Side yard....should we even try?

Discussion in 'Garden Design' started by Tina, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

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    After a vast improvement to the backyard last year,
    we are a little bit more courageous this year to try and do something about the side yard. But the idea is so daunting.The yard is actually a slope which was covered with some ivy. It is so very hard to walk through this section. I would'nt mind not having anything growing there - just want it clean and easy to go through. Any easy design solutions that we can do on our own? Or should this just go to the pros ?
    Thanks in advance.
    Tina.

    [​IMG]
    side yard ( photo / image / picture from Tina's Garden )
     
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  3. dooley

    dooley Super Garden Turtle

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    I had a slope like that when we lived in Arizona. It was in the shade. I terraced it. Six inches high each terrace and 18 to 24 inches wide. Plant it with shade plants and put a rock path at one side.

    dooley
     
  4. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Dooley's idea is a good solution for you Tina, If, however, you don't want to plant anything in that area then I'd put down weed supressing fabric and simply cover the area with gravel.
     
  5. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    That is a prime area for terracing. I'd make a path that zig-zagged up the terraces, though. Much easier to navigate, and in case of heavy rain, the path doesn't turn into a river.
    Very easily done--just get stone or broken cement (called a rip-rap wall) and block out the terraces. Lay out the path with flat pavers, then fill in the terraces with decent soil, plant, and enjoy!
     



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  6. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    I agree with the terracing and path.
     
  7. Kay

    Kay Girl with Green Thumbs

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    I work for the pros, and this is what we love to do! I envision it with steps to take you up and down.There are so many options for what material you use. You would want to eliminate some of the ivy. It can be a do-it-yourself project with a lot of elbow grease involved. Just depends on your budget. I think you would really love the area and make better use of it. If you were here, I would be over to do an estimate. :)
     
  8. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Don't leave it bare, every time it rains you will find more and more soil washing down the hill to the front yard, sidewalk and street. A slope like that needs something to prevent erosion.
     
  9. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    I love slopes. They are so interesting. I'd start small and just get the ivy away from the house. It invites carpenter ants by giving them a highway and drawing in moisture.

    It looks like something has been done there in the past. The stones seem placed to me. You could weed wack the ivy back to ground level and see just exactly what is there as far as pavers and rocks. Rocks the size you have there are expensive to buy in this area and difficult to move. With our climate i have to pull an inch of soil or so off pavers (where they butt up against plantings) every few years so no telling whether you might already have a path of pavers or stone already there.

    Once you have weed whacked and cleaned up the trimmings you could sit back and plan what to do. The ivy will be back, but I have found it doesn't take much to kill it if you want it gone. Just cut low enough and watch for new growth for a few seasons.

    I'm picturing hostas, ferns, a skimmia, a little mother of thousands along the path and house. Maybe some sweetwoodruff and Pacific or old fashioned bleeding hearts. It looks like a lovely space for a woodland garden. Your own little nature trail.

    If you want to take on the project PM me for starting a few plants for you. Just remember start slow and small and it will be a success.
     
  10. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

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    Thanks all.
    I will try the terrace part with path. Have a friend with muscles who is willing to help, so will see. Right now, the idea is very daunting for me to even try. Plus, dont have the know how on building the terrace. I will have to study up first.

    Jewell - there is no path there. The stones you see were placed there by us. It was all covered with ivy but no path.
     
  11. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    Someone with muscles to help, lucky you. That is a pretty steep looking area from the photo. Bummer that you have to be the first to tackle the hill.
     
  12. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Tina, I agree with everything that has been said so far. This spot could really be a beautiful and enticing little garden. Starting small is a good idea, less overwhelming. Is the building on the left a neighbor's house? If so, do you know where your property ends and his begins? Maybe he/she will help you.

    I recently encountered a book that might help you with inspiration: http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Vertical-G ... inw_strp_1

    It is called Garden Up! and it has a section on just this problem: a narrow space between buildings.

    Good luck! Send us some pix as you make progress!
     
  13. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Tina, I do agree with the terracing idea, BUT do get rid of that ivy. especially it is on your house. The stuff is tenacious, once it gets its little adhesive pads on the walls you will not be able to pull it down. Once up, it will get under the siding and grow into the walls, harbor birds and possible rodents...yuck.

    The project does not need to be done in one day. make it a step by step project over the course of the summer if need be.

    ferns and hostas, lily of the valley, irish moss, primrose, bulbs, impatiens, etc. will all be great choices for the area.
     
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  14. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    I think Carolyn is right about that ivy. I don't know whose building is on the left, but the ivy looks like it is growing up that wall. Not good.
     
  15. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    When we lived in upstate NY, our house was on the ridge, with a steep slope to the back yard. I terraced the whole thing in two summers (boy, did I have biceps!). Anyway, I found that terrace walls aren't straight up and down--the pressure of soil and water needs to be dispersed. The walls are actually right triangles, with the flat side out and the sloping side on the soil side. That way the pressure isn't concentrated against a flat surface, which will give way.
     
  16. Tooty2shoes

    Tooty2shoes Hardy Maple

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    All the ideas for a terraced look sound good to me. If it seems a bit overwhelming. I would first get rid of the Ivy like the others have said. Then you could see if you can get some type of slab stone and put in the steps first. I would place the steps right along the house so you do not have to plant on both sides of the walk way. You could try spraying the Ivy with vinegar to kill it and see if that works. Vinegar is a great weed killer sprayed directly onto the leaves.
    Then you can decided what you want to do from there. I would not plant any sweet woodruff. As it will take over that area in just two seasons. It's great if you have a place under trees where nothing will grow. But I am still pulling it out of my front shade garden flower bed. :eek: It was a big mistake planting it there. Hope that helps. Have a great day. :stew1:
     

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