Since I love looking at before and after pics, I figure I'll post these for others to enjoy/critique as you have time. This yard is on a steep hillside above bluffs above the Missouri River in Missouri. We are slowly trying to tame the yard. It's not really as big as it appears, under an acre -- but it's on a ravine and high up, so it feels expansive, but is still a manageable amount of land for us these days. We bought an untended yard (except close to the house), with erosion issues to the point of mudslides. Nonetheless, the views from the home are beautiful and it's on the edge of town so we can walk to activities, so we were willing to take on this yard. I'll gladly welcome all advice on plants or any other advice related to what we're trying to do here.
Here's some pictures of the west and central yard a few years back:
Can't really see the vines and washouts on those pics. Here's what it looked like if you went inside the brush (the stones are old collapsing retaining walls):
The first thing we did was install multiple rainbarrels as well as a dry creek bed (french drain) on the east (highest) side of the yard that functions to slow and direct water. We also installed a path on the east side that is edged by decaying wood, which serves to outline the path, but also to slow and even hold the downhill flow of water. Here is the east side as of last spring
Below is the center yard last year, with new patio, and turkey visitor (roughly same shot as second picture in this post)
We then built a terraced garden, which doesn't look that steep from above, but you get a better idea from below. This is our vegetable garden.
This year, we're adding fencing around the garden (critter problems) and hopefully beginning to plant the east yard which is now clearer. I'd really love a pretty woodland path, with islands of native plants
The next to last picture below is roughly the same spot as the first above - the maple in the first is the shadow in the below, and the pecan in the first can be seen in the upper right hand corner of the below. The beginning of the garden fencing is visible in the lower left corner below. Finally, added a picture of a spot in the middle of the east yard. Not all of the areas needing clearing are clear by any means. We can only clear what we can plant and care for before beginning another area. We never let any yard waste leave our property, as we use anything available to fill or prevent runoff. So, in the final, you see gravel, rocks, and wood, all placed around to fill in while we get ready to establish plants. We'll have to add more retaining walls, too, but one step at a time *whew*
Feel free to suggest anything, as I'm not experienced in doing all this -- just learning as I go..
Thanks for looking!