Landscaping ideas for hill with poor drainage- I'd love suggestions!

I want to make the side of my house more appealing. The biggest problem here is that when it rains the water washes away mulch, etc. French drains were installed over 14 years ago prior to our buying the house and they no longer work. We are in the process of killing weeds. We planted one rooted rose trimming from a friend, and 5 small bushes In late March or early April . I'd love suggestions!

  14 answers
  • Depending on your budget you might think about putting in a short retaining wall? Maybe about 3 to 4 feet high and start to level that area off with fill dirt with gravel below that for drainage. Your local Extension Office might have some ideas about what kind of ground cover you might want to put there as well. Ground cover will slow down the erosion and hold the soil in place. I'm a Master Gardener and those are just a few ideas and you might see if the French drains can be repaired?

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    • Dwp7470b Dwp7470b on Aug 11, 2018

      Agreed and more. Alike the Steppes in Spain. There is a dire need for a steppe layout by terraform prioritized first to enable figuring out: exactly how high that retaining wall after the top steppe levels, actually needs to be. I would say go with 2 feet, using: 48 bricks per small section, and ground [or set] 1 post in each section and fill that with concrete. Making the posts higher enables expanse future for a privacy fence, or any sort of pergola styled shading of the lower platform. No fewer than 480 bricks, 12 bags of concrete and 10 posts for the retaining wall. Those will in this yard create a very large platform where soil is. After that comes steppe two, and steps to get from steppe #1 to #2 will be essential to that terraformation as a success. They may want a pro to just pour or do that theyself by same methods of creating 6 brick frames as the means to convert a wood diagram to brick. So yeah there is need for a retaining wall, but leveling both of steppe #1 and steppe #2 need precede because: 8 inch high, 12 inch deep brick steps are part of where that retaining wall is not going to include in the 480 or so bricks for the 2' wall. So to figure out how many bricks you need, you gotta create the two levels and measure the height differentials between. As always 19 and 17, 20 and 16, 21 and 15 etc, etc always summing 18×Steppes with two sums as 36, and can onset any size wall you want by concentrating soils to the top most platform of the steppe.

      If they go 20 and 16, they need 4 ft retaining wall and 960 bricks, If they go 22 and 14, they need an 8 ft. Retaining wall and 1920 bricks.

      Thus they need terraform the two steppes as the primary job, otherwise they will have no idea how many bricks, posts and 80lb bags of cement they need nor if any huge rocks or hidden buried foundations from 1780s, may impede ability to: place steps anyplace they wish.

      I wish I could say it was easier, but without the work of terraform it does not look as neatly done, and the less neatly done it is, the harder it is to maintain the look, grounds, plants and cleanliness. I wish I had a yard like this to work with, but, I factually don't. Due to my warehouse, the yard is 2400 sq foot smaller than ordinary.

  • Beautiful property! If your French drains no longer work that means they are clogged and need to be cleaned out. Get out there and clear the muck, or get your gardener to do for you, or hire a plumber. They require a minimum of maintenance, but do need to be looked after. Once functioning again then reevaluate your next step.

  • Ebbjdl Ebbjdl on Jul 15, 2018

    Hi Jane, The best thing is a vinyl fence. Make the pitch higher, so the water runs off. The fence will never rot or need painting. All you have to do is hose it down to clean it.

  • Rae Rae on Jul 16, 2018

    This ground looks similar to the angle around my home. Ours is built into a hill and has a steep grade. My suggestion is as Nancy said use the angle to your advantage using the blocks to build different levels of retaining wall. I then filled it up with good dirt and planted flowers in mine. It is not a cheap project but done correctly it will last years and with mulch & flowers it is quite attractive from the road.

  • 1401470 1401470 on Jul 16, 2018

    Depending on where you live I would probably do blooming shrubs like hydrangeas, azaleas, and possibly rhododendrons. To keep the mulch from washing away you may want to build up a sort of wall in the low area so even if the mulch washes down you can still keep it in the beds. Could be a really pretty space but it will take some muscle to get it right. Lining with large rocks or making a brick border around the edge would help.

  • Mary Mary on Jul 16, 2018

    rock dry river bed with potted plants

  • Linda Linda on Jul 16, 2018

    I'm with Mary. Rocks. It's cheaper to buy a truck load. Must put down weed control first. I did this across the front of my house. It gives color and I used large rocks as accent pieces. If your climate is right, Crown of Thorns plant blooms all year and adds more color.

  • Chriss Grijak Chriss Grijak on Jul 16, 2018

    Hostas always worked for us....they are affordable and come in many different varieties. They also can withstand drought conditions. Good luck!

  • Karen Hyde Karen Hyde on Jul 16, 2018

    Many hostas are shade plants so do your research.

  • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on Jul 16, 2018

    You must prevent any water from getting near your foundation.

    Before you do any more planting I think I would add a couple of rows of weeping tile the full length of the area so that excess water runs out onto the grass and not head for your home. Place garden fabric in the trenches and add some rock before you place the pipe. The holes in the pipe are placed at the bottom so as to catch any water and make better drainage. Place more rock over the top of the pipes,

    The idea of the walls is good but will be expensive to do, so if you decide to go that route, do one wall at a time, starting at the top, to spread out the expense. Be sure to increase the elevation of the soil near your home so that any water will run away to a lower level. You could plant large shrubbery about three feet from your foundation and the roots may eventually stop any water from penetrating your home also.

    Hostas do best in the shade, but you can start a plant just by getting a small root from a friend or neighbour. They grow like a weed and fill in very quickly once they get established.

  • Cathryn Martin Cathryn Martin on Jul 17, 2018

    Walls are expensive - think like a permaculturalist - build a SWALE or several swales. Swales can start as a channel dug into the soil that follows a natural curve (or curves) on your property or you can begin at soil level - up to you. The swale is a small, built up section that curves to create a holding area for rainwater which soaks into the swale area. What a swale is composed of is more or less what you can get locally - trash wood piled at the base of the swale, hay on top of the wood, pitch a bit of sand in there and then top with some dirt. Doesn't have to be great dirt, just dirt to hold the shape of your serpentine mini-hill. Now plant some tough plants on your swale - daylillies, black-eyed susans, as examples of full sun plants - you want perennials on the swale and then BACK of the swale where the water will accumulate, plant a tree or some bushes that you like. Their roots will take the rain, the swale will stop erosion and you've created a permaculture design that takes care of your rain/erosion issue on that hillside without spending thousands on retaining walls.

  • Ginger the farm gal Ginger the farm gal on Jul 18, 2018

    Call the pros, before you have foundation issue$

  • Victoria Victoria on Sep 15, 2021

    Similar to my own yard. We have decorative stone walls at different levels.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Dec 19, 2021

    With the water running down your foundation is being challenged, call in some landscapers and pick their brains on the best affordable solution.