Q: My sister has purchased a house with a steep drop off from the road to her home. It is eroding badly. Terraces are essentially out of the question for this area, since it is very steep. What groundcovers, shrubs, or other plants can be planted that will grow quickly and help stabilize the erosion?
A: As demand for housing has increased, more marginal building sites have been utilized by builders. While the home may be structurally sound, the landscape that surrounds it can be full of problems. Steep slopes are tough to deal with. Many times plants are not the answer. Your sister may well need a visit from a landscape architect. A certified landscape architect can advise on a combination of hardscaping and plants that will solve the erosion problem.
Several local garden centers and landscape installation firms have landscape architects on staff. Contact at least three, send them digital pictures of your situation, and ask for an estimate of their charges (usually in the range of $100 – $150 per hour). If cost is a concern, tell them so and ask for a plan that could be installed in steps over a couple of years. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised what a landscape architect can accomplish for your sister.