Erosion Control with Benefits

Our client had an erosion issue in their side and rear yard.  Because their home is situated at the bottom of a slope, and because the large trees and rhododendrons around the house had matured so much over the years, all of the groundcover was crowded out and killed by the shade.  Whenever it rained, mulch and dirt would wash into their yard and onto their driveway, making a muddy mess.

In addition, their 30 year old landscaping in the front yard was overgrown, blocking views to and from the house.

We came on board with a mission to simply solve the erosion problem, but ended up revamping the entire yard in addition, and reconfiguring their driveway to increase yard space for play, reduce runoff and improve car circulation.   For the erosion control, which was in a shaded area, we considered regrading, installing drains and underground piping or some other structural solution, but came to realize that an intensive planting of undergrowth would likely solve the problem.  The foliage from additional groundcovers would absorb and diffuse the energy of falling rain.  We used such native shrubs as sweet pepper bush, leucothoe, and virgina sweetspire.  Groundcovers and perennials include Ajuga, Lirope, Cinnamon Fern and Solomon's Seal at anywhere from 12"-24" on center.  The mix of evergreen and perennial provides an interesting mix.  We also relocated several large rhododendron to open up space around the house and allow more sunlight to hit the new plantings.

To improve the look of the front of the house, we removed 2 overgrown flowering trees, beefed up the foundation plantings, adding variety in color and texture, and planted some red maples that would grow to match the surrounding natural landscape while keeping views open to the house under the maturing tree canopy.  We also solved a drainage problem by tying the roof downspouts which previously drained directly onto the ground, to an underground pipe.  As you can see, the house was painted as well, which brightened up and modernized the look of the house.  The driveway was reconfigured, adding a decorative accent strip of cobblestone paving around the edge, and a new front walkway was installed in clay brick pavers.

12 months later, the job is holding up well, plants are growing in, and we have a satisfied client.

The general contractor on the job was Phoenix Construction.  The landscape contractor was Wagon Wheel Nursery, the mason was McKechnie Associates.