Landscape Design forum: Landscaping Work Needed

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Name: Peaker
Reno, NV
2015 Home Owner
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HillsideOwner
Jul 8, 2016 12:31 AM CST
First Post elsewhere: I bought into a new home in 2015. My workman tells me that the realtor did me a number, with a 2,500 sq. ft. hillside now growing with grasses and weeds. It is becoming a fire hazard as well as unsightly. I figured at the time, it would provide me the op for some light yard work. I never owned a home before. My health failed, and it's now beyond me. Last year, I hired a workman to string trim the grasses, as they were just getting too high. That worked, but with the heavier rain and sun this season, the weeds and all are growing back with a vengeance. I'm 64, with medical conditions, so haven't the energy anymore to deal with it all.

I'm looking at any way that I can find to control the fire hazard and the weeds. I got estimates of $10,000 to 35,000 for landscaping. I'd like it that it's nice to comply with any HOA agreements, and also drought tolerant. I had my small front yard done now for about $900, to place decorative rock and weed fabric, instead of the old, dry, and weed filled lawn. I looked at weed control by smothering, including using carpet. I tried with a tarp, but that didn't work. I don't think laying down weed fabric would also work, with as high as the growth has gotten.

Any suggestions for better and cheaper ways to get what I'm seeking is highly welcome. I don't want to use herbicide, or chemicals. I've looked at concrete as well as hiring workman to dig out the weeds and all, then to put in terracing and decorative rock, with shrubs and trees. I'm on Social Security, so haven't got a lot of money. Please help!

Second Post Elsewhere:

Thanks everybody for the replies! I messaged about goats but they didn't reply. My workman would trim or shear the hillside for about $200. I'm looking at doing this bit by bit. We started on clearing the side yards when some landscaping company warned about unlicensed contractors. By the NV Contractors' Board attorney, a workman is only a workman for jobs paying less than $1,000. That scared me, so I'm looking for other labor to clear out the weeds and grasses that we began work on clearing. I upped my budget to $10,000. I want to be fully legal. So it costs me five time more, but I guess for union labor or what. I put out ads and sent messages. I'm probably going to get a home equity loan. I even asked my realtor to see about trying to sell the property, and see if there's a cheaper home that I can move into with no yard work like mine presently.

I'm stressed out and having a mental condition at the same time as all of this. Hard to think, but some ideas here. The landscaping companies are pretty busy and some aren't taking new accounts. On pavers company I think said that they'd do it all from scratch for $6 a sq. ft. but I have to talk to them again. I have to call or wait to talk to a lot of companies and people tomorrow. It can be cheaper or more. I found a better rate for a home equity loan at US Bank, and I will finish with my mortgage payments in 2020. I can pay off the home equity or landscape company loan by then, with the extra money that I'll have, I hope.

I have to see a bunch of doctors, and hopefully they'll help. This might get done, depending if I can find reliable labor at $20/hour. That the pavers company would do all of it from scratch, that sounded great. I'll likely be dead in a few years, so it goes. Anybody about Reno, NV, wants to direct a pro to me, feel welcome to send them. http://garden.org/i/s/thankyou.gif:thankyou: Thank You! Thank You!
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Name: Peaker
Reno, NV
2015 Home Owner
Image
HillsideOwner
Jul 8, 2016 12:45 AM CST
Third Post Elsewhere:

I have a steep hillside, so wish to be careful with any help. Kids and Boy Scouts and all tend to get hurt. Easy to trip on old mesh wire placed earlier, or on a bush or clump. Could break a leg. Same with allowing gardening. Liability hazard. I have a scare over liability right now. My workman said he had insurance but never showed me anything. There's laws. The way it looks, I just have to incur more debt. More than I wanted in buying the home. Go to the bank, get a loan, and pay the landscapers what they want. Try to keep down the fire hazard for the hillside, by trimming and shearing every so often. The neighbors are already doing that. My hillside is steeper, so there's extra hazard, and probably costs. As I'm 64, who knows how much longer that I'll be around? They said if I died before paying off the house, the bank and attorneys take care of it all. So it looks to go, with landscaping. If I somehow live to 70, it'll get paid off. Otherwise, I'll be dead. Bon vivant!
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
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MISSINGROSIE
Jul 12, 2016 11:06 AM CST
This may sound far fetched ...but I would try it.

If there is a degree granting school nearby ..in landscape architecture....I would call and see if there is an interest in taking on your project. As long as you are game for the ideas ..with your budget...there may he interest in your project...or perhaps the professors and professionals (since from your geographical area) could make suggestions about remedies you vould pursue to get the best results ..budget conscious, practical, and successful over the long haul...for the dollars you have.
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
Name: Peaker
Reno, NV
2015 Home Owner
Image
HillsideOwner
Jul 15, 2016 10:10 PM CST
Students or teachers wouldn't work for free or even cheap. And then what kind of job would you get? I'm looking for any advice here, and it's goats or sorry.
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Jul 15, 2016 11:07 PM CST
Students give it their all and would be guided by expertise.

My apologizies, I thought you said you upped your budget to $10,000. I thought that would be more than enough $$ to not only clear the land - which would be large equipment rental and then give you a working plan and materials that would sustain in your conditions and at a level that you could manage.
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
Name: Peaker
Reno, NV
2015 Home Owner
Image
HillsideOwner
Jul 16, 2016 3:18 PM CST
I'm also suffering from medical conditions. Too tired to do much of anything during most days, I can't think too well. If there were any students to do work, I'd be glad to hear from them. I posted on Craigslist, and announcing here, but no one messages me for much of anything. I did up my budget, but a workman soon to be contractor says to do it all for under 10k. He's out of town, and not due back for a week or so. Right now, I just need hard labor to clear out the hillside, lots of digging work as I can see it. It's a hazard, being steep, and hot outside. I have little experience in hiring people, and the state contractor's board told me a few things. NO friends to give me any advice despite a lot of them being homeowners. I'm chancing on not having a random fire nearby to spread about to the properties about here. Or any arson. I was the target of repeated vandalism on my car 10 years ago, and the cops wouldn't do a thing. Somebody out there really hates me.
Name: Andrew
South East Michigan (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan
Oldfatguy
Jul 16, 2016 4:51 PM CST
TMCC in Reno has a landscape design course.

An instructor for fields like this love hands on projects.

When I was studying carpentry and we did residential framing locals would contact the school the instructor would set up real framing jobs with local contractors and we would go work with/for them for hands on experience.

Small community colleges typically don't have budgets for things like a 10,000 dollar landscape job just to teach but if you emailed their course instructor with what you need, some pics, your wants, and yor budget you might get a dozen college kids guided by a professional contractor and their course instructor.

Just a thought.
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Jul 16, 2016 5:12 PM CST
That's what I said.
And they would really do a knockup job. I would just make sure they were insured in some way aginst injury and the school may have that.
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
Name: Andrew
South East Michigan (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan
Oldfatguy
Jul 16, 2016 5:21 PM CST
MISSINGROSIE said:That's what I said.
And they would really do a knockup job. I would just make sure they were insured in some way aginst injury and the school may have that.


The school and contractor would take care of all that.

Habitat for Humanity also would probably ship over volunteers for a donation.
Name: Sean B Murray
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
Plays in the sandbox Xeriscape Herbs The WITWIT Badge Composter Garden Photography
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Whitebeard
Jul 16, 2016 5:21 PM CST
You could just fill the space with boulders. Then in workable areas, you could do some pockets of soil and plant things like cacti, sedum, and Russian sage.
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Jul 16, 2016 6:35 PM CST
Great idea
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
Name: Peaker
Reno, NV
2015 Home Owner
Image
HillsideOwner
Jul 16, 2016 10:51 PM CST
Well, student welfare. If there is anyone to help, I'd like to know. Free money just doesn't happen in my world. Reduced from college student to day labor would be the game that sounds like this. I've got some money but am looking for ideas and solutions. Shotcrete, gunnite, and just to pay landscapers are the ideas so far. I wouldn't like turning college kids into slaves.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Jul 16, 2016 11:00 PM CST
All options considered? I'd re-consider herbicides. String trimmers, blowers, and tarps of "fire hazard" hauled away. Rocks, lots of rocks. Not so large that they threaten the dwelling.

I'm 50. Failing health. Pre-cancer blood condition unchecked since ObamaCare lies unfolded. I charge $35/hr. to pull weeds and misc. landscape work in prime conditions. I've had punk customers puke off comments like "Gee, wish I was worth $40/hr.". I am. I do what you won't or cannot and it ain't easy. I pay myself $15/hr. which is what I would make anywhere else as a supervisor with my level of experience. I cannot collect unemployment. I have to survive 4-6 months of Winter. National average for lawncare surpasses my current rates. $20/hr. = 1979.

Cry me a river. Sell the fire hazard and buy a condo. Or rent.

Had to hire plumbers for a one man toilet install gone wrong. 2 guys showed up with a van loaded with plumbing supplies. Bill for 45 minutes was $370. Paid it cash with a smile. I could not have done what they did in days much less under an hour.

No sympathy here. Bought my house cash and I cannot manage it. Reconsider what you've chosen.

Reconsider herbicides. For what you want to pay? Spray tank for you!
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Jul 17, 2016 10:01 AM CST
HillsideOwner said:Well, student welfare. If there is anyone to help, I'd like to know. Free money just doesn't happen in my world. Reduced from college student to day labor would be the game that sounds like this. I've got some money but am looking for ideas and solutions. Shotcrete, gunnite, and just to pay landscapers are the ideas so far. I wouldn't like turning college kids into slaves.


The idea is to ask the community college instructor if there is interest.
He / she msy need projects
The class may benefit from putting your project with its unique plusses and minuses on the drawing board...learn from discussion about pro and cons of terrain and conditions...they would share these ideas with you along WITH the benefit of the professors guidance/ expertise.... the solutions could be evaluated by you...and your budget. They may have no means or desire to actually DO the work..but at least there would be no self interest in promoting one fix over another and you would benefit from the advice.

Some of these pupils may be interested in DOING the work. They are young and healthy (likely) and may need the $$ or the experience. Going from "college student" to slave labor should not play into it. It is a free world. I know budding brain surgeons that moonlghted doing all sorts of work for pennies. It is what they do. The students would be doing manual labor and at wages that reflected that sort of work... ..it should be up to them to decide if it is a fair wage. You have been told there is a community college in your area with a course... I would certainly make the call can't hurt.
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
[Last edited by MISSINGROSIE - Jul 17, 2016 10:05 AM (+)]
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Name: Peaker
Reno, NV
2015 Home Owner
Image
HillsideOwner
Jul 21, 2016 12:42 AM CST
Wes, I'm now looking at weed killers. The lawn care guy didn't know why I was opposed. I'm an enviro, but then I seem to have gotten drawn into getting this property. Didn't think too well. The realtor said "Round Up," so now that may be my choice. Ad says it's good for a year. I have to talk to the lawn care guy again, and see what they charge. They say spray, and after two weeks, they come back and remove it all, or something. Cheaper than $1,300 for manual removal, and I'm thinking. Better than the fire hazard, and in three more years, I'll have more money and options. To treat once a year, that may be my best bet. Thanks all.
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Jul 21, 2016 1:48 AM CST
RoundUp is NOT good for a year. It only kills what is there and growing when you spray it. It is a contact herbicide, not one that stays in the soil for a year. FWIW, the ones that say "keeps weeds from growing for 12 months" is not true either. The Spousal Unit sprays that along the electric fencerows to keep the weeds down. He's lucky if it lasts the summer. We farm.............I know something about herbicides.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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stone
Aug 1, 2016 11:06 AM CST
If you are going to repost the same posts, it would be helpful to also include the link to the original thread and people can get the benefit of seeing the responses you've already had... Might help get them thinking....

The thread "Steep Hillside Full of Grasses and Weeds" in Ask a Question forum

Your bank still looks like some annual grass, and not much else... no big deal to knock out with a string trimmer.

In Reno, I doubt that you get enough natural rainfall to require mowing and strimming more than once a year... So unless you've been running a sprinkler on that bank, I think you're making a bigger deal about this than necessary.
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
Image
MISSINGROSIE
Aug 1, 2016 4:16 PM CST
I thought the issue was fire hazard relatd and some laws or concerns related to liability
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
Name: Peaker
Reno, NV
2015 Home Owner
Image
HillsideOwner
Aug 6, 2016 11:04 PM CST
Hey stone, that's so true. Last year, I just hired a worker to do string trimming, in October, and then the snow came. This year, it was July. I'm waiting to see how fast the plants grow back, I'm figuring to trim again in say October, but we'll see. Hopefully, my worker will get his contractors license, and give me the most beautiful back yard as he claims. I can't believe how much he says he wants, it's about a third of the other pros, but another thing that we'll see. Maybe I'll trim from year to year, to hold off on expenses, till I can afford retaining walls. One pro quoted me $6,500 per wall (he says that I'll need three), then there's the dirt moving and then the decorative rock to be laid. I viewed a You Tube video and it doesn't look that hard. If I were young! The total quote for the backyard was $35,000 or so. I'd sell the home before I could pay that. Hey, now, I'm looking at HVAC repair or replacement, or hopefully just maintenance. Home owning is more than I figured! Maybe a home equity loan for all this is going to cost me.

Thanks everyone, I wish that I knew all of this before I left renting!

BenGrows
Dec 9, 2016 1:46 AM CST

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