idea for this hill???

cksetzerJune 14, 2012

Hey all! First let me say I really like this site. Ive been lurking a bit and thought I would ask for suggestions on an eye sore ive been wanting to tackle. This hill is in front of house and really needs something done...Im thinking just seed it with grass or cover it with some sort of creeping juniper. Of course grass means extra work with a weedeater so I'm considering something with less maintenance. I would love to here from you all to see what you all consider. We are located dead middle of NC and the ground is very rocky... so with that said what do you all think?

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You could make it into a rock garden too.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Hard to come up with anything that is less maintenance than grass- mowing is pretty "do it and it's done." Beds need to be weeded as do rock gardens. Even low growing junipers would need to be hand weeded and that is far more time consuming than passing by with a mower.

So how much time are you willing to put in the first year or so?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 9:37PM
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The sand soil and it's sloped situation are low water-holding capacity.even weed don't grow well.don't worry weed.some rock and compost mulch hell plants growing.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 4:20AM
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Well, IMO a neglected rock garden would end up looking like weedy rip rap so might as well do that to begin with.
I'd be tempted to build a low retaining wall and just extend the lawn.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:09AM
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IF you do a good job of KILLING or eradicating weeds prior to planting, and IF you do a good job of eradicating newly sprouted weeds while the new groundcover establishes and "knits" together--especially during the first two years--AND you provide supplemental watering, THEN you will be rewarded with lower maintenance (even than mowing) but not NO maintenance. Carefully using Roundup will be easier and much faster than hand-pulling weeds. Once weeds are well under control, hand-weeding will probably be easy to keep up with.

It's likely that grass will never look good without regular supplemental watering.

Avoid "wiggly"-edged groundcover beds as that will be counter to good looks. Lines that reflect the sweeping curve of the road and the terrain would make more sense.

Plants to consider as a groundcover might be:

Antennaria (aka Pussytoes)


Dianthus 'Firewitch' (strong bloom color) or 'Bath pink'

Vinca minor

Juniper (low growing types, but not 'Shore')

Make selection based on how well any of them perform locally. For a clean look and lowest maintenance use only one type groundcover.

If you're not in a hurry, you could create and mulch the groundcover bed and easily keep the weeds killed for the first season (while giving some supplemental water to rid it of wannabe sprouts. ) Then plant in the fall. The bed will need trench edges in order to hold mulch. Pine straw will stay in place; bark will not.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Maybe,so a nice combination design always is most important.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:40AM
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Thanks for all the advice!! Yardvaark thanks to you we have extended our thought concepts on what to plant! We were thinking just a creeping juniper but we looked over some of your suggestions and we, mainly the wife but Im easy to please, loved a few you listed. Thanks agian to all and once we begin we will post updates.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 7:35AM
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Oh one question though... you mentioned pinestraw would stay put but bark will not. COuld you elaborate? We are thinking of mulching around the house and yard soon. Suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 7:36AM
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The profile of that slope would be something like gentle slop - steep slope - gentle to curb, if you grassed it over as is the steep bit would be difficult to mow and the grass wouldn't grow well. If you graded the area so that it was ALL gentle slope you would make maintenance easier and provide better conditions for grass.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 9:27AM
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on a slope, bark washes off in rainwater. Pinestraw stays in place better... though will still wash some in voluminous rain. On level ground, bark works fine.

Keep weeds in beds well controlled or your project will become unmanageable and look bad.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 5:48PM
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OK great! Thanks again!! We will post follow ups as we begin and continue to work on this.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:15AM
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It looks like that the purpose of the slope is divert water into the shallow drainage ditch beside the road. I don't know if I would interfere with that function at all. Instead, I would incorporate a few big boulders randomly along the "hill"sides, then add an informal mixed shrub and conifer bed, dug into the rocky soil wherever it is easiest. Mulching with pine straw would only be necessary until the plants became mature enough to inhibit weed growth.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 12:34PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I agree that the drainage function is clearly important, but I don't think that drawing the beginning of the slope back toward the trees as Inkognito suggests would necessarily interfere with that. Obviously you don't want to soften the grade by dumping excess soil at the bottom!

It is always tempting to deal with an area where grass does not grow well by ripping out the grass and replacing it with something. The problem is that EVERYTHING, other than some sort of paving, is more work than grass, especially if you still have grass elsewhere and so will still be walking right by the area with the mower anyway.

In contrast, we are just taking out a small lawn area in our back yard that is the only grass we have. So we will have to do other garden work, but we will not have to get the mower out at all.

If you remove sod for something other than paving, you will be on your hands and knees weeding, or wielding a string trimmer, or spreading mulch, on an ongoing basis, AND likely doing a lot of work up front removing sod, installing rocks, and so on.

If you WANT to do that, that's fine (and we do). But if you are trying to avoid the work of lawn care, well...

Karin L

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Getting grass to grow would be, to me, the best of your options. The grass on top of the slope doesn't appear to be in the best of shape either, so it's a whole front yard project.

My slope, beside one of the driveways, is about as steep as yours but not as expansive. It would burn out pretty quickly, but I'd topdress with compost twice a year; broadcast some alfalfa meal pellets (which never seemed to draw rabbits or any creature wanting to eat them) at the same time. Took a couple of seasons, but it now has nice, thick grass.

Creeping junipers will ultimately get grass and weeds in them despite landscape fabric, mulch, etc. Cut the grass when it's got seed heads and it'll surely blow in.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 1:45PM
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Not sure how much money you have for the project, but doing a terraced retaining wall would be nice. Top tier would be the grass then do plant beds for the bottom tier. I have no idea what grows in NC, but any flowers, etc would look nice in the plant beds. Maybe some plants that stay year-long and others you can plant each season to change things up a bit.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 10:22PM
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rosiew(8 GA)

I've found cypress mulch to be extremely effective on a slope. It doesn't tend to wash the way pine bark does.

Looking forward to seeing what y'all do with this.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 7:11AM
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