Reclaiming a hill - need suggestions

kenallgoodJuly 30, 2013

Posted this in the Landscape Design forum first, before finding this forum..

I have a hill in my backyad that's pretty steep, about 30 ft from the back of the house. Unfortunately, it's quite overgrown with weeds. It has some good trees on it. Too steep for me to really do anything grass wise. What I'm thinking of doing is getting a few more trees in there, make it a somewhat more wooded area, help cut back on the weeds. Largest factor is going to be cost, which, I really don't have funds to spend (few dollars here and there, mainly what I find on clearance). However, I do have several bushes/shrubs to propagate from, mainly Crape Myrtles and Rose of Sharons, and a newly acquired Lynnwood Forsythia. Possibly even make it wooded with doing a shaded garden. I've already started on the left side with Hostas, and also have a line of Azalea's (3 that I planted last year you can see barel at bottom of hill). The hill fasts east, and the wood fence (neighbor) is on the south side. Not looking for anything great, just something that is lower on maintainance and not costly, help cut back on the weeds.

First picture, April 2012, Panoramic of back yard/hill. Doesn't look too bad here, before all the weeds got to grow (and I weedeated it before it got out of control).

This is how the right (northern) side of hill looks now, completely overgrown. You can just make out 2 azaleas out front, along some with gladiolus. Rest is weeds/wildflowers. A shrub/bush behind it, maybe some type of juniper (no clue!) with honeysuckle on top...

An open area, the middle of the hill. I'm trying to grow 2 Crape Myrtles in the middle (current 6-8" tall)

Crape Myrtle hiding in the grass/weeds

Side shot of same overgrown area (looking North/Northwest), but looking behind the bush.

Top of hill, looking down (north/northeast). This would be above the main shrub/bush there (the supposed Juniper). There's also a rose of sharon just off-center to left I transplated this spring that's on the left side of the panoramic shot.

Top of hill, looking down on the south side, looking east. I'm thinking of planting 2 rose of sharons, on either side of a Crape Myrtle I planted (cuttling from the Crape Myrtle in Panoramic shot, not same type as 2 planted in middle, which are more mid-size)

This is where I'm focusing right now.

I've weeded out about 1/2 of it.
Hard to tell, but there's a baby azalea in there I planted this spring. Back middle in this picture

I have good luck with Daffodils and tulips in this area, as there is no shade there in the spring. I also planted some daylilies there for the summer (forget the species, but it's a purple variety). I just planted them from tubulars from Sam's club, so I expect I won't get much blooms until next year. I had a couple, but that's it. Have a columbine, some Hostas, and some Ferns, all planted this year. The plum tree is probably going to come down.

Shot behind the area in progress

I have a baby cedar tree I planted mid-way up this spring, we'll see if it survives. However, I think I'll stil need something more, as it's above that Juniper bush (cannot really see it in pic, on right side), if I'm going to create a shaded area.

I'm not necessarily looking for a whole shade effect, however, that's going to be one of the easier ways to control the weeds I think, to some degree anyway. Unfortunately, time is an issue as well. Have 3 kids under the age of 5, and I work full-time, so I get maybe 1-2 hours each Saturday to do a little work, maybe Sunday too, and that's primarily spent weeding that one area, and the rest of my garden areas. This home was a foreclosure, so I have a dozen different areas that I'm trying to clean up. I've made a lot of progress on other fronts. I figure if I'm going to be doing trees back there, can go ahead and get that started, and work on the weeds/brush once the trees are taking hold....

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Do not remove any trees.
The erosion will be terrible if you do, and it takes a very long time to grow trees that are as tall as some of yours are.
Leave the trees.
You have very little time to really work on your yard.
This is what I would do.
Buy some Round Up. Very carefully, on a day that isn't windy, take a small area at a time and only spray anything that you know is a weed.
That is a very good way of eliminating the weeds for right now.
Do you like evergreen? The pic where you can see your neighbors home clearly, I would plant some Green Giant or Arborviates there, in the fall, and mulch well.
You can buy some pretty decent size trees for about 30.00 a piece, you can stagger them, they will take good there.
Have you thought about ornamental grasses at all?
You don't mulch them, and they are wonderful as far as preventing erosion and easy to care for.
It will take years to truly sculpt your hill garden.
You have a lot on your plate as far as your kids, so just do
it little by little.
It will look wonderful in the years to come but take it slow, and try your best to keep it weeded, and don't shy away from chemicals, you don't have the time to hand weed.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:29PM
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I would recommend using native plants, as they seed themselves and have deep tap roots. Also, I would shy away from using chemicals. There are plenty of organic alternatives that work just as well (Ecosmart weed killer, can be found at home cheapo and vinegar), and that don't harm the environment (I'm a marine biologist and these chemicals are really damaging to the environment). I've posted a pic my native plants bed (zone 4) to give you an idea.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 2:15PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I second the idea to leave as many trees as you can until you get other stuff established. I would also encourage you to collect bagged leaves from along the roadside in fall to use as thick mulch to prevent growth of weeds. These leaves will also break down over time and enrich your soil and decrease watering needs. If you can shred the leaves (with a lawn mower) they'll be less likely to blow around and look messy. With weeds subdued, you can take your time planting trees, shrubs, and perennials as time and money allows. As the plants you choose/add become established, then you can work on removing the undesirables using whichever method is comfortable for you.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 4:18PM
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1.) Tag anything that ISN'T a weed. When you are frazzled you may forget, and if anyone helps you they may not know.
2.) If there are any spots where there ISN'T anything but weeds, throw a tarp on it now...Smother the plants until you get a chance to plant things.
3.) Focus on Natives that Reseed.
4.) Now is actually a great time to plant trees and perennials, if your ground isn't frozen.
5.) Over time pines often kill things beneath them because they make the soil acid and add shade.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 1:52PM
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The erosion will avoid if you use geotextile, so i think you can remove trees around your yard.

Here is a link that might be useful: woven geotextile

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 4:17AM
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