What to do with 45 degree slope yard?

la_newgardenerApril 27, 2010

We have a large sectional backyard. The back section of our yard has a large slope uphill of about 45 degrees and ends with the fence. We have few lilly plants & few average size trees up there, our dogs do run and goto bathroom in that area. It's so steep, it's kind of hard to walk in certain areas.

Right now we cleaned all the weeds, and covered the ground with weed cloth. Due to the slope and since the dirt underneath is not compact, the weed cloth has got wrinkles.

We want to make this space dog friendly, looking for options.

We thought of gravel as an option, I believe gravels can run downhill in wet weather or with just dogs running. Also, we live in seasonal high wind area, so what we choose has to be sturdy.

I was wondering if there is any material that's simple to work with and does not have many problems being on a slope.

Also do we need to compact the dirt before we put the weed cloth?

Any other suggestions are welcome. I can post pictures of the slope if needed

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Yes if you can post some pics that would help with better responses. I've got some steep areas also.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 1:15PM
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I also live on a slope and have found that making terraces has been the only solution for making a garden. Not having a dog I don't know about dog runs. All our animals are natives and manage the terrain a little TOO good. Al

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 7:36AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Terraces are the best solution, but very expensive.

I don't think you will find any material that will stick to weed cloth on a steep slope. I think you will want to plant some tough shrubs or groundcover to cover the weed cloth instead.

My father-in-law put two railroad tie winding staircases up his slope so the dogs could run up one, across the back, and down the other. He planted rosemary on the slope, with a few trees. It works beautifully. They prefer the stairs to the slope.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 12:07PM
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Here are the links to photos of the backyard. I don't think they do justice to show the angle. The slope begins at the cement barrier.



    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 1:08PM
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Your pic with the side fence does help in showing how steep. It looks to be about 8 feet or so wide or surface area. You might be able to get 1 terrace layer.
I also think a combo of steps and terraces would work.
You need to consider how big the dogs are and will they be running and trampling over everything...is it their playground.
Since I have no animals either I don't know what to recommend for plants. For dogs running around anything loose is going to get kicked up...wood chips, pebbles, rocks, gravel etc

Here is a pic of mine after I tore out most of the dead plants and before I started. I have since added a row of blocks to each and replaced the old rotting railroad ties with treated wood.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 3:04PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

It doesn't seem that steep. I'd build a small block retaining wall to flatten the whole area out and give yourself more usable space, which adds value to the property in the long term.

But, I like to do stuff like that, and not everyone does.

You'll regret that weed fabric pretty quick. Weeds simply grow right on top of it.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 12:58AM
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Among the things that will influence your decision are your present age/energy, how long you intend to live in this home, and property values.

In my 40's/50's, I terraced a very steep back yard, which was useless as garden space, and provided no mitigation for run-off from rain/irrigation - and improper drainage from neighbor's property, often creating a 'bog' in clay soil of flat portion of yard.

It was hard work, but now in my 70's I am SO GLAD for those terraces, because even with some balance issues, I can still garden in the sunniest part of my yard.

The terrace levels are constructed of dry-laid rock walls.[gathered from construction sites -more time than money] 'Cement' was the native clay soil. Now, 30 years later, walls still strong. ... Well, anyway, hope this helps you decide.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 1:04PM
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