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Old 05-15-2012, 06:24 PM   #1
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


I would much appreciate any help with this.

My front lawn is sloped anywhere from 30-35 degrees. It slopes away from my house and down to the front sidewalk. I'd say it rises to about 7-8 feet over 24 feet wide.

A long time ago, the owner had a nice grassy lawn. He used to mow it using a rope. The previous owners let it go to rubbish. I bought the house.

Thought process so far:

- Lawn looks like heck but I'll mow it anyways, maybe it'll pretty up.
- The hill has very little hold, slide and almost fall with mower multiple times.
- Tried with a rope... doesn't work on uneven lawns.
- conclusion: too painstaking and dangerous to mow or whipper this lawn
- next: leave it alone
- weeds spread to neighbour
- looks horrible... some long tall weeds mixed with grass and multiple flowers
- winter comes (phew)
- look for suggestions on what to do
- best suggestion seems to be to get rid of weeds, put in ground cover
- best way to kill weeds (apparently), cover lawn with tarps for a year
- spring here, buy tarps, cover lawn...
- tarps keep blowing off, flat rocks (even heavy ones 80lbs +) slide down the hill, round ones roll down, pegs come out after tarps flap
- conclusion: tarps don't seem to be working

I don't have the funds to build a large wall and terrace the lawn. I think the cheapest way to have this look decent is to clear out the weeds, put something in that doesn't have to be mowed and that doesn't spread easily and build a rockwall in between the neighbour's yard in case some weeds try to propagate.

How do I:
- get rid of the current weeds? Can I just take a garden tine (sp?) and tear away at this? or do I just keep working with the PITA tarps?
- when I am done, what will stop the small amount of soil that is there from washing away?
- what can I plant that will hold on a slope like this?

or

should I just dump a dozen dumptrucks of rock on it?!?!

Here is an image of the front yard as it was a few years ago... in a bit better condition:
http://i47.tinypic.com/2cehsoy.jpg

Thanks again for your time.

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Old 05-15-2012, 07:14 PM   #2
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


I'm not sure where you are, but you might want to look at landscaping it with something like blue rug junipers. They'll spread and fill in gaps, but slowly. There won't be a danger of them taking over the neighbor's yard, and they are pretty low-maintenance.

http://landscaping.about.com/od/grou...ue_juniper.htm

Hack everything down and rake it as best as you can, plant them in a pattern at the recommended spacing and mulch the spaces in between. You might have to weed once in a while until they really fill in, but it beats losing your foot to a lawnmower


Last edited by Thunder Chicken; 05-15-2012 at 07:17 PM. Reason: stupid typo
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


Awwwwwwwww yeah.

That looks like exactly what I want.

" erosion control, weed control and eliminating the need to mow where footing is treacherous."

I'll do some more research but I may as well ask... if I am going to be planting these in loose soil on an exposed slope, how do I make sure that they don't wash out, or blow away?
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:08 PM   #4
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


The plants will spread a network of roots that will hold everything together. These aren't little perennial plants; these are woody and substantial plants. Certain varieties of junipers grow upright into trees (rug-type juniper spread along the ground).

You will have to do something to limit erosion until they are established. You should probably check out the lay of the land at the top of the hill and try to do something to prevent run-off from the house roof from running over this hill. Having plants with roots will be much more erosion resistant than rock or soil in the long term.
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


That is a little less than mine, but just about the same.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:38 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
That is a little less than mine, but just about the same.
I'm actually surprised by the way the picture looks. It's true that it isn't the greatest slope I've seen, but the picture is on an angle that seems to diminish it. It's just at the point where you can't walk up it... a running start will just get you enough velocity to make it to the top.

Can't wait to find and then try out these junipers!!! I'll post back in 5 years when they are mature!

Thunder, one last question. Do I want to remove everything on the slope? Or just the tall weeds? Seeing as these will end up choking out the small weeds and the grass that is already there?
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:56 AM   #7
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


I'd scalp it as close as possible without disturbing the roots of whatever is there. Then plant the junipers and then mulch over everything else. You'll probably get some straggler weeds afterwards, but at least it should keep everything from sliding off the hill.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:25 AM   #8
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


To me, when I looked at it again, it appears that there are three terraces on that slope. The front yard of my grandparents, it was a cliff. There was three six foot high terraces that had ground cover in them, so that you did not have to hoist or lower a mower to cut those beds. Loved climbing the brick walls as a kid, but hated weeding them, when we went up there for two weeks every Summer.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:11 AM   #9
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


Just a caution... I'd be careful with leveling a lawn as your house needs drainage. I learned this lesson the hard way as I removed some downspouts at our last house and suddenly had problems with basement flooding. Depends on where you live but maybe the landscaper was thinking ahead? Water needs to move away from your house.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


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Originally Posted by JobsiteJim View Post
Just a caution... I'd be careful with leveling a lawn as your house needs drainage. I learned this lesson the hard way as I removed some downspouts at our last house and suddenly had problems with basement flooding. Depends on where you live but maybe the landscaper was thinking ahead? Water needs to move away from your house.
Did you even look at the picture? The OP has no problem with moving water away from the house. What their problem is, is what to do with that ski jump of a slope in front of their home.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:54 PM   #11
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


There is missing info on the original post and question. With no location given we have no idea of the climate and the rainfall to be expected. The description of the slope as being 30 to 33 degrees is plain wrong. The description of a 24 ft slope dropping 8 is more believable. That would be about a 3:1 slope. While a 3:1 slope having a run of 8 to ten feet can be stabilized with a planting of junipers, provided no above slope water is allowed to flow across the area, a run of 24 feet is almost sure to experience erosion on the lower half in most climates.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:22 PM   #12
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There is missing info on the original post and question. With no location given we have no idea of the climate and the rainfall to be expected.
It is in Ontario, where the temperature varies from +35 to -35C every year.

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The description of the slope as being 30 to 33 degrees is plain wrong. The description of a 24 ft slope dropping 8 is more believable. That would be about a 3:1 slope.
I was just saying that it's from 30-35 degrees. 0 being flat.. 90 being a wall. Over a length of 24 feet horizontally, then going up 8 feet, you should get a 33 degree slope.

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While a 3:1 slope having a run of 8 to ten feet can be stabilized with a planting of junipers, provided no above slope water is allowed to flow across the area, a run of 24 feet is almost sure to experience erosion on the lower half in most climates.
Thanks much for the info! I will have to so a bit more research then. Is there something better to place at the bottom? It does get a bit steeper in some areas at the bottom (~45 degrees).

The hill itself doesn't get much run-off water. Just direct rainfall.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:07 PM   #13
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


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I was just saying that it's from 30-35 degrees. 0 being flat.. 90 being a wall. Over a length of 24 feet horizontally, then going up 8 feet, you should get a 33 degree slope.


Dividing the vertical height by the horizontal distance gives the percent of slope, in this case 33%. The degree of slope is a trigonometric function. Where the 24 ft is the horizontal distance it would be the ARC TAN of .33 = 18.3 degrees.

One of the leading contributors to erosion on steep slopes comes from irregularities in slope surface. If the slope is perfectly uniform (think of a perfectly flat surface tilted up), then the water flow stays spread evenly across the surface as it travels down the slope. Erosion is a function of the depth and speed that water flows across a surface. Imperfections in a slope surface allow water to gather for greater flows in some areas and lesser in others leading to erosion where the flows are greatest. The longer the slope, the more this comes into play.

Erosion begins at the bottom of a slope and in itself becomes a slope imperfection. The erosion then works its way up the slope.
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Old 05-20-2012, 01:38 PM   #14
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


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Originally Posted by pls8xx View Post
Dividing the vertical height by the horizontal distance gives the percent of slope, in this case 33%. The degree of slope is a trigonometric function. Where the 24 ft is the horizontal distance it would be the ARC TAN of .33 = 18.3 degrees.

One of the leading contributors to erosion on steep slopes comes from irregularities in slope surface. If the slope is perfectly uniform (think of a perfectly flat surface tilted up), then the water flow stays spread evenly across the surface as it travels down the slope. Erosion is a function of the depth and speed that water flows across a surface. Imperfections in a slope surface allow water to gather for greater flows in some areas and lesser in others leading to erosion where the flows are greatest. The longer the slope, the more this comes into play.

Erosion begins at the bottom of a slope and in itself becomes a slope imperfection. The erosion then works its way up the slope.

Haha. Dur... you are absolutely right. if it was a horizontal distance of 24ft and a vert of 24 ft.. according to my logic that should be a 100% slope!

But it is a bit greater than 20% as I measured the vert from the cutout in the hill for the driveway, which is also sloped upwards.

Thank you much everyone for your help!
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:46 PM   #15
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Please help with my ridiculous front lawn slope


The Angle of Repose for many soils is about 30 degrees so you'd think there would be minimal erosion.

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