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Ski-slope? in Florida???

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by MzMunchken on March 30, 2004 04:03 PM
My new home has a terrible slope in the back yard that seems to be washing away each time it rains. The only thing I can think of it terracing it by two or three levels using railroad ties. Anyone have any suggestions what I could do that is easier or more economical?

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by hisgal2 on March 30, 2004 04:47 PM
Maybe plant a gound cover over all of it to keep it up?? Like periwinkle or english ivy. be careful with english ivy, if it gets near buildings or other plants it can be really really mean. it is a fast fast grower and may be hard to keep up with if there are things close to that hill that you'd like to keep alive or don't want covered in ivy. There are other things to use as ground covers as well. Myrtle is another is not as invasive as ivy is. I can't think of anything else that you could plant at the moment, but I'm sure someone will be by with another idea for you. [Smile]

Oh...and welcome to the forum! [wayey]

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by Phil and Laura on March 30, 2004 05:29 PM
Mz, I would plant Crown Vetch It is the Ticket for steep hillsides and is very drought tolerant. [dunno] [grin] [wayey]
Check out the Link above and see what you think!
by papito on March 30, 2004 05:51 PM

Hi, and welcome to the Gardener's Forum.

Nikkal, another member and a Master Gardener, knows more about landscaping. I'm hoping that she can stop by and read your post. I am not into landscaping but let me say that "terracing" is probably a good way to minimize soil erosion.

Easy and or economical? Not sure what that means when one works on a slope.

Things you might want to consider:

1. You'll need to build a drainage system; that is 1-foot elevation per 100-ft. length. So, in addition to the railroad ties or any type of retaining wall (of 8", 12" or 16" height), you will need drainage pipes and gravels and may even require a soakaway or catch basin.

2. The terrace need not be flat (so there is less grading involved) but the slope should be about 3/8" elevation per 12" length.

3. The terrace can be covered with gravels or ground cover as Jennifer suggested.

4. If there are trees up slope, you can make rock gardens under the trees. If none, you can select from a number of tree varieties that are commonly planted in your area.

If, on the other hand, you want to try for Soil Erosion Control using plants only; there are a number of plant varieties in shrubs, vines, perennials or ground covers.

What type of soil do you have?

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Amor est vitae essentia.
Love is the essence of life.
by hisgal2 on March 31, 2004 01:56 AM
I looked at Lowes website and found 2 things that might be helpful for you.

How to Build a Retaining Wall

Slopes and Erosion Control

I didn't read through the articles in their entirity, but they looked pretty good. Hope this helps you. I liked the retaining wall info...helped me since I was thinking about putting on in on a slope that is in my yard. [lala]

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by shamarian on March 31, 2004 03:30 AM
MzMunchken, My whole back yard is a sloop also and I don't know if you are planning on gardening,planting flowers or just want to help the errotion[ did I spell that right?]anyway. Doing railroad ties IS alot of work but, if you plan to stay there a while its probably worth the work and investment. We could not afford to do ours all at once so we did it in sections each year, going by a blueprint plan I had created.Every year I would tell my husband what we needed to do and he'd say "I don't remember that part", so then I would take out the ole blueprint and show him, yes , see here, I had this as part of the original plan, [good thing to hang onto to those plans to defend yourself] [Big Grin] . But we really enjoy it now and grow a beautiful garden where others thought it would never happen. And of course its always a work in progress, every couple years I add another tier somewhere,and no, they are no longer a part of a plan, but he believes in my vision now [kissies] . One thing about those railroad ties is they are REALLY heavy and I consider myself pretty strong but I could'nt help even budge them,tough on the ole pride. Good Luck!

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I am old, and repotting wont help!
by MzMunchken on March 31, 2004 08:11 PM
thanks for all the great advice and links and tips. I am waiting for my landscape progrm to arrive so that I can lay out the beds and see how many tiers to the ski-slope I want to put in.. probably two... if it is a lot of work and since it is just me doing the manual labor.. maybe one.
I am hoping to plant some of my old standard brugmansias there to help with the erosion and to beautiful the view from the veranda (fancy word for back porch [Big Grin]

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by Newt on April 02, 2004 05:14 PM
Hi Mz,
You've gotten some wonderful suggestions. Broken concrete could be another option for your retaining wall that should be less expensive than railroad ties, and lighter and easier to handle. You might even be able to get if for free as contractors have to pay to recycle or dump it depending the laws of your state. Here's what one looks like.

Another thought that comes to mind with railroad ties is the content of creasote and pentachlorophenol. You might want to do some reading at these sites.


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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
by weezie13 on April 04, 2004 09:37 PM
Hey MzMunchken,
Do I have an idea for you!!
Seems perfect and it has alot of Deep South
Drought Tolerant plants too!!!

Let me know what you think!!


Hypertufa "Trough" Garden on a HILL SIDE!!!!!
(**It's about the 8th post down I made)

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Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2


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