Ecology + Design

Landscape Design for Steep Slope Stabilization & Erosion Control | Old Tappan, NJ | Bergen County

Newly terraced slope stabilizes hillside. Natural stone steps make it accessible.

Our first landscape design project in Bergen County, New Jersey was a complex storm restoration project on a steep slope overlooking a river. During Hurricane Ida, historic rainfall collapsed the side yard slope just feet from the house.  Existing retaining walls began to collapse, and the once navigable slope was now too steep to walk comfortably down to the river.

Before photo: the slope collapsed during Hurricane Ida.

Landscape Design Goals

The client wanted to restore the slope into something beautiful that would resist erosion and restore functionality to their side yard. Green Jay Landscape Design created a design plan and erosion control plan that needed to be approved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as well as local regulatory agencies.

The sudden change in grade made this side yard dangerous and unusable.

Designing for Erosion Control

 The design plan includes several layers of erosion control strategies. First, many boulders were brought in and strategically placed to form the first layer of stabilization.

Boulder terraces and filtrexx socks work together to stabilize the slope and minimize erosion.

Next, we brought in sixty yards of engineered soil, specific to this application, to restore the grade to the pre-storm level. Installed within the soil are Filtrexx Socks, compostable “logs” that form the next level of barrier to keep the soil in place.

Boulder terraces retain the new soil.

Finally, the entire planting was planted into Jutte netting to an additional level of stabilization while plant roots get established. Eventually the Jutte will decompose and the plants will form a network of stabilizing roots.

Jutte netting lines each bed, stabilizing plants as their root systems develop. Natural stone staircase navigates the grade change.

All materials used are natural source organic materials sourced locally whenever possible.

Planting for Erosion Control


Boulder accents and evergreen Juniper mark the edge of the driveway.

When designing this erosion control planting, with part to full shade light conditions, we chose plants that:

  • Were mostly shrubs, which have larger root systems than most perennials
  • Included evergreens, for added structure and stability in winter
  • Provided habitat for local birds and pollinators. Most of this plant palette is made up of native plants.

Shrubs of varying heights stabilize the newly. graded slope.

Some plant palette highlights:

  • Red & Yellowtwig Dogwood
  • Ninebark
  • Viburnum
  • Aronia
  • Pennsylvania Sedge

Shade-loving perennials line the walkway bringing color to a dark side yard.

Natural Stone Masonry

Impeccable stone work effortlessly navigates the steep grade.

Staircase uses large natural stone steppers for a grand, naturalistic aesthetic.

Garden terraces formed by boulder rip rap walls, alongside a new natural stone staircase.

Impeccable stonework retains the grade around a landing in the natural stone staircase.

Much of the success of this design is due to the natural stone masonry. Aside from the boulder rip rap wall in the garden beds, our masonry team rebuilt a collapsed CMU wall and constructed new natural stone steps to navigate the steep slope. The result is beautiful, naturalistic and restores the functionality of the side yard as a corridor down to the river.

Wood chip path makes the steep slope down to the river accessible and a property asset.

We also restored part of the woodland trail to make it safer and more stable, using logs as water bars.

Cedar bark mulch lines the woodland trail. It is a natural insect repellent, which helps to extend the lifespan of the log steps and rail.

Water bars help navigate the slope and prevent erosion on the woodland trail.

This project is an excellent example of our Nature Design Studio, Primitive Technology Group and adminstrative staff working together efficiently for best results.

Work with Us

We have expanded into Bergen County, NJ! Contact us to schedule a professional on-site consultation and begin designing your dream landscape!

Green Jay Landscape Design

Where Design Meets Ecology


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