Gardening & Landscaping
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How to maintain/plant this hillside? Ideas?

We just moved into our first house. I'm excited, because I've always been in apartments and never gotten to garden before. I'm having lots of fun in the nice front yard planters!

What we can't figure out is what to do with this sloping hillside in our backyard above our pool. It appears to be all weed grass, and it grew insanely fast after a few days of rain. My husband went up there with a weedwhacker to keep it from getting too overgrown, but it took him a really long time, and it's already growing again. I really don't want to have to weedwhack it all the time, plus it gets crud into the pool. 

 We can't afford to terrace it or get a landscaper in here right now, with all the other fix-it costs of the house piling up, so that's not an option. It's pretty when it's all green up there, but once it grows up high, it just looks bad. I noticed up at the top of the hill, there's a small patch of pretty purple wildflowers. I'd LOVE to get something like that all over the hill! I bought a big packet of wildflower seeds to spread, though I'm wondering if that will cause issues. Will the wildflowers "take over" the weeds, or not? Do I have to kill the whole hillside first? And obviously once there's flowers up there, you can't weedwhack without killing the flowers too...any ideas on what to do with this hill? I'd like to either have it green or with flowers/color, with VERY little maintenance. Or maybe one day put some fruit trees up there. Suggestions? We're total newbies at all this, and need it low-budget. Is there maybe a green plant or flowering ground crawler you can recommend that "takes over" the hillside and doesn't need trimming, that looks good?

Oh, and we're in Southern California, if that helps. 

Pics:  Pics of the hill

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Visit our IndieGogo campaign here
Also check out our homemade crafts and art on our blog's fundraising page here.
All proceeds go towards the adoption costs.

The Morgan's Hopeful Journey

Re: How to maintain/plant this hillside? Ideas?

  • I'm a relatively new gardner myself and have been dealing with a yard with a similar grade slope.

    Since I live in the Pacific NW, I can't offer much advice on plant choices.  But as someone who has deal with a similar situation, I just thought I'd share a few thoughts.  First, consider that the grass, trees and shrubs are preventing erosion.  So they may not look pretty but they're doing an important job.  Next, consider if you're actually going to get it re-landscaped at some point, in which case it worth investing time, energy and money in a short-term fix?  A couple options stopgap options woudl be to embrace the wild look and plant some more wild flowers or create a living screen with trees or shrubs.

    I did ground cover and wild flower experiments, and it was a more work than I thought it would be because I didn't just toss seeds or put in a plant without prepping the ground because otherwise whatever you put in has to compete with grass for sun and nutrients. 

  • I think it's not so much how it looks (I don't mind the grass up there now, it looks fine, when it's not overgrown), but more that the maintenance once it gets too long sucks. My husband weedwhacked it all ONCE and went, forget it, this is too hard...so I'm looking for a lower-maintenance option. Something that will look pretty or even just green, that we don't have to mow or weedwhack. Would spreading wildflowers over the existing stuff help with that? Or would it all just continue to grow out of control?

     I definitely want something up there to prevent erosion. Just trying to figure out HOW to get rid of the weeds up there now and replace it with something better. But I have no idea how!

    We MIGHT get it relandscaped, but waaay off in the future, so I'm trying to prevent the headache for now. Simply can't afford landscaping right now, because we're facing huge costs like fixing the roof of the house first.

    Help us on our journey to adopt our first child! Your support is appreciated.
    Visit our IndieGogo campaign here
    Also check out our homemade crafts and art on our blog's fundraising page here.
    All proceeds go towards the adoption costs.

    The Morgan's Hopeful Journey
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