Earlier in the month I removed an old aluminum shed and
foundation from the corner of my yard. The shed was up against the house
and the property line, and dug partly into a slope from my yard to my
neighbours yard. There will be a new shed going in, further out from the
property line and house, but that left a big gaping hole. So I filled
it with loam ( only 4 cubic yards, not much… ) and made a bit of a hill. This was done on advice from no less then five people, all whom pointed out that having the corner of our house foundation exposed was probably a bad thing.
A bit of a short, steep hill was put in place that wrapped around the exposed foundation bits, and a grade was pulled back from the foundation into the yard proper. Unfortunately the grade where the shed used to live was a bit steep out of necessity. It’s not steep enough for a retaining wall, and it’s just a bit too steep to leave alone for long.
Then the rain came, hard and heavy, and overflowed the eaves trough
and sent a deluge of water into the freshly compacted loam, promptly
washing some of it into the neighbours formal and tidy garden space. Our neighbour likes things in her life clean, so this was a disaster. I got all hyper stressed out about it and raged a bit, mostly because I hate being a bad neighbour. I’m already the weird guy on the block who doesn’t cut his lawn and is turning his back yard into a vegetable patch… last thing I want to add into the mix is being the guy routinely washing a couple kilograms of soil into the yards down hill from me.
So began the quest for ways to prevent erosion on really small but unfortunately steep slopes in the shade. In the end I went with a burlap/jute ground cover staked in with bamboo stakes instead of metal. Mainly I want everything to eventually biodegrade, since once plants establish some roots in there the hill isn’t steep enough or long enough to worry about anything going awry. I did double layers and added hand-made berms of soil/compost/peat moss to break any water that decides to flood down the area again. ( I tested with a hose, it works like a charm ).
I’m turning it into a shade garden, slightly terraced by the berms. I’ve tossed a bunch of random perennial seeds I collected last autumn, I think they are some form of phlox, but they may be something else. I also spread some annual seeds around the area, some sort of random wild-flower mix I had sitting around the house. For a more permanent and immediate solution to holding the soil I’ve planted 3 golden leaf creeping jenny, and 3 regular creeping jenny. I’m familiar with them, they are pretty tough plants and take the shade decently. They also form a nice dense mat of green once established, so next year it should fill in really well.
While I was at Golden Acres Garden Senter ( their spelling, not mine! ) the helpful staff pointed out some fiddle-head ferns that were on stupid sale ( because it’s way past time to plant them ). So, being daring and a sucker for a deal, and always questing for plants to add into the yard that I can eat, I bought six. I think I will go back and get another half dozen or so for under the lilacs along the side of the house. The lady in the perennials section of the greenhouse said that the ferns form hefty root systems and make a good erosion control. Plus, fiddle-head greens in the spring! So I’m going to put in a big patch of them, and hope that I can get some tasty stuff out of that part of the yard, which is largely useless for veggies anyhow.