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Avatar for pdxmusl
Aug 11, 2019 9:35 PM CST

I'm trying to redo some of the landscaping in the front yard. I have a lightly slopped yard (~2.5ft drop after 20 ft or so) that slopes towards the road my house is on with a frontage side walk and parking strip. The grass that was on that slope did not do well due to drainage and it's west facing so.. yeah.. faced right into the sun. So I'd like to put a couple of flower beds on the hill that will butt up against the frontage sidewalk that will be on the slopped part of the yard. What I'm trying to figure out is how do I handle this and keep the mulch on the hill so I can keep the weeds down.

I thought of two main approaches. The first would be to dig down by the side walk about 4~6 inches so that the mulch could butt right up against the sidewalk. Then change the grade of the hill for the first few feet to make it a little more natural looking. The second approach would be to just leave the hill as is and install really high edging. Something that raises about 4~6 inches near the sidewalk like concrete blocks or that plastic edging.

Is there a standard way of handling this? Or a preferred way?

Thanks!
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Aug 13, 2019 1:37 PM CST
Portland, Oregon (Zone 7b)
Snakes
To answer your questions: Is there a standard way? No. Is there a perferred way? No.
Avatar for pdxmusl
Aug 18, 2019 8:58 PM CST

Ok. So it sounds like I can just do whatever it is I want. Or can someone expand on this a bit more than just yes/no? What's the recommended way? I'm fishing to see if there's a better way of handling it or if one of the ways I've suggested is better.

Thanks!
Avatar for RpR
Aug 21, 2019 12:53 AM CST
Name: Dr. Demento Jr.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Go with decorative concrete retaining wall blocks.
If you can afford to haul in dirt , you can put it on the level with the rest of the yard or you can just raise it as high as you wish.
You HAVE, I repeat HAVE to put a crushed rock base and sand under the wall to avoid future problems.
Also put in a stepped set-back wall with at least two layers so the top blocks cannot be moved by pressure from the dirt over time.
Image
Aug 21, 2019 4:36 PM CST
Portland, Oregon (Zone 7b)
Snakes
RpR said:Go with decorative concrete retaining wall blocks.
If you can afford to haul in dirt , you can put it on the level with the rest of the yard or you can just raise it as high as you wish.
You HAVE, I repeat HAVE to put a crushed rock base and sand under the wall to avoid future problems.
Also put in a stepped set-back wall with at least two layers so the top blocks cannot be moved by pressure from the dirt over time.


I'm going to add a foot note to "as high as you wish." The original statement suggested 2.5, ie, 30 inches. Most areas have requirements as to how high a retaining wall can be without requiring a permit. Around here, it is 40 inches. If you are going over 2.5 feet, be sure to know the laws in your area.
Last edited by Sallymander Aug 21, 2019 4:37 PM Icon for preview
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Feb 20, 2020 7:02 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
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How about, do 'Go with decorative concrete retaining wall blocks." but do that about 2 feet back from the sidewalk, and have the lawn go to that, more level. Then have the 2 feet (or more?) by the sidewalk be almost level flowerbeds so the mulch doesn't try to wash off.

And use shredded mulch that knots together well, not chips that are loose. Once the chips fill the 4 inch trough, they'll spill over.

(I can't really picture what kind of degree of slope is going on, but there's an idea)

Or use a band of liriope along the sidewalk, it'll make a thick tough grassy edge and catch any mulch.
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