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Old 07-18-2012, 11:26 AM
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
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I am working on a 3 acre estate as a new gardener (it just got away from them, too much to maintain) and the landscape bones are only partially in in the rear portion of the property. It appears that to build and then create a lawn, a great deal of fill was put over an existing slope an number of years ago so that in one long area the northern side the lawn edge meets a fairly steep and abrupt north slope that runs about 15 feet down a wild grass covered embankment into a forested section of the property. The owner talked about being unsatisfied with the look of the area and I completely agree but he also mentioned claiming the area below as wooded landscape which I think would be a mistake as it's quite large and would require almost constant upkeep. What I perceive that he doesn't like is looking at the tangled mess below and the abrupt edge without a transition.

Because the house and landscaping that exists is fairly formal and very modern, I'm thinking a wall of cut stone/paver like the rest of his hardscape, with a 4' wide set of pavers at it's base with a central arc/circle that overlooks the wilderness area as an outdoor seating area, something they don't have yet and then "decorating' the grassy transition to the woods below with sturdy small trees and shrubs such as wild roses that will outgrow the native grasses and that provide blooms, berries and other interest for the wild life in the area.

To soften the edge, the wall line will curve with the edge of the slope and will have low growing shrubs and mass plantings of perennials between the edge of the path and lawn in a few places, perhaps integral planters in the wall though that comes with it's own set of problems.

Any ideas here? Another couple of facts to help factor responses: Significant animal browse in progress and zone 4. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:59 PM
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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Congrats on the new house AK-Cathy! Kudos on getting hardscaping thrown in!

I would recommend"

1. a "woodland" garden that's not as formal as the higher maintenance gardens around the house.
2. Minimal hardscaping IE a path to the woods and a stairway w/ handrails down the slope. Maybe a couple grand's worth of work(?).
3. Covering the slope w/ shrubs and/or small trees to transition gently into the woods.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:01 PM
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I'm visual. I'd need a picture for a area that large. Also what is the length.
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogdad View Post
I'm visual. I'd need a picture for a area that large. Also what is the length.
I usually have a good grasp of things from descriptions but I'm with Bulldogdad on this one since there are too many unknowns to make valid or useful recommendations. The length and width of the slope, the extent of the "woodlands" and what the formal gardens look like will help. So will knowing the amount of sunshine (or at least sun angles). Does the owner want greenery and typical suburban landscaping or a true flower garden(s) or something between the two?

Without knowing details .. a general idea for a slope: it's possible for you to make transitions from formal to more informal using stacked stone walls in curves with a meandering path. Making the path uneven and putting in shallow retaining walls will reduce the deer browse by breaking up the normal paths they like to follow and give you a canvas for transition from formal to less structured garden to a full woodlands garden setting. The path can continue into the wooded area and end at a bench. If this idea can be used, creating the stacked stone walls it is not highly expensive and they provide visual interest and a sense of order as plants fill in. The woodland doesn't need to be tamed beyond the first 5-10 feet and visually recedes as the eye looks around the path and layers instead of all the way to the end.
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