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Need help with ideas for containing runoff

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:00 am
by tgyeti
Hello,
My wife and I have recently purchased a home in the city of Minneapolis. The previous owners did some gardening, but failed to address the issue I'm asking about.
As you can see from my attached photos, the area next to the alley as well as the area in front of the house along the sidewalk are experiencing erosion (runoff). The highest point of the soil in the areas in question is about 8" higher than where the soil meets the concrete.What are our options in preventing this from happening?
We need to balance cost as well as our relative novice skills in addressing this. :D

Thank you for your shared knowledge.

[img]https://i950.photobucket.com/albums/ad343/tgyeti/IMG_0008_5.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i950.photobucket.com/albums/ad343/tgyeti/IMG_0005_7.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i950.photobucket.com/albums/ad343/tgyeti/IMG_0003_5.jpg[/img]

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:25 am
by rainbowgardener
The easiest, especially since you are only talking about a vertical distance of 8" would just be to build a little retaining wall at the front and fill in behind it. Your retaining wall could be wood, like the railroad tie kind of thing that they sell for making raised beds or 4x4" (by whatever length) pine fence posts or it could be interlocking concrete block or anything else you like. Fill in behind it with good topsoil (its way cheaper if you have a truckload delivered, buying bags is expensive). Voila, new planting bed and no runoff problem (be sure your retaining wall is not sealed, but allows water to seep through).

Sounds more difficult than it is. Since my whole property is a giant steep hill, I have built many, wood and block ones. Yours is flat and not very tall, piece of cake! Just be sure you sink the bottom course about half its depth and level it well. The rest is just stacking.

Alternatively, you could mix sand and peat moss into the soil (sand to help it let water through, peat to help it hold water instead of running off) and then plant it in a good ground cover. Then it won't erode, even though you haven't fixed the slope.