Sunday, March 5, 2017

The steps completed



I finished a set of steps earlier this week. This is the first phase of a long project to landscape the hillside behind the house. I plan to add terracing on each side with some type of fieldstone. As you can see, I have already planted some things here (yes, it is not unusual for me to do things backwards).


This is a fairly steep slope in a very sunny area with good drainage. It gets quite dry in the summer. I am planning on using drought-tolerant plants here and lots of low-growing groundcovers that will spill over the sides of the steps. Last year, a variety of bulbs, annuals and small shrubs performed decently here. I have planted Cistus and Potentilla here, plants that I have never grown before.


As with any project I do, aspects change along the way. I had initially intended for these steps to proceed straight up but ended up curving them.  I would have added one  more set of steps at the top but there is a drainage hose coming from the gutter on the house in this area. The hose ends in the area to the right of the upper step in the above photo. I would like to take advantage of this and figure out a way to incorporate a dry creek bed for the excess water to flow into it.

I was anxious to get my remaining plants from Joy Creek Nursery in the ground. All that remained were some Hebes and a few spreading plants that I had saved specially for this location. I had never grown hebes before and have no idea how they will perform on this hillside. That is Dianthus 'Rose de Mai' on the left side.


The hebes were beginning to look bad - I am not even sure if this 'Patty's Purple' is still alive - so I was relieved to get them in the ground.

I hope to get rock for the terracing soon to begin the next phase of the project.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

13 comments:

  1. Hi Phillip. Despite the colder than average weather you've been really busy. It looks great. I am afraid that Hebe is a gonner. Patty's Purple is notoriously tender. There is a rule of thumb about Hebes: the smaller the leaf, the hardier it will be. I think you'll have success with those. I can't wait to see this take shape. Have fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was keeping them in the basement inside a pail so it must be very, very tender! I found the study that was done on hebe hardiness in this area after I purchased them and noticed that 'Patty's Purple' was not the hardiest.

      Delete
  2. That was quite a chore. It will look gorgeous with plants cozying up over the edges etc. I have never heard of Hebes. I had to look up the plant to see what it looked like. Interesting blooms. My projects always get a few tweeks when I finally get around to doing them. You never know what you will run into to change the course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It happens a lot with me because I usually do not know what I am doing! ha

      Delete
  3. I love the gentle curve to your stairs. I couldn't really tell what was going on with the first photo, but the one from above shows it off well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like the curve that you added to the stairs. Well done and kudos to you for getting a project done now in our very wet and cold early spring. I remember several years ago being at the same point on the learning curve that you are now, figuring out what will grow here and planting new-to-me plants. Looking forward to seeing what that slope looks like once it's terraced and planted and has a few years to grow in.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How did you manage to get so much done with all the: rain, snow, wind ….and just yuck grey . It looks really great !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been working on it for several weeks. I would just wait for the no-rain days!

      Delete
  6. It must be fun to try out plants you have never grown before! I also like the curve to your steps. Straight would be boring. It should be a wonderful walk when all the plants have matured.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good stairway. Much safer to climb than walking the slope on a rainy day.

    Any roses along the stairs? Hebes are lovely but...they are not roses, are they?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think you were wise to put the curve. When my hubs built the steps on our back hill, I made him go straight up. Well, you know how that goes --- he had to redo and put a curve. A curve makes it easier on old knees to go up ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. The rule of thumb regarding Hebes, as noted by first commenter, Grace Peterson is true. Its good you find out about it now; It took me over a decade and many lost Hebes... The steps look beautiful, and I like the curve. It is good to see you don't let the weather get in your way.

    ReplyDelete