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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help for a big hill.

pwbennettFebruary 26, 2013
I need landscape ideas for the steep hill. I want to keep it low growing to maintain the lake view. Right now it is a lot of rock and weeds, with stone path walk-way.
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Amy Martin Landscape Design
This kind of project is complicated because of possible erosion into the body of water below. You probably need to contact the conservation commission in your town and find a good landscape designer to help you through the process. Check the website for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers www.apld.org
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:35AM
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Interiors International, Inc.
I would suggest a pro also and check zoning. I know in MN. they are very touchy about lake shore. We did our own but it wasn't quite as close to the lake. We have a level section of land between our steep hill and the water.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:40AM
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Jayme H.
I recall several instances in MN where my family had limited options ...ie: No sand on existing beach, no landscaping allowed within so many feet of lake, etc...I also recommend research first...Best of luck.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 6:16AM
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The only restriction is in building permits and codes for piers, boathouses, docks, sea walls,, etc. My question is what can I plant that will cover ground, without too much upkeep. I'm in central Alabama. There is level land from the house and surrounding porch that we have plans for a low deck and patio area.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 6:28AM
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Interiors International, Inc.
My landscape guy likes the natural look you have. He did suggest adding some evergreen trees. He feels all that it needs is to minimize erosion. The natural look along the lake is appealing from the water.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 6:49AM
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Jayme H.
IDK what grows well there.. but I also like a natural look.. some grasses can be visually interesting and varying in colors and heights..Some spread quite a bit, some less spreading.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 6:59AM
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That's damn near the same property we have in Ky! It has been the bane of my existence for ten years! We, too, do not have strict restrictions so, we took out a ton of cedars to open the view. Along our walkway we planted ornamental grasses for some movement. I have tried to break it into manageable sections using the rock as edging for beds. In went anything that was remotely deer resistant (salvia, bee balm, lavender, catmint). The rest is a variety of groundcover (creeping Charlie, periwinkle, creeping Jenny).
Until we can afford to do something else, I have just dealt with the imperfection (not easy for me but, it's a weekend home!). Good luck!
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:09AM
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Thanks elklaker ... I like a less formal look but not the "totally neglected, weedy " type. Ground covers that are deer resistant and hopefully not loved by snakes would hep.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:37AM
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What kid of restrictions are there about terracing the hill?
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    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:42AM
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Keeping the weeds at bay is the most difficult part. As I am too cheap to spend money on a bunch of mulch, I shred leaves with my blower/vac and use them as mulch. Preen and Roundup have become my very good friends as well. By about mid-July I usually throw the towel in and just pop open another beer! Seems to work.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:52AM
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
Start by planting naturalizing bulbs that do well in your area perhaps Jonquilla Narcissi. 500 is not too many to start. Then add more each year. Look online for wildflower seed companies. Clear the weeds from some areas leading down to the lake and scatter wildflower seeds that are known to do well in your area. Don't purchase just a few ounces. You have a large area so purchase several pounds of wild flowers. The time of year that you spread seed is important so do your research. Find a native plant nursery in your area and start planting native plants on the hillside. It will be a fun project but hard work and over time you will have a beautiful natural landscape.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:53AM
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What about Mediterranean type plants since you have rocky soil. Try rosemary, lavender, rockrose, Ca poppies,fennel and daylillies should work.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:22PM
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The Color People
I think cleaning up the path with dressed stone for the outside of it and pea gravel for the path. I would be inclined to plant the whole hill in a season's worth of local wildflowers. Some will be blooming all season long, they won't grow up and block the view, they are low maintenance, and they are pretty much taken care of by nature and rain.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:11PM
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Sadly, The Army Corps of Engineers has easements on most lakefront property in America that have anything to do with power generation. This may not apply to your lake. I hope it doesn't. They will stick their nose in everything and (if applicable) are most likely who permits your dock. So rather than beg costly forgiveness, hire a professional (this is NO time for DIY!) and ask reasonable permission. They are Nazis. Good luck. But hire a pro no matter what. What about a terraced golf cart path down to the lake to haul the boat gear in one trip? Many lake property owners near us do this with great success and when professionally executed, isn't NEAR as ugly as it sounds.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:23PM
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I second Pamela's suggestion of bulbs and native plants for lower maintenance. In addition to nurseries that specialize in native plants, Check to see if your state has a native plant society which would be a good resource for both info or possibly plants. Also a good book to check out is Gardening With Native Plants of the South. Tons of lower growing options for all seasons.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:43PM
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Cyndi Connelley-Eskine
Bulbs are a great way to go. If you can get some of varying height, perhaps some day lilies added to Pamela's suggestion for color. The ever-bloomers are great as they bloom from June to September. Also there are some types of mums that do very well in your zone. Local and native plants are best, try to get a variety so there is something in bloom all the time. As everyone else has suggested, do speak to a professional so you don't end up in trouble, but in my opinion, a nice path with wildflowers (perennial only) surrounding it would be beautiful,and very easy to maintain.
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:40AM
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Amy Martin Landscape Design
I think you should stick with native ornamental grasses, mixed with some native perennials to feed the butterflies,etc. The grasses will help prevent erosion and create a native habitat. Butterfly weed, purple coneflower and aster would be beautiful mixed in with the grasses. Bulbs would be nice for spring, but you need coverage all year.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 8:19AM
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I agree with Amy ( as she is a professional). The deer will mow down day lilies and many other flowers.
Butterfly bush (weed) will grow about anywhere, is fragrant, and, obviously, the butterflies love it. Lamb's ear is another perennial that will grow well, spread and requires little to no maintenenance.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:01AM
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I just googled deer proof plants and came up with this useful link:


Seems like daylilies are a favorite of deer, unfortunately, as others have commented.

I must admit I smile a little at the recommendations to take out the "weeds" and plant "wild flowers" - aka "weeds" in another setting. A weed is any plant growing where you do not want it, in my experience!
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:08AM
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Really appreciate all the good feedback. I would like an evergreen ground cover. Would clover work?
    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:37AM
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I don't know enough about clover except that I don't want it in my lawn.
What about an euyonomous (sp?)? Seems fast growing, deer-resistant and available in green and variegated varieties. Landscapers?
    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:46AM
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