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Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

Posted by lacernicole (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 24, 10 at 22:57

I have a "sinkhole" in my front yard. I was told by the contractor of the house that the land was all stabalized and that the hole did not hold water... 3 weeks after closing on the house the hole started collecting water and hasn't cleared since. It isn't very deep, but stays cloudy/brown. I am looking for ideas to landscape it so it looks semi attractive.It is mostly/partial sunny. The slopes are too steep for mowing and it is a quite large hole. I am looking for something low maintenance.. and not too extravagantly expensive. Any ideas? (ways to clear water, keep down weeds, etc.?) I have thought of moss.. but not a great idea with so much sun and it is a large area.


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 25, 10 at 12:22

Have you discussed this with the contractor of the house? What you were told ("the hole did not hold water") is incorrect. The best time to pursue this is NOW, before your house goes into the sinkhole. Call me paranoid, but water is one of those forces of nature...


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

I will refrain from any comment re your house purchase. Although I have a thought which may meet your needs it would be helpful to know the general location of your property so we would know the growing zone and what plants will survive there.

Suggestion which I hope you will follow. At a sporting goods store purchase a duck decoy, the type with an attachment on the bottom through which one inserts a line to hold it in place. Attach strong nylon twine allowing enough slack for present water depth plus another 5 yards. Wrap other end of rope around a large rock securely and toss all out into center of sinkhole. The decoy will float on the surface. But, if it should disappear below the water then this would indicate the sinkhole is enlarging/dropping and has not been truly stabilized. You really need a method such as this to keep track of the situation.

It is possible that you may never have clear water. Do a search for "pond water dyes". These are products which come in black, blue and green colors and really enhance the look of ponds plus shade them and prevent weed growth. Should solve your problem in an attractive way.


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b, NC (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 25, 10 at 16:50

Listen to Catkim and Nandina. If you don't get anywhere with the builder...

Then I, for one, would be calling the town building inspectors...the state attorney general...and a lawyer. This is not an insignificant problem.


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

As much as I love those questions that say "make a sows ear a silk purse" I'll bet you didn't get the guy to guarantee in writing what he said. Which makes this a legal question rather than one of how to design over a disaster. I am, in a way, flattered that people think that a landscape designer can reverse nature but call a lawyer today and nail that contractors ass.


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

Maybe consider having the site inspected again to make sure it is not an old septic system (cesspool). Look for city or county records. If so it may need to be removed and filled. Otherwise you could have a disaster it someone were to fall in. I've heard of these tanks being abandoned for decades and then collapsing and worse someone falling in and drowning.


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

I've also heard of old mine shafts, but what I gather is more common is that construction debris is piled in the yard and then topsoil is simply put on top. Check whether the construction site was inspected by the city for clean-up. Or maybe some neighbours saw what went on.

KarinL


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 26, 10 at 15:34

Was this sinkhole already visible when you bought the property? Are you in a part of the country where sinkholes commonly form due to underlying limestone bedrock getting eaten away? You better protect your interests by having a geologist/soils engineer determine that it is stable and not a threat to your house, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to talk with an attorney as well. You'll probably find that your homeowners insurance offers no protection against damages due to sinkholes, so your most likely recourse will be pursuit of the seller, and may require taking him to court. Good luck with this, and I'd guess that landscaping to improve the appearance of the sinkhole is the least of your worries.


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

As far as the zone I am in.. the zone map won't come up. I am in South Central Missouri and I'm not sure if it is a sink hole or ravine... or if they are the same thing. My neighbor across the street had a geologist come out and check the site to make sure it was stable. He said it was.

I have heard that having it filled in can "aggravate" the mouth of the sinkhole and cause it to become unstable. I am unable to tell if this sinkhole is formed due to debris being dumped and covered or if it is from natural limestone. I have seen a few moderate sizes of pavement and some ceramic dish pieces around the area.. however, Missouri has many natural occuring sinkholes as well.

I really appreciate the advice you all have given. Thank you for taking the time! I plan to discuss it more with the builder.. but I don't know how to find out if filling it is only going to make it worse. Additionally, as for missouri, these are all over part of the landscape, I was not significantly concerned because of the geologist's report ....until it started holding water. My plan had been to landscape it so it was attractive.

Any feedback?


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

I think you might have fun Googling 'Missouri sinkhole' like I just did. More information than you can point a stick at.


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

Your questions regarding the stability of the sinkhole now that it is filling with water will have to be answered by a local geologist.

Could you give us a description or post a picture of the sides of the sinkhole. Has the soil been disturbed and is presently in a raw state? Or, undisturbed? If the later, is it stable and what is presently growing there? Grass? Weeds? Saplings? Karst topography generally refers to limestone which means the soil has a high Ph, something which has to be considered when making plant selections. Also, if you plant will weeding be an easy job or are you dealing with a steep slope difficult to traverse?


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RE: Planting a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

Your questions regarding the stability of the sinkhole now that it is filling with water will have to be answered by a local geologist.

Could you give us a description or post a picture of the sides of the sinkhole. Has the soil been disturbed and is presently in a raw state? Or, undisturbed? If the later, is it stable and what is presently growing there? Grass? Weeds? Saplings? Karst topography generally refers to limestone which means the soil has a high Ph, something which has to be considered when making plant selections. Also, if you plant will weeding be an easy job or are you dealing with a steep slope difficult to traverse?


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

I do think a photo would be extremely helpful. How close is it to the house? I would be concerned about the stability of the foundation, if it were me. It sounds like the hole was actually there before you purchased the house, but now the only difference is that it's holding water? Is it holding water from rainfall or melting snow, or does water appear to be seeping up from the bottom?


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

picture taken yesterday evening

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinkhole pic from photobucket


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RE:2 Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

another picture of the steep hill

Here is a link that might be useful: steep hill of sinkhole


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RE:3 Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

one more pic

Here is a link that might be useful: Where sinkhole joins the yard


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RE: 4Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

sorry first two didn't work.. here is one

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinkhole pic from end of drive


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RE:5 Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

final pic of steep hill

Here is a link that might be useful: steep hill of sinkhole pic


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b, NC (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 1, 10 at 13:07

Ok...that hill doesn't LOOK that steep...but I'll take your word for it.

And that looks like a vernal pond to me...but I know nothing of your area. Around here...we have to leave intermittent vernal ponds be for the salamanders.

Have you double checked with the town and/or the geologist?


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

Your land and surrounds are interesting. The oaks appear to be about the same age which indicates that it may have been farmland until about 30 years ago.

The land is disturbed and eroding. Your first expenditure should be hiring a landscape firm to hydroseed (without adding grass seed to the mix) all the loose soil. Then stay off the area for a year giving it time to stabilize.

Frankly, I would not plant the slope. Let it revert to nature, weeds, brambles and the natural vegetation. Then concentrate on planting shrubs around the upper edge fading off into the trees. Do a search for "shrubs for shade + Missouri" where you will find numerous varieties suitable for your situation scattering them out and about.

If you wish to spend the money construct a retaining wall in the sunny section along the drive, backfill and develop a perennial/shrub garden. Much easier to care for. This will take the emphasis off the hole in the ground.


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RE: Landscaping a Sinkhole/pond/steep hill

Go look your property up on bing maps. It may show what was there pre-construction. Use the "birds' eye view" from all 4 sides. Copy and bring the results here for us to review.


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