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Dangerous slopes in Minnesota cause problems.

Question:

DEAR STEVE,

WE HAVE A HOUSE WITH A WALK OUT BASEMENT ON THE FRONT SIDE OF THE HOUSE. THE WLAK OUT IS ACTUALLY A TRENCH IN THE SHAPE OF A V.

FROM THE MAIN LEVEL OF THE HOUSE, THERE IS A DECK EXTENDING OVER THE WALKOUT V ABOUT 10 FEET WITH A SIDEWALK & 5 STEPS LEADING TO THE DECK & ENTERANCE DOOR ON THE TOP OF THE NORTH SIDE OF THE V TRENCH.

THE NORTH SIDE OF THE V IS AT ABOUT A 45 DEGREE ANGLE & IS ABOUT 10 FEET OF SLOPE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM, TAPERING OFF TO ABOUT 4 FEET OF SLOPE AS IT EXTENDS AWAY FROM THE HOUSE & DECK.

THE SOUTH SLOPE IS AT ABOUT A 30 DEGREE ANGLE WITH AROUND 14 FEET OF SLOPE, TAPERING OFF TO ABOUT 6 FEET OF SLOPE.

THE OUTSIDE ENDS OF BOTH SLOPES COME TO AN END WITH 2 COURSES OF RR TIES.

THE SLOPES ARE NOW GRASS SO THEY ARE DANGEROUS TO MOW.

WHAT ARE SOME IDEAS TO MAKE THESE FAIRLY MAITENENCE FREE & STILL LOOK ATTRACTIVE? ALSO WHAT ARE SOME GOOD THINGS TO DO UNDER THE DECK WHERE IT EXTENDS OVER THE SLOPES?

WE ARE IN SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA AS FAR AS CLIMATE IS CONCERNED.

THANKS, CHUCK & JULIE

Answer

Dear Chuck and Julie,

Sorry it has taken so long to return your email. After running it around in my head a couple of days, here’s a suggestion. Spray roundup to kill the grass on the slopes, then once the grass dies, lay landscape fabric (for erosion). Since mulch or pea gravel will just wash out of the area, use river rocks as they are large enough to stay put. Among the rocks, plant grasses of varied heights in the back part. In the rest of the area plant items such hostas, liriope, dwarf bamboos, ferns, daylilies, and mix in some perennial herbs (all according to height). Plant creeping thyme along the top of the RR ties as it grows it will drape over them. It makes for a fragrant walk way. The plants above are mainly for a shaded area as I imagine under your deck. Hope this gives you some ideas to get started.

Good luck, Steve Jones



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