Before After Before

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I’ve been worried about this slope off and on since we moved here almost 15 years ago. Right before we bought it, it was completely stripped of all plant life.

I battled a lot of weeds, and we tried planting different types of plants here over the years. Between the steep angle–which was very hard to keep my footing on–and the wide temperature variance (as low as 10 degrees in winter and as high as 120 in summer), I’ve had a hard time keeping things alive here. The survivors look pretty random and have grown at vastly differing rates.

Hydra put in the bottom wall during two long hot weeks back in 2002.  It has held up very well!

The combination of a killing summer during which we could only irrigate twice a week rather than twice a day, and the predictions of big El Nino rains this fall spurred us to have this terracing put in last week.

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We planted some beautiful pampas grasses along the top of the slope a few years back, and they looked great, but had a very bad effect.  All the other plants around them died off because they blocked the water. When we had them taken out, they left the top of the slope beneath our neighbor’s gray block wall susceptible to erosion.

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What I aim for is a landscape that looks intentional but not manicured.  (One of the six pampas grasses is still there, kind of holding that end of the the slope together.  I plan to rework the natural rocks we have at this end, which is toward the street.  There will probably be more rocks and a few plants in this area.

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Looking toward the street.  You can see how our Aleppo pine has suffered through the drought. We are wavering between having it topped or entirely removed.  Sigh.

I was all excited, taking these After pictures.  Then I sat down to play with them and I thought, “Oh.  These are Before pictures again.”

I am going to learn a lot about California native drought tolerant plants in the coming weeks and months.  This may just be planted with mostly wildflower seeds this fall to buy some time!

Hoping this stands up to El Nino!  Wish us luck!


6 thoughts on “Before After Before

  1. Love the idea of planting California native plants on that. The drought has taken its toll out here and we get hit with El Nino. Not looking forward to that starting.

    • Sundry says:

      Yes, it’s a very strange position we’re in: desperate for rain, but worried about too much! I’ve read that California native plants work together on slopes to not only create a network of roots, but also they make some sort of stabilizing compound. I’ll have to make more sense of that and post about it!

  2. Wow! Looks great! It will be fun seeing all the new plantings getting established.

  3. Louise Dobbs says:

    Wow! What a difference. This is meant to help prevent flooding? Beautiful work it looks like. Louise

    • Sundry says:

      Thank you! It’s really mostly to prevent that slope from eroding and sliding down into the yard. And we built in weeping tiles behind the top walls to carry excess water to the street, so hopefully we’ll avoid flooding too! Miss some of our shrubs, but we’ll have fun planting natives.

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