Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 16, 2011

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Shrubs
Title: Plants for curb appeal from Birmingham AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My front yard is on a down hill slope. Can you recommend some plants that would be good for creating curb appeal that will be planted up against the house? We need some that are short around 2 feet tall and some that are taller and skinny around 5 feet tall, due to the slope and wanting to keep some symmetry when you look at the front.

ANSWER:

Due to the fact that we have two questions from you on your downhill sloping front yard, we are going to give you help in using our Native Plant Database that you can apply to both questions, and give you some sample suggestions for each.

The only thing you didn't tell us was whether it was sunny or shady. Before you select plants (and you certainly shouldn't be planting woody plants this time of year) spend some time mapping out how much sunlight there is in different portions of your yard. We consider "sun" to be 6 hours or more of sun a day, "part shade" 2 to 6 hours, and "shade" 2 hours of sun.

You can use our database by going to our Recommended Species,  select Alabama on the map, which will give you a list of 118 plants that are native to Alabama, considered good plants and commercially available. On that page, under General Appearance, choose which type of plant (tree, shrub, herbaceous blooming plant, etc.) you think would be most appropriate. From there, deal with one area at a time. For this purpose, we think shrubs or perennial herbs (herbaceous blooming plants) would be most appropriate, so select "shrub" and the Light Requirement that fits your observations. You could do two rounds because of the requested heights, although there is no guarantee you will get many or even any plants listed with all your specifications. Then, you have to decide how to compromise what you want with what you can find. We are going to search for a shrub that is around 5 ft tall and a perennial herbaceous blooming plant ("herb" under General Appearance) that is around 2 ft tall and you follow each plant link to learn if the plant is evergreen or deciduous, what color and when it blooms, what its water needs and light requirements are, expected height and so forth. Then, take it from there, finding the right plant for your spots.

Shrub - Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) - 3-6 ft., deciduous, blooms white, pink May to July, part shade, likes moist, rich soil, spectacular magenta purple berries in Fall and Winter.

Herb - Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow) - to 3 ft. tall, perennial, blooms white, pink April to September, sun or part shade, medium water use.

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

More Erosion Control Questions

Plants to control hillside erosion in Virginia.
November 21, 2007 - Good Morning, Mr Smarty Plants, I need your advice and guidance. I live in a condo complex in Virginia and we have a hill/slope that is eroding. It also has two very nice tall trees that partially sh...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize a bank in VT
April 10, 2012 - I am looking for suggestion on what plants might best be suited for aiding in the stabilization of a very steep bank above Lake Champlain.
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for steep creek bank in Tennessee
June 12, 2010 - I have creek bank erosion problems in Woodlawn, Tennessee, northwest of Nashville. What plants can I place there. The bank is approximately 12ft almost vertical.
view the full question and answer

Plants with color for steep slope in Calera, Alabama
March 26, 2010 - I have a large steep slope in my back yard that the developer called a privacy break. It has poor soil and gets full sun. I have planted muhly and maiden grasses but would like some color. The slope ...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stop erosion on creek side
July 05, 2011 - I need plants for a westside slope to a creek that will help with erosion, need fast growing and likes lots of sun. Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.