a retaining wall and fill in behind. Then a terrace of lawn, paving or shrubs can be installed, as appropriate.

Planting a bank

Planting a bank

If it is not possible to soften the slope or to terrace it, the third option is to plant it with suitable plants. Trees, shrubs and perennial flowers should be planted up just as a full-scale mixed border would be, not just relying on ground-cover plants and low-growing plants alone.

If the bank is near a boundary, the bank/border should run back to the boundary with trees filling the back. The advantage of mixed planting is that it is easier to maintain than a motley scatter of low shrubs or groundcover alone, and it looks much better. The slope is lost among taller plants whereas low plants just mirror the slope.

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