I need landscape helpPLEASE Don't know what to do

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by ckball, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. ckball

    ckball New Member

    Ok guys ANY cheap ideas? See my profile pic, it is what I am left with after the new drain and driveway were installed this weekend.

    The only good thing is the red clay is packed now and not a mush that sucked your boots off. I did research growing grass in this clay and was not hopefull. It can take several seasons and a lot of work and money

    I am seriously condsidering filling the area with larger rocks and do a complete hardscape. Would that look bad?

    I can and have done many things in my life but growing grass and outdoor plants is something I do not want to do. I know many of you would love to have this area to plant all kinds of beautiful flowers, but I don't know a thing about outdoor plants other than they are pretty.

    Cost wise I imagine it would be close in price by the time I bought enough seed and all the things that go with it, I still need to research more.

  2. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    Hawaii is also red clay although probably a different climate than what you're used to.

    I have many houseplants and a few of them are a vine type of plant. They come either all green or varigated varieties. (crap, can't spell varigated)

    Anyway, I was amazed to see them as ground cover in Hawaii all over the place, but especially around the exposed roots of the large Banyon (sp?) trees.

    They use them here too in Germany over retaining wall type areas because very little of Germany is flat.

    Just your regular, fast growing vine type houseplant, shouldn't cost an arm and a leg and they grow so quickly.

    Also, no need to mow...


  3. sisland

    sisland New Member

    I like your idea of the rock/hardscape filler!,,you could even put fake plants or flowers in that stuff and it would look good!,,,,,,

    more and more folks up this way are going for the (Rock Lawns) That's what i call them!,,,,,,,lolol,

    It's less Mowing and saves lawn Matinence Money!,,,like you could get thoes tall fake plants or trees,,,,,Looks like a fun project to me!,,,,,Goodluck and keep us posted!,,,,,,,S
  4. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    I'm about as far from a landscape expert as you can get, but here are some thoughts I have: instead of rock, you might consider filling in the space with a kind of woodchip mulch or even pecan shells, and plant a few small trees or plants that would be appropriate for Ashland, Kentucky. Woodchip mulch is cheaper than rock, especially when it comes to delivery and paying the guys to spread it out. But using rock, and then planting some Kentucky plants or trees would look really good there, too. Either way, the space could look very park-like, and you wouldn't have to mow. I'm not sure how much you'd need to water your new plants or trees. Your local nursery could probably help you with ideas for this space.

    Here in Albuquerque, many people are replacing grass lawns with rock or, as we just did, with mulch. The city is actually giving us a huge rebate (around $600 off of our water bill this year), since we'll be using less water. That's not much less than our whole xeriscaping job is costing. My wife planted a plum tree, some desert willow trees, a yucca and various high desert plants. She plans to plant more plants and grasses in the next month or so.

    Hope you glass making is going well. Maybe landscaping could be a new hobby for you! Good luck, and how about posting an "after" picture in a few months!


    [This Message was Edited on 03/31/2008]
  5. monica33flowers

    monica33flowers New Member

    Let me do a little research on your Zone (climate for Kentucky and this red clay) and I promise you I will help you find something affordable, OK?

    How much of an area are we talking about first of all, how much space? Do you currently have any trees, bushes, etc? Also, do you have any favorite type of plants that you would like to see incorporated into your landscape?

    One more question do you have any local farmers in your area that have cows or horses? Trust me on this one, we are looking for topsoil on the cheap and this is a starting point.
  6. sisland

    sisland New Member

    I just thought of something that seems to go along with the Red Bark or rock thing ,,,,,if you put black viscquine or plastic under it the weeds won't grow up through it,,,,,just an idea!
  7. ckball

    ckball New Member

    It is a large area, the photo is deceiving. I thought about the mulch with the liner underneath with a few trees.

    But as you see I live in a very wooden area and the leaves in the fall are a lot, So I would have to rake and clean the leaves without messing up the, mulch.

    With the hardscape I could take my shop vac and use to blow the leaves off.

    I am really having a hard time with all of this, mainly because it has been going on so long. I looked at grass seed, fertilizer, ect at Wally's and it would cost at least a couple hundred bucks and there is no guaratee that it will take, in the meantime, my dogs have to walk across it to get to the hillside to potty.

    Monica-thank you so much for looking for me, I know you have your hands full right now, I do hope you can get some releif soon. So don't fuss with this too much-ok?

    I bought 6 9x12 drop cloths and will just cover it for now and give it a couple weeks to look and price out my options.

    As I said I do not like yard work, so low maintence is my priorty. I don't have anyone to help me with large bags of manure, fertilizer, ect. Just looking and reading all the stuff today at Wally's was just too much for me to even think about putting grass in there.

    I would rather spend a couple hundred dollars more now and not have any maintence later. I am just confused and exhuasted, plus my back is still giving me problems.

    Ken I bet you enjoy not having to worry about watering and cutting the grass. I even looked into artifical grass but at 3.39 a sq ft at the low end is a little more than I can do.

    Sis, Nancy and whoever replied, I forgot already :) brain fog, thank you - I appreciate it. Well back out to see my mom now-Thanks for the ideas-Carla
  8. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Add rocks or gravel since it's cheaper interspersed with some small evergreen shrubs (they'll grow). You can inexpensively add more gravel or rocks as needed.

  9. monica33flowers

    monica33flowers New Member

    I love this type of thing! If it were possible I would become a landscape designer but this DD has made that dream non-existant.

    First of all I guess I need to find out more first about this "spot" is this your front yard OR the side of the house or what? LOL. I'm just trying to get a handle on the "purpose" of this space and the relation to where the house sits. Make sense?

    Just looking at the picture and not doing much research on the clay soil what about just putting in a wild seed flower mixture or maybe so sort of tall grass? That is just what is coming off the top of my head. Because you don't want to mow the grass or futz around with yard work, right?

  10. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    My Suggestions:
    First, you want to draw a backwards "C" from the left where the muck begin at the ditch and curve the line to the driveway. You don't want a straight line separating the existing grass in the ditch to your gravel driveway.

    Next, I'd purchase good landscape fabric and lawn staples. I'd install the landscape fabric and overlap the seams by about 6 inches. This will give you time to figure out what you want to do and keep your dog's feet from getting all full of mud. Whether you plant some trees, put down gravel or rock, or spread mulch---you STILL need that layer of landscape fabric to stop weeds from growning.

    I agree with the member who stated that rocks are expensive for the hauling and men dispersing them. I'd go for the mulch, a couple trees, and add some additional underplantings in the future.

    I don't know whether you are in a residential area that requires you to immediately put in the final landscaping. Otherwise, take your time. The landscape fabric will hold up just by itself for quite awhile.

    When you do purchase mulch, I'd get the no-float mulch and not worry about the tree leaves in the fall. Worst case basis, use your leaf blower.

    Do NOT use solid plastic instead of lawn fabric. Solid plastic doesn't breathe and allow oxygen and water to pass through it.
  11. monica33flowers

    monica33flowers New Member

    Carla, the wheels are starting to spin and I have a few more questions for you.

    1. What would this space look like to you if money was no object?

    2. Does this space serve a purpose at all? Do the girls run around here a lot? Is this a high traffic area for the dogs, that kind of thing?

    3. I do see this needs to be very low maintenance anything else?

    4. Personally, if you would decide on grass I wouldn't use all those lawn chemicals since you have the dogs. I have grass and lots of dandoleins but I refuse to use any chemicals to hurt my cats, the birds or even the bees. The thing is do you want to mow the lawn or would you maybe want to use a taller type grass?

    I had a few more questions but I'm having a fibro fog moment. I'm sure I'll think of them again.
  12. ckball

    ckball New Member

    Wow thanks for all the suggestions. I have changed to picture, the first picture was taken from the corner of the porch you see in this picture. Or you can go here and see a video that will make you smile

    Is is a large triangle shape then the mud runs another 100 feet to the end of the backyard where is drops off.

    The landscaping fabric doesn’t work right now, everything is so wet the muddy water seeps threw to the top when it is walked on. I bought $1 drop cloths just for now. I have fabric now around the porch area and it is already muddy.

    The dogs walk off the end of the porch and cross over the new driveway and go up the hill to potty. The area is just there, no purpose other than take my time and money.

    No neighbor rules, the deer don’t care,lol. I have been dealing with this mud since Dec and am so done with it, but have to do something. I was thinking about the large stones you see on some interstate hillsides.

    It can be delivered and basically dumped and spread with out too much man power. But don’t know the cost yet.

    Low maintenance is my goal. Thank you for all your ideas and questions. I do the inside of houses and understand your passion Monica for a good challenge. I spent 4 years remodeling my 1500 sf ft house I bought for $15,000- really no typo. It was a bank repo and was basically cosmetic but I did the majority of the work myself. Ok I need to check the porch as I have been gone all day, with the exception of the grocery drop off then on to mom- Carla
  13. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    I have no helpful suggestions, but I see others are eager to help. I am amazed at all you do despite the DDs. Your girls are lucky to have such a wonderful owner.

    The front yard where I live in a mixture of bricks and wood. I think the wood is redwood bark. Virtually no maintenance.

  14. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    it might be a bit unruly, but a ten pound bag of bird seed might cover the area. Probably all sorts of plants would sprout up. The second year, esp. if self seeded, perhaps only a few type plants would thrive and survive the deer.

    Don't think it would apply to the clay,etc, but I've found that just continuous mowing an area will will eventually turn it into low growing grass.

    Good luck (you'll probably need it with deer attacks:)
    Cheers, mr Bill

    (Oh, I suppose I should throw out one bizarre thought.
    Perhaps a field of dandelions would be quite pretty.)
    [This Message was Edited on 04/01/2008]
  15. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Well I think that very cheaply you could put in piles of squash to settle the earth this first year. They have pretty and edible flowers-anything that creeps along and covers the ground. Another good this is yarrow, this grows well in red clay and multiplies. I think you could probably mulch with the bark or gravel (bark is cheaper and easier) you could try a very tough grass seed too, just cover it lightly with sand, this may work quite well, and it grows OK if you get a Kentucky grass or similar. It is also cheap and worth the try.

    Next year you could put bulbs in in clusters here and there in the grass, and don't forget forget me nots as they spread like crazy and also lavender can do well in some clays.

    Love Annie
  16. victoria

    victoria New Member

    RealMadScientist has a good idea... imho... letting it sort of go wild in a somewhat more controlled way.

    Do you have bermuda grass planted on rest of your lawn? If you do it will likely take over, given enough time anyway. I tried gardening where we are presently (good old Georgia red clay!) and found that the runners from it were worst than any weeds... it even goes under landscape fabric for a long run and WILL poke thru it even tho I had several layers.put down..

    I finally gave up, quite honestly! However we have let our lawn go rather wild, we have a variety of wild things that do survive the bermuda all by themselves that I love, tiny short plants that I looked up and found the name of that produce beautiful purple flowers in February that are considered a weed...but of course I forget the name of them... some others too that I think are pretty--

    AND we have lots of birds. Our neighbor's cows occasionally get into our pasture too and seem to like it all... we also have good pastures anyway, and it all seems to have achieved some kind of balance that I couldn't force.

    all the best,

    [This Message was Edited on 04/01/2008]
  17. monica33flowers

    monica33flowers New Member

    OK, Carla, I just had another thought. If you would like to put in grass here is a much better way to hold the grass in place so it does not wash away.

    Here in WI you can buy a mesh type of material to lay down on the ground that has hay woven into the material. You will lay this down on the area where you want to grow the grass. Then spread grass seed all over the top of the material and water regularly. This is used quite often here in WI in sloped areas where grass is hard to grow. As for grass seed I would go with a grass seed called, Rebel Fescue, it seems that it will be the best for your soil conditions therefore you won't have to amend the soil, etc. It spreads quickly and is very tolerant for your zone. You may have to ask a landscaper to purchase this type of fabric from them or maybe a nursery or maybe even Home Depot or some other type of store may carry this type of product in you area.

    I've also done some research on plants that would work in your type of soil if you would like the names or maybe if you would like to add some trees just ask your local nursery about what would grow best for trees but let me tell you trees are very expensive.

    You were right, when I saw the space I was drooling all over my keyboard thinking about what I could do with the space but it all boils down to what you want and what works for you.

    Also, before I forget, you could add some pathways with gravel for the girls so that way until the grass comes in they aren't trampling over everything and bringing in the clay soil on their little paws.

    Let me know if this might work or if we should adjust this plan. I would like to see maybe towards the back of the house some wildflowers or even some nice hardy perennials for a little color. They would be extremely low maintenance and would just add a little color and softeness.
  18. ckball

    ckball New Member

    I like Mr bills the best. I don't have a problem with it going wild. Did you look at the second picture. It is from the road, I do not do anything to the hill side-ever.

    Rock I don't know how I do it either, but I don't get anything else done when I have these projects.

    I put 10 9ft x 12ft thin plastic drop cloths down today- Try to do that in 25 mph winds! It wasn't enough but I covered the areas the girls walk across to get the hill.

    The ditch I dug was right up against the hill, it stayed wet because there is a lot of ground water or a under ground stream.

    Right now it is so loose, soft and WET. I got stuck twice and fell in the soft mud puddles.

    I wouldn't have to water anything, but would be more worried about over watering. I so appreciate everyones ideas and I think I am going to have to hardscape for now for functional purposes like making the mud go away.

    I truly am overwhelmed by this right now. Just the area in the front and across from the house is about 1400 sq ft. I can't imagine how much work and money it would take to do grass in these conditons, let alone beautiful flowers and plants. That does not include the other 1000 sq ft in the back yard.

    I will call about the rock in a few days, after today I need to let it go so I can get other things done that need to get done. I can only do so much a day then I am down the rest of the day.

    Again thank you all so much and I am going to save this all for the future so I can look them up and see what they look like. I like the ivy idea too. I know I can always depend on you guys to come up with great ideas. That is why I love this board. I hope all of you have beautiful gardens and lawns and share your pics with everyone-Take care-Carla
  19. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    if you opt for any combination that includes wood chips or mulch, make sure that they are safe around dogs. Some are toxic in the same way chocolate is ~ common cocoa mulch. We all know how dogs like to chew sticks or chunks of wood.

    I like Marcia's suggestion of evergreens in your "hardscape".

    Peace out,
  20. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    Now I'm worried that the birdseed won't grow well. Usually does pretty well though. Millet quite prolific,etc. lol

    Clay pretty difficult to grow plants.
    I think that clay is used as a sealant for pools. Wonder if just backhoe digging a hole for a pond would work.

    Making adobe or fired bricks seems way too much trouble, but natural clay is used by some artists for kiln firing.

    Have fun experimenting, your mr Bill

    [This Message was Edited on 04/02/2008]