Huuuuuuge bed along driveway

kbard(6b PA)September 23, 2013

Hi everyone. I have a flag shaped lot with a long paved driveway. I think it's at least 300 feet long. On one side, the ground is is flat and it's just grass the whole way. On the other side, there is a 10-12 foot wide "bed" (huge mess) and the whole thing slopes up away from the driveway. Above that is the neighbors yard which is grass and it levels out up there, not much hill.

It's almost all full sun. It has some juniper, and a few small trees. My problem is that I DO NOT want to spend my time working on this 3000-4000 sq foot bed that you can't even see from the house. Some of it is covered with juniper, and yes I can pull the weeds out that grow through, but not when there is like 500 sq ft of juniper. Some of it is just bare ground, now with weeds 3 ft tall. I will not consider mulch.

I want a long term solution. The bed is too steep to mow with our tractor. Could weed whack it all periodically but that is not attractive. I'm very close to hiring a landscaper but thought you all may be able to help with some ideas about what to do with it.
My ideas so far: grass it in and buy a push mower for that area (but it's no where near any water so may be hard to get it started?) hydroseeding?
Kill it all and plant some kind of prairie grass that we can just cut down once per year (but how to keep the weeds/trees out? I do not know much about grasses
Thanks guys

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please submit a picture that shows the overall situation.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 11:24AM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

We come across this challenge fairly often in my hilly area of northern California, especially homes that are situated in the wine growing region - long winding hilly driveways.
A common planting practice that we found to work well is to choose one variety of tree that is well adapted to the region and dot either side of the driveway with the trees ( Olives, oaks or crape myrtles) then under-plant it with a mass of drought tolerant / low maintenance/ high visual impact ornamental grass (pennisetum, stipa or festuca) - usually only one species and perhaps an accent mass planting of a contrasting sub shrub ( lavender,mexican sage, or teucrium.)
Then we apply a thick layer of mulch to keep the weeds down.
The ornamental grasses are weed wacked once a year and the accent shrub is cut back depending on the genus once a year.
Very low maintenance yet very high visual impact.

attached is one example on a relatively small entrance of about 150 ft long x 35 wide ( similar to your sq. ft. dimensions)
The trees are fruitless olives and the grasses are stipa tenuissima.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 1:36PM
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kbard(6b PA)

That looks very nice. Actually mine is not quite as steep as that one. I will take a pic when I get home... be prepared to be shocked and appalled.
I wonder how much it would cost to have a few hundred grass plants like that planted by a landscaping company and mulched... :-X

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 1:49PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

The cost will be determined by a variety of factors such as existing conditions that have to be eradicated before new planting can commence, existing soil structure and if soil amendments need to be imported and worked in, minor or major regrading, erosion control if required, irrigation if required, size and quantity of plants, local labor rates and local costs of plants, mulch, soil amendments and delivery rates.
It's a hard one to call - best to have a plan with specifications to work off of so that you can get exact comparable bids from two or three landscape contractors.
If you decide to draft up the plans yourself make sure you note as much information as possible so that you receive and apples to apples bid.
When there is not enough exacting information there is room for 'interpretation' which can vary wildly .
demo and existing weed /shrub removal
grading - minor or major - and or erosion control
soil prep - how much , type of amendment, how to mechanically work it into soil
plants - sizes , quanities and locations, tree stakes etc...
clean up , dump fees and recycle responsibilities

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 4:06PM
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kbard(6b PA)

Yes the half Bradford pear will not be a fixture for much longer. The other 3 are white dogwoods

The first 2 pics show from left to right the start of the driveway any my house is to the right with the neighbors up at the top where you can see the grass.

Going toward my house

Going away from the house

Close up

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 7:08PM
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kbard(6b PA)

Here you can see how long and skinny, the neighbors is crossed out in black and the property line is red the rest is mine

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 7:18PM
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Plugs would be small but economical, and they usually fill out very quickly. You won't find them in a retail nursery, though, would probably have to go through a wholesaler or wholesale/retail establishment. We've used them in planting up rain gardens and have yet to be disappointed.

Good riddance to the Bradford Pear - these have escaped cultivation and become invasive in our region.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 9:11PM
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kbard(6b PA)

Plugs sound great, I'm browsing on

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 10:37PM
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