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Beginner Landscaping: Trying to cover a hill what to do?

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Forum: Beginner LandscapingReplies: 25, Views: 300
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cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 23, 2012
12:44 AM

Post #9134624

I purchased a house and the previous owners chopped a hill that sloped down in the backyard and it looks absolutely horrible. I got a contractor out here and he said to chop it the rest of the way would cost 6-10k and I'm not looking to spend that kind of money on this. I'm really not sure what to do, I thought about maybe planting some bamboo to try and hide it but I'm not really sure on how that would look. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

May 23, 2012
7:15 AM

Post #9134903

Can you post some pictures?
cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 23, 2012
8:05 PM

Post #9136007

here is a pic

Thumbnail by cdw19al
Click the image for an enlarged view.

cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 23, 2012
8:14 PM

Post #9136013

I have a guy coming to excavate my backyard n level it out. He is going to push the pile that is at the bottom off. My cousin mentioned maybe planting knock off roses at the top of the hill n letting them grow down the side of the hill which he said would take a couple of years and i'm really not wanting to wait that long because it makes the whole backyard look horrible.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

May 23, 2012
8:23 PM

Post #9136028

The thing I would worry most about is the hill sliding when it rains. To me it seems like you either need to have some work done to make the slope less steep (then you could landscape it and make it look nice), or else build a big retaining wall to hold that soil back. Neither option will be cheap unfortunately. You can plant stuff in front of it to hide it, but that won't stop the soil from eroding & sliding. I'm not sure what you mean in your first post about chopping the hill the rest of the way so can't comment on whether that would be a better option or not.
cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 23, 2012
8:38 PM

Post #9136053

could i plant something like creeping phlox at the top n let it grow down the side
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

May 23, 2012
8:41 PM

Post #9136057

That hill is pretty steep to rely on a groundcover to hold it in place, I think you need to look at some other options.
cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 23, 2012
8:58 PM

Post #9136084

so what exactly r my options then, having someone come n try to slope it which im not looking to put that much money into it and im not sure i would like the way a retaining wall would look.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

May 23, 2012
9:18 PM

Post #9136105

Unfortunately I'm not sure there is a good option here without spending some money. As far as I can tell, the options are a retaining wall or fix the slope so it's not as steep.
Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

May 23, 2012
10:34 PM

Post #9136148

I can't really tell the scale of the bank, but it kinda looks like it's 6' high. I agree with Ecrane3 that the hill is going to continue to erode. If you have that pile pushed away then all that is going to happen is another pile is going to form as the hill collapses. I don't know how much past the hill you own or how much space you have in front of it, but I could do an awful lot of rounding that hill out in a day with a piece of equipment with a loader on it. Much of it would depend on what I had to do with the trees that are going to come down as you reconfigure the hill. Cosmetically the quickest thing to do is build a fence in front of it to use as a trellis and grow some vines on it to hide the hill. The one problem you are going to have is that you are going to have to do something to increase the fertility of that sand if you are going to grow anything near the base of the hill. Notice the grass stops growing several feet away from the base of the hill. I think this is definitely a case of you can have it quick, quality or cheap. Pick any two.
cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 24, 2012
8:14 AM

Post #9136477

It's alot taller than 6' i would say the highest point is around 15'. I'm plannnig on getting it excavated to level my back yard out and then plan on putting a 3-4" base of dirt down because my whole backyard is really sandy and i have bare places everywhere
Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

May 24, 2012
8:37 AM

Post #9136514

I assume that it is just a mound and not a side hill. That's a lot of sand to move but I think tht is the best way to do it.
cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 24, 2012
9:06 AM

Post #9136555

It's not a mound it's a side of a hill. I have no idea why the previous owners did this. I got a estimate for what it would take to take it further back so i would have a bigger backyardand he priced anywhere between 6-10k and im deff not looking to spend that kind of money
cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 24, 2012
9:25 AM

Post #9136588

It's alot taller than 6' i would say the highest point is around 15'. I'm plannnig on getting it excavated to level my back yard out and then plan on putting a 3-4" base of dirt down because my whole backyard is really sandy and i have bare places everywhere


I didn't mean i was planning on getting the hill excavated i meant my backyard sorry for the confusion

flowAjen

flowAjen
central, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 25, 2012
8:39 AM

Post #9138002

Can't you just bring in fill dirt and have it fixed so it's more sloping? that should be cheaper
cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 25, 2012
9:40 AM

Post #9138079

my house is about 20-25 feet from it so if i do that ive pretty much got no backyard at all
NancyGroutsis
Hopkinton, MA
(Zone 5b)

May 29, 2012
6:40 PM

Post #9144074

cdw19al, our next door neighbors have a similar slope and it's supported by boulders. I did some digging there to remove some plants on our side and the soil rapidly eroded so I recommend avoiding planting anything at the top edge. An inexpensive way to quickly cover part of the wall would be to buy some hybrid willows that often grow several feet a year. I recently placed an order for another type of plant at DirectGardening.com and noticed they are selling 20 hybrid willow trees up to 3 ft. high for less than $30.

I got several of this type of willow last year from another place and almost all the leaves were yellow and spotted, and they were tipping over so I chopped off about 4 feet from the top. This year they've grown about 2 ft. higher, added about 40 branches per tree, and are full of healthy green leaves. However I noticed they sway a lot in the wind and I'm worried they might break.

Another solution is to create a nearly invisible trellis with clear plastic string. Attach a stake at the top of the hill and another at the ground beneath the hill, then tie the string to the top stake, throw it down the hill, and attach the other end to the bottom stake. The stakes will be nearly invisible if you get the metal type that are placed in the earth or you can use gardening staples (pins). There are a lot of vines that grow fast, for example, in my neighborhood we have plenty of greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia) that often grows a 3 feet per month.

I recommend shopping around and checking Dave's Garden watchdog if you are buying online from a store for the first time:

http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/

DirectGardening.com that I mentioned before doesn't have a high rating, but I got some wonderful plants from them last year and they offer very inexpensive plants so I'm a repeat customer. I wish you good luck and maybe in a few months you will look out our window and see a wall of lovely green vines. One last word: consider an evergreen vine if you don't want to look at bare deciduous vines in the winter.

DoGooder



This message was edited May 29, 2012 8:48 PM
cdw19al
Haleyville, AL

May 29, 2012
7:13 PM

Post #9144127

Well i had another contractor over today to look at the area. His suggestion was that he could dig back the hill and then slope it and have drainage areas several places up the slope where the water can drain off both sides and i would be able to plant vegetation and it would deff add more value to my property and look a lot better. Here's my only prob with him, 2 peeps other than him charged 80 n hour n 1 charged 100 n hour but this guy seems to have more knowledge than the other 3 but he priced it at 3k and said he could be done in a day does that seem reasonable because seems very high considering what the others are charging an hour.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

May 29, 2012
7:25 PM

Post #9144144

I would make sure you're comparing apples to apples with the different contractors. For the guys charging 80 or 100/hr, will they be done in 1 day and will they be doing the same thing as the 3K guy? If the 80 or 100 an hour guys are going to have to work on it for a week it might not be such a bargain, or maybe they're doing a lot less. Make sure you really understand what each person is offering you--I suspect you're either getting more from the 3K guy, or else the other ones are planning on working for a lot more hours and you'll end up spending a few thousand total with them in the long run too.
NancyGroutsis
Hopkinton, MA
(Zone 5b)

May 29, 2012
7:55 PM

Post #9144184

cdw19al, the guy charging 3k might be paying a crew for the 1-day project so the number of hours would be much higher than one person working a day. Also, he might be using more expensive equipment and be installing a better quality drainage system. Furthermore, he might have more experience, thus offering a better chance of success than less knowledgeable contractors. I recommend analyzing the type of work, deciding whether you approve of the final result, then calling around other contractors to get an estimate for the same project and compare prices.

DoGooder

Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

May 29, 2012
8:00 PM

Post #9144188

I agree with ecrane. Make sure you understand what each is going to do and what is and isn't included in the bill. That $80 may be per MAN hour and if he has 4 guys there it easily could be 3K. When dealing with equipment there is fixed moving expenses. It doesn't matter if you are going to work for an hour or a month the cost to get a piece of equipment there costs the same. That has to be included somehow in the job.

I'd ask about other jobs each ones done and go look at them and talk to the people that hired them. You'll have a better understanding of what you are getting into.
susanl61520
Canton, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 30, 2012
9:10 PM

Post #9145632

Here is another thought... have you ever heard of terrace farming? It is where they farm steep hillsides in places where traditional farming is not possible because of how steep the hillsides are. You might be able to implement something like this into your yard design and not have to worry about landslides. It would still involve a type of retaining wall, but not a big ugly one like they have along the highways... here, look:

http://incaencyclopediag.pbworks.com/w/page/21105014/f/74258371.oMkIuQPa.Incaterracefarming.jpg

http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/graphics/incafarm.jpg

http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/58525/58525,1194250947,4/stock-photo-terrace-farming-in-the-north-of-vietnam-6688936.jpg

images.travelpod.com/tw_slides/ta00/9d1/ff4/terrace-farming-hechi.jpg

Just a few pics, to get your creative juices flowing :)



etnredclay
Spring City, TN

June 24, 2012
12:25 PM

Post #9178714

I had the same problem and had the bobcat slope it steeply and then I terraced the whole thing with landscape timbers and rebar. LOVE it. I went in with a little shovel work and flattened the terraces out so they resembled steps more than speedbumps. And then planted some things. But a lot more grew on it all by itself...
burraganesh
Hyderabad
India
(Zone 12b)

November 19, 2012
5:06 AM

Post #9336873

What you need is about a ton of Dung to coat that slope by atleast 2 inch.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

December 8, 2012
9:11 PM

Post #9353389

I'd love to know what you decided to do and how it came out. I hope all went well!

Pam
Gypsi
Fort Worth, TX

January 15, 2013
10:25 PM

Post #9386716

I like the terracing idea.

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