I've been putting off working on this slope until I could get the wall built. Well I finally realized the wall just isn't getting built. So I reduced my goal and with Rat working on my side, finished the project in maybe 5 hours. I decided that a two-rock-high layer at the bottom of the bank might be enough to stop the soil drifting into the road.
I wanted stairs here because I scramble up and down here fairly often. Also because Duncan already has a path here, and it's easiest to build his route into the landscaping. You can walk up the stairs, behind the cottage, and continue down to the corral, or turn right into the redwood grove path that my daughter and son-in-law made, or turn left into the "north garden" where Rat made the path last year.
And here are - the Stages In Between:
Rat has carved back the hill where the soil was drifting into the driveway. I've begun playing with stones, trying to figure out how to get them to stack. The best way was to cut into the hill where the upper row would go so that the second row felt very securely seated - and I tried to place them like bricks, i.e. the upper row offset by half a rock, for stability.
Rough layout of the stairs, which Rat cut out.
I've found this way of laying flat stone on a ledge of boulders works well. They all seem to bed in pretty well. We'll see how it goes. This is my second set of stairs. The first set is sturdy enough.
Duncan is in on the discovery of rodent nests in the rock and stone piles:
Lesson learned. We have to keep the areas around our house clear of clutter.
Below the project is nearly done.
I added a few of the river rocks we picked up from a friend at work who was giving them away. I used them to chink some places, and then also I liked the look of them so I added a few decoratively. I'm not sure if they'll stay in place even. Just mucking about trying things.
So - we hope that the bank is holding itself up well, and now we have barrier and a well-defined though lumpy and leaky edge, which I can also plant with - well, I'm open to ideas.
It's going to be a challenge establishing a garden here, because of all the weeds that I've never gotten on top of year after year. This is a last stronghold of the Oxalis pes caprae. The soil here is more clayey than in other parts of the property.
I want to plant lots of things here. There's quite a lot of Mexican sage already, which was here before we were, and is a stellar performer every year. There's Matilija poppy, which I cut back probably a bit late this year. And red-hot poker.
It might be fun to add a few more rocks to create planting shelves and nooks, almost a rock garden kind of look.
I will need to put rabbit fencing around the two planting areas, at least temporarily. That's not going to be fun. And I'll be spraying lots of deer repellent. Scary times, in the garden, when we put new plants out to survive on their own!
In my greenhouse, I have a lot of robust seedlings of naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum), California fuschia (Epilobium canum), golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum) and sticky monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), and I have foothill penstemon seed from nursery stock, though maybe it's a bit late to get going this year. So they can all go here. I'm thinking some summer water, but one area, near the Matilija poppy, will be a summer dry area.
I wonder what else to put here? Your ideas welcome!