Help needed on Retaining wall planting

honeypot5198(7)July 14, 2007

We have a 8-10 foot high retaining wall in our back yard that is an eye-sore on top.

It has a very steep slope and a bad erosion problem, right now it only has a few juniper bushes and small trees, and LOTS of clay soil that looks bad.

We want to till it all up, re-level the slope as best we can and plant something that will provide erosion control as well as a pretty view for us year round. It will need to grow pretty rapidly.

The problem is that it is 110 feet across so we need a reasonably priced solution.

I am not sure how to post pictures but I do have some. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

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I think we need to know where you live and what the light considerations are. I have planted slopes for erosion control and I know how to get the cheapest plants in the Pac NW, but not beyond. There is a commercial nursury nearby that sells out all of its leftover stock at the end of May. They mostly sell to the Dept. of Transportation so they have really tough stock. For our last house, we bought a variety of shrub roses, ninebark, and snowberry bushes. Red and yellow twig dogwood are used here a lot for erosion control where light flooding is a possibility.

At our current house we have a negative slope that runs to the house. We terraced the whole thing - a ton of work, but worth it to us. Since we terraced everything, soil erosion wasn't one of our concerns.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 7:34PM
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I live in South Carolina. Our back yard gets morning sun but by about 3:00pm the sun is blocked by our house. The slope is towards the wall so right now we have lost a lot of the soil that was up there 4 years ago. We are going to till it up, re-level it as best we can with a more even slope. I need something that would grow in Zone 7 very fast and keep the soil from eroding. Again, I have pictures but am not sure how to post them.

I am a very "Beginner" landscaper. I am not quite sure what terrace means. Please forgive my ignorance. I am very new at this but willing to get my hands dirty to make it look good.

Thank you so much for the follow up! Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 9:50PM
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lovelycherry(Z7 Long Island)

Inexpensive solutions will take time. I take all my grass clippings and leaves and put them on my slope.
This provides a cushion for the raindrops, it decreases erosion.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 9:34AM
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Before attempting an answer I need a better understanding of the situation. The eroding slope is above the retaining wall and the clay is washing down this slope and over the wall??? Where is the slope in relation to the wall? What is the width and depth of the ugly clay slope, approximately?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 3:28PM
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To terrace means to make a sort of "stair step" shape to your slope.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 5:02PM
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The eroding slope is on top of the wall. The top of the wall to the back of the property line is approximately 15 feet. The clay is washing down and over the front of the wall which is now an ugly orange color instead of the pretty concrete it was.

We are will to til up the current land on top of the wall and re-align the slope to make it a more gradual grade.

But like I said we are dealing with about a 110foot long by 15 foot wide piece of land that I need to fill in with some type of plant that will grow fast and provide erosion control.

Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 9:06PM
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I am surprised that you did not think of the following. You need to build a temporary dam at the top edge of the wall to hold back the clay. This is done by pegging lengths of board along the wall. Boards can be found in construction site dumpsters or your local newspaper probably has wooden pallets for nothing that you can take apart. This is your first step.

You seem to think that it is possible to till the clay and reduce the slope. I am not certain this is a wise move as you will have disturbed clay which will quickly erode. Perhaps it is best to leave the slope as it is presently and lay landscape erosion netting on the surface, mulch on top of this and plant. The netting can be ordered from any landscape nursery. I would urge you to pay for a consultation with the owner of a landscape nursery to advise you on this situation. It will save you from making costly mistakes and allow you to address the situation correctly. Then you will understand 'terracing' which may be the prefered solution. Either way, netting or terracing, it is important to stabilize the slope before planting. Most fast growing ground covers in Zone 7 are very invasive and after a few years you will hate them. Better to consult with an expert who can suggest shrubs and native plants that will grow in clay and afford you an attractive view.

There is a solution to your problem, but as a non-gardener you need expert direction for a tricky situation. Hopefully you will set out to find the help you need before making some serios mistakes.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 5:20PM
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If you have Bermuda Grass NOT put clippings up there. Bermuda grass is invasive and you will be fighting it for years to come.

In South Carolina Junipers are terrible for hosting Yellow Jackets. If you have junipers up there that you are going to work around or remove, its better to do it as it gets cooler outside.

I didnt have the retaining wall but I did have the clay and rock. I couldnt stand that weedy mess. I purchased roses that do not need to be sprayed with fungicide in SC. I used black plastic and planted the hill. I have attached a link to the hill below.

At a minimum I would recommend you put some Climbing Pinkie roses across the top. They are nearly thornless and have a beautiful weeping form. They bloom on and off all year.

Here are two pics. The first shows it against the back wall (ight pink blooms)

The second shows the weeping form:



Here is a link that might be useful: Wall and Plantings

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 9:12PM
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