Thursday, October 17, 2013

Landscaping Dilemma-Part 1

This is something that I have been meaning to blog about for a while now.  This space in our yard is almost overwhelming.

At the back of our driveway there is a huge hill that leads to the back yard. So far we have put down more mulch than you can imagine to make it look somewhat presentable. The slope makes it difficult to mow with a riding mower so that is the reason behind using mulch. When we purchased the mulch, all the times we purchased....the guy says "it will last you years!!!" Guess what? Nope. Never. happens. How about 6 months? Yep that is more like it.

This photo was taken in 2011. By July, grass had taken over the hill. While I can pull the weeds and grass out everyday, it just isn't enough. Needless to say I went a while without weeding and this is what we ended up with.

We knew we needed to get this mess cleaned up because the following weekend we were hosting a community gathering in our back yard and to be honest, this was embarrassing, there was no way we were having people over with this eyesore!
See the Mr. at the top up there, that is where the driveway begins. I was at the bottom looking up, so you can tell it is a really steep hill. The pipe you see there, we  the Mr. buried that during the process to divert the water from the downspout under the hill to the bottom of the hill to prevent erosion. Actually there is one on each side, the left and the right for the same reason.
This time we removed all the grass, cleared all the old mulch away and then placed a weed barrier down. Then came a huge dump truck and dumped the mulch at the top of the hill and spread it out ourselves.  Talk about a huge undertaking. This was a dirty job.
But in the end it looked great and most importantly we could now have our neighbors over. Here is the after, sorry about the photo is was taken just before dark. After all the hard work I almost forgot to photo the after. (This project took an entire weekend).
See much better!
Fast forward to this year, the weed removal has become a monthly task and even then it looks so horrible that something had to be done. Plus the mulch had broken down to the point where it looked discolored and thin. Also, because of the slope of the hill when a downpour of rain comes, it washes alot of it down the hill into the grass.
This is also the way the boys access the back yard so when it is wet, the mulch gets tracked all in the driveway and makes a huge mess. The weed barrier helped some but it got to the point where the weeds were growing to the weed barrier which did not help the situation. Oh and don't even get me started on the ant hill that almost ate us alive or the massive earthworms that scared me to  death! I am not kidding, they were so big I thought it was a baby snake the first time I pulled one up while pulling up the weeds!
For many reasons we needed to rethink the layout of this hill and come up with a better solution.
Our solution?
As I stated earlier, we pulled up the weed barrier and headed to Lowes to see what we could come up with.
Here it is!
#1: Driveway
#2: The top of the hill will now be a small area surrounded by a rubber lining barrier that will keep the pine needles in the bed and the grass out, we added 3 Hawthorne bushes and a small Butterfly bush and filled in with pine needles.
#3:The slope of the hill will now be seeded and will hopefully grow grass. Since the slope is steep the grass will need to be cut down by a weed eater or push mower instead of our riding mower but either way  I feel sure that this will be a better way to maintain this monster of a hill.
The look from the road is improved just by this small adjustment. Once the bushes fill out and get a little bigger is will be perfect!

In a week or so we will work the dirt and seed the area for grass and cover with straw. This time I look forward to seeing the grass grow on the hill!
Well, grass growing on the hill is out. The Mr. thought that would not work and to be honest, it really wouldn't. I mean look at that slope...would you want to mow it?
I didn't think so.
So the Mr. took off and bought plants, weed barrier and more pine needles to finish off this area. He worked past dark then finished it up the following afternoon. And believe me it looks so much better! And another plus...the boys cannot run down the hill because if you try to step in the pine needles with the slick weed barrier underneath you fall instantly on your butt! Trust me on that one!
Here is the after and final photo. Hopefully this is the end of this madness! (not even close...)
 Here is another view from the bottom of the hill.

And here is another angle..from the side. The rocks were there when we had the mulch down. So we just left them this time. There is a drain at the top of the driveway to allow the water to run under the hill and the rocks were placed in case the drain overflowed, the rocks would still hold the mulch in place and the water could go between the rocks to divert it instead of a waterfall situation.
Ok, so in the spring we called our landscaper to come and help us fix this eyesore (the cliff). To us it is no big deal. I mean as we enter our home we never see this side of the driveway but coming from the other direction, all you see is a cinder block wall. By the way, there is a curb along the edge of the driveway that prevents you from driving off the driveway and rolling your car into the neighbors yard.  However, we have had people fall off of it before..and bikes....and scooters...and crock pots....

Anyway, I'll spare you the details...
Here you can see just how much of a drop off we are dealing with.
Well, because of all the rain the spring and summer gave us we are now looking at this project being completed next week......lets just hope it doesn't rain!
While this is something that isn't a big deal to us, I feel sure the neighbors will appreciate it and I hope the people that buy our home will too!
Stay tuned for Part 2!

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