Xeric design for hillside

whitehautephotoMay 17, 2012

We are clearing a hillside this coming weekend of EVERYTHING, it's got some huge bushes that are overgrown, some trees that never really did well (still staked after 5 years), and ground cover that has taken over everything and not the style we want. We're hopefully getting it all to bare dirt. We've purchased a bunch of succulents and desert plants to plant on the hillside, and we'd like to keep it as sparse as possible. Since we're in Southern California, we still get the winter rains so we want to protect against erosion, but we also don't want to fill the whole thing with new groundcover, we want to go for a Palm Springs style of landscaping.

The hillside on our side of the property probably goes vertically about 12 feet, and the slope is probably 30 degrees. The hillside extends another probably 50 feet behind our house, however that's all property of the developer, and is maintained as such. What's nice is there's a large concrete rain gutter that runs the length of the back of our property, so run-off from the larger upper hillside won't make it down onto "our" hillside, so that should help with erosion.

We'd love to put down a layer of decomposed granite over everything, but that's going to take a LOT for this size of area. What do you guys think of just leaving it bare, with spots of groundcover here and there, and then the plants (mostly ornamental grasses and other xeric plants)?

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We always plant big trees first,then plants shrubs.then put down a layer of decomposed granite over everything and put down sod.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 9:45PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Weeds love bare earth.

Photos would help understand your situation, can you post a few? Wide views to show context, from various vantage points.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 1:02AM
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"What do you guys think of just leaving it bare, with spots of groundcover here and there, and... ?"

It sounds like a plan guaranteed to bring unattractiveness and ongoing maintenance difficulties.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Leaving it bare just begs for ongoing erosion, not to mention a prime breeding ground for weeds.

Xeric is very easy to generate in your area for a sloped situation - between succulents, some selected native plants and a couple of appropriate groundcovers you should be good to go. But you need SOMETHING to cover the soil surface, be it plants or rocks or other types of mulch. Otherwise you are just asking for problems.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 3:40PM
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