richie894
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Help with sloped front yard - mulch/ killing grass

Hello,

I have a front yard which is has a steep slope on the front. It is too steep to comfortably mow with a lawnmower. I am looking for advice of what to do with it. The area is about 40ft long and 30ft deep- 1,200 sq ft.

I was planning on just dumping 3" of mulch over it all and then add plants at a later date when I have more money. With that being said is mulch a good option? If so, can I just dump it over the existing grass/ weeds? I have heard bad things about landscape fabric and tried spraying the area with grass killer (41% glyphosphate) with not much luck. Even if I do kill the grass, I am sure it will just grow back. Not sure how to get rid of the current grass.

Another option someone told me was to dump top soil over it all and sprinkle wild flower seeds over it all. I am Just looking for a budget friendly and low maintenance solution which will add curb appeal to my house.

I have a big birthday party at my house for my daughter in a couple of weeks and was hoping to get something done before then.

Thanks

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imafan26
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Re: Help with sloped front yard - mulch/ killing grass

I don't see a solution besides mulch to be ready in two weeks. For a more long term solution you can keep the grass but use a weed whacker instead of a mower. I have a smaller slope and the mower always slid sideways or if I mowed down the slope, it was hard to drag the mower back up again. Weed whackers were made for handling slopes. If you get really good at it, you can get an even cut. Get a strap for the weed whacker, it makes it easier to use especially if you are using a gas whacker.

Another option would be to plant a ground cover instead. It will need weeding but there are some ground covers that can be "mowed" that will hold the soil better than grass on a slope and you will have less soil erosion. Ground covers do not require as much "mowing" or maintenance as grass if you choose the right ones. Mulch covers the soil but won't be able to hold it in heavy rain and depending on the grade the mulch will go the way of gravity over time.

For myself, if it is a fairly steep grade, I would consider terraciing it. It is a long term solution and if you want to save money and do it yourself, it will take a lot of sweat and time. It opens up more options for what you can put there and it can conserve the soil if done right.
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richie894
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Re: Help with sloped front yard - mulch/ killing grass

imafan26 wrote: Another option would be to plant a ground cover instead. It will need weeding but there are some ground covers that can be "mowed" that will hold the soil better than grass on a slope and you will have less soil erosion. Ground covers do not require as much "mowing" or maintenance as grass if you choose the right ones. .
Do you have any recommendation for ground cover plants? That was our initial plan, but when we went to our local nursery what they recommended were $25-35 per plant and we would need about 50 to cover the whole area, which would not be cost effective.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help with sloped front yard - mulch/ killing grass

What in heavens name were they trying to sell you? I never heard of $30 per plant except maybe well grown trees.

Creeping phlox is one nice native spring flowering ground cover. Wild ginger is pretty if your area is at least partly shaded.

Periwinkle (vinca minor) is a plant I personally hate, because it is invasive, very fast spreading, chokes out everything else. But the very things that make it a pain if you are trying to grow forest wildflowers, make it very practical for your slope. It is a nice looking plant with pretty little blue or pink flowers in spring.

Other choices are liriope, lantana, euonymous.

I do agree ground covers are the way to go in your situation.

Most of these (except the wild ginger, which would have to come from a specialty native plant nursery) should be readily available and not too expensive.

As an e.g. Burpee has the vinca as seeds, $5 for a packet of 20, or plants 6/$14. Or look on eBay -- here's ten plants for $10 http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/1218265219 ... noapp=true Remember you can space your plants out pretty much. It may look a little bare this year, but it will fill in a lot by next year.

You will have to get rid of the grass first. You can just dig it out. Just work on it a small section at a time and plant your ground cover as soon as the grass is gone, so the ground cover gets a good head start. You can make this a project over a couple seasons.
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richie894
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Re: Help with sloped front yard - mulch/ killing grass

I just found online a place where we can get snow in summer and magic carpet seeds cheap. I am going to give that a shot to see if I can get them germinated and hopefully that will work. Although it will obviously take a couple of months, rather than weeks.

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Help with sloped front yard - mulch/ killing grass

Daylilies or, as some people call them, ditch lilies would work very well. That's what people around here use on much steeper slopes here. You can mix colors but the old orange is pretty aggressive and might crowd the other colors out. Good news is they spread pretty well, tolerate sun or shade and wet or dry conditions, cost around $3 to $5 per plant, and are edible. Bad news is that they are what most people use. If the area is shaded you could put hostas or ferns there in addition to the lilies. Any of those will choke out most weeds but you will have to watch out for stray trees and poison ivy popping up here and there.

Don't put landscape fabric there. It might look good for a couple years but eventually becomes a weedy nightmare. Plants will sprout on top of it and grow through it. When you try to pull a plant the fabric will come with it.

As for now, mulch with an attractive mulch then when you get around to planting just move it aside, plant, then move it over the planted area.

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applestar
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Re: Help with sloped front yard - mulch/ killing grass

Don't forget to paper first. Flattened cardboard for relatively even surfaces, packing Kraft paper for contoured areas.

Even if you don't have the time or resources to do proper "Terracing" with wall blocks, you can line up some wall blocks in an arc below the slope of the tree to help hold up the soil and mulch for now, and plan on properly installing one later.
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imafan26
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Re: Help with sloped front yard - mulch/ killing grass

I don't know what kinds of plants are good ground covers where you live. Ground covers are usually pretty fast growing so unless you want an instant garden, you can get smaller plants and space them out more or a large plant and propagate them yourself. That is what I do. I use blue daze and firetails for ground covers on my sloping driveway. I bought 4 inch pots for less than a dollar (well that was then, it is probably less than $2 now). I divided them and made cuttings and grew them in pots while I prepared the site and planted them out when they were ready. I still had space between the plants, but I knew the plants would cover it up eventually. I have also planted pelargoniums and alyssum from seed and they spread out. Alyssum will actually go from seed to bloom in six weeks but it is not deep rooted so it won't hold back a steep slope, but it will grow between rocks. Hearts and flowers will hold sand and is salt tolerant.
Portulaca doesn't need much water and can take light traffic. Daylilies are a good choice. They can be propagated by the fans that grow out from the leaves, but should be divided every 3 years or so since they stop blooming when they get too tight. I actually have a ground cover rose, baby blanket I got from Jackson and Perkins. It is about 3 feet tall and has a 5 ft spread. Landscape roses bloom and do not have the pests or as many disease issues as the hybrids. The baby blanket and red cascade roses don't even get regular fertilizer and they just keep going an going. Actually red cascade goes too far, it is a rambler with 20 ft canes. I have to keep cutting them back.
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