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Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

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Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  walshevak on 4/14/2015, 6:41 pm

I need ideas.  My new yard is mostly sand with a thin layer of topsoil that has eroded in most areas.  The only way to grow grass is with copious amounts of water at outrageous rates even after I pay to add topsoil.  At this point,  I'm tired of tracking the sand into the house.  We even have Japanese rules of no shoes in the house.    SOOOO - I can get loads of freshly chipped tree trimmings from the electric company's trimming program.  I want to cover the entire front yard in wood chips with pots of flowers around for color and eventually some SFG beds for flowers and foundations plants.   Has anyone ever tried anything like this?  Am I inviting termite problems?  How deep a layer of chips?  HELP!!!!!

Kay

 Pictures taken in the spring when rain was plentiful.



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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/14/2015, 7:07 pm

I have huge sections of my yard covered in wood chips and have never seen a termite.  But it would be the better part of wisdom not to put them up against your house or any wood you're concerned about.

If you put  thick enough layer, it will eventually in the process of breaking down actually produce the soil you're hoping for.  It will hold moisture in the chips and release it into the ground as needed.  In the meantime it would definitely solve your sand tracking into the house issue!  

I wish I could easily get wood chips, I'm so far in the boonies that we had to borrow a tractor and dump trailer and pay gas for a 50 mile round trip to pick them up, but they're definitely worth the effort!

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  Goosegirl on 4/14/2015, 7:11 pm

Here are a few pics I found on the internet, and at the bottom is a link giving depths of wood chips depending on what the use.  I don't know if they will give you any ideas, but they sure are giving me some!






http://www.gardenguides.com/111274-landscape-wood-chips.html

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  sanderson on 4/14/2015, 7:41 pm

Kay,  I'm using wood chips to fight the California Drought (see Topic). Wood chips every where but the lawns and around the foundation. I'm trying rubber wood chips (Home Depot) around the house, as, unlike Audrey, we DID get termites. I am also putting rough compost down first around the shrubs and roses. Sort of BTE. It is really growing on me. Photos when we get something more done. PS: I think those are 2" rocks in the third photo. I've had both and I definitely prefer the wood chips! Besides, eventually you can plant in the BTE if you want.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  walshevak on 4/14/2015, 8:07 pm

Picture No. 3 but using wood chips looks interesting and goes with my container idea. In fact, if I can get enough chips I'll probably also do around the back patio and keep sand out of the back door as well. Sounds like I need about 4" of depth.  The yard slopes toward the house from the street and cannot be leveled.  Will I have problems keeping the chips in place?  Should I plan to brick up around the walk and driveway to keep the chips from washing on to it?

I laughed at the recommendation to keep the chips 30 ft from the house in case of fire.  That would mean just a thin strip out by the street. LOL.  I did think to leave about 5 ft out from the house for building a block or brick 2 ft high planter instead of planting into the ground around the foundation. That will also keep the chips away from the house.  In the picture there is a 2x8 wooden bed that gave up the ghost this spring but shows kinda what I have in mind.

BTW,  I have a several pine trees in the side and back yard and have loads of pine straw as well.  Now that can be really flamable and one tree is right on the corner of the house.  I plan to use the pine straw in the aisles of my SFG TTs when I finally get them moved.

But for now, the idea is to just chip the yard and reduce sand tracking.

Kay

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  sanderson on 4/14/2015, 8:09 pm

4 Quick photos of wood chips.  Still dirt around the edges because we are going to install a stone or brick edge to make it a slightly raised bed.

I used to clean out all the camelia flowers from this bed.  Now just sweep them into the bed.  It's next to the garage so I have to keep the organic away from the foundation.
Neighbor's front with 1-2" of compost and 2" of wood chips.  My husband installed drip/micro system 1st.  Then picked up bulk compost (winery and green waste) for her gardeners to spread front and back.  Then picked up wood chips (playground bark) for her gardeners to spread today.  I need to pull back the chips from the plants but I think she is near ready for the water patrol.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  sanderson on 4/14/2015, 8:16 pm

@walshevak wrote: I laughed at the recommendation to keep the chips 30 ft from the house in case of fire.  That would mean just a thin strip out by the street. LOL.
Kay

Kay, I think that is meant for rural areas. In California, folks in the dry rural areas need a wide clear band around the house in case there is a fire in the neighborhood. Every year, especially in So. Cal. we make the national news with the fierce wild fires (seems a pyromaniac sets most of them, or a novice camper). A little brush or grass fire, a little breeze and then a multi-million dollar fire takes over. The fires start to create their own wind storms or weather belt, I can't think of the proper term right now.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/14/2015, 9:24 pm

Wood chips that are watered or rained upon store water in them so they actually will be a fire retardant.  If they will dry out too much it could be an issue, so it depends on the climate where you are.  If they stay dry, they will last longer.  Because of our drought I have a pile of wood chips in my pasture that normally would probably have 80% composted by this time but hasn't changed that much. 

I have wood chips on a very steep hillside.  They stay in place fairly well.  It's so steep that I haven't expended the energy to get the chips all the way to the top of the hill in the steepest section.  Elsewhere they stay exactly where I put them and even in heavy winds or heavy rains do not move.  They're great!


Here is a repair of a deeply gullied section of my hillside.  I laid down a few inches of compost and then 6 inches of wood chips and they haven't moved a bit.  This section is probably a six foot rise in about 12-15 feet.  

This is what it looked like before the repair.  We've had a couple very heavy rains since completion and no gullies at all. 

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  Pepper on 4/14/2015, 10:12 pm

walshevak   there is a thread on here about Back To Eden gardening: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t18152p544-back-to-eden#219322
Many folks on here use a combination of SFG and BTE techniques.

You may want to use this type of soil restoration for your yard as well as your garden. The full length film is found here https://vimeo.com/28055108 

For garden areas the film recommends placing wet newspaper(3 pages thick) over close cut grass; about a 4 inch layer of mushroom compost( MM or our compost for us) followed by about 6 inches of chips. Place in the fall to plant in the spring. Paul(the author) lives in the rain shadow of the Cascade range only getting about 15 inches of rain a year. He only waters to get the seed up then lets nature do the rest. 

For your yard the chips hold moisture and during the slow composting cycle returns life to dead soil. Did I mention earth worms LOVE this medium!

The kind of trees the chips come from is not important what matters most is they contain a significant amount of the green leaves. You want a mixture of different sized chunks.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  Pepper on 4/15/2015, 12:30 pm

Here is the link to the old thread that has been Locked if you want to see what others did.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t13233p976-back-to-eden

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  southern gardener on 4/16/2015, 12:45 pm

watch this film  http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/  It is exactly what you are talking about. It will change your sandy yucky "soil" into awesome soil! You do need to water the "chips" to help them decompose faster if you want. Keep in mind, when the author of the film says "wood chips" he's talking about chips that are 90% needles and leaves.
The method flat works. We switched over about 18 months ago, and will never go back!  Good luck!!

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  Elizabeth on 4/16/2015, 1:34 pm

Walshevak -

I had a landscaping business for 10 years.  I NEVER - read my lips - NEVER put beds or mulch of any kind against any structure. 

You do not have problems with termites because you have no food source for them.  Put soil, mulch or wood chips next to your house and you will issue an invitation for them to set up residence.


The 2nd problem with organic matter next to the house is splash back from rain which leaves lots of dirt and debris on your house which you then need to clean.

3rd problem.  Unless you have gutters run off from the eave digs a trench - very messy and unsightly.

My solution is to create a gravel barrier from the house to 6" outside of the eve.

Install steel edging 6" outside of the eave.  Line with commercial grade landscape cloth.  Fill with a course, mixed aggregate, commonly called road gravel.  Not pea gravel. 

The landscaping cloth prevents the gravel from sinking into the soil.  Otherwise you will have to add gravel annually.

Install your wood chips outside of the barrier. 

There will probably be some disagreement on my next bit of advice.  It comes from the education needed to pass the stringent state testing for landscape contractors and horticultural specialist licenses, what I learned from the Master Gardener program and from my experience as a landscape contractor.

You need a thick layer to be effective for both water retention and weed control.  In beds I always used 3" to 4".  You need at least that much in your yard.  Since it is Free I would not hesitate to install an even heavier layer. 

Over time the wood chips will decompose.  A good thing.  You will eventually build a layer of soil.  You will have to replenish your chips on a regular basis to maintain a consistent level.  Living in the south you will probably have to add chips annually. 

With few exceptions I m not a fan of recycled rubber mulch.  In public or home play areas it is needed and in some communities required.  For that application 9" is the minimum.  VERY expensive. 

It does nothing to restore your poor soil.  In beds I find it aesthetically unpleasing.

My 2 cents.

Good luck

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  landarch on 4/17/2015, 11:28 am

maybe try a combination of mulch and drifts of native grasses that thrive with natural rainfall in a sandy environment.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  walshevak on 4/17/2015, 4:59 pm

Sorry, but I just hate ornamental grasses.  Just a personal preference.  I'm not trying to landscape the yard right now.  I have too many other things that have to be done first, but I'm am trying to cut down on the sand coming into the house. Maybe next year.

Kay

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  walshevak on 4/21/2015, 1:54 am

Score!!!  Two truck loads of mostly pine chips.  They smell great and more have been promised.  Bags of soil are to fill the holes left by the plumber after clearing my drains and installing a clean out pipe.

 Kay


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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  sanderson on 4/21/2015, 1:59 am

Oh boy, Kay, you have your work cut out for you. What a Face But it will be nice to cover up the sand. I am already loving the chips I have down. No muddy spots.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  Elizabeth on 4/22/2015, 10:14 pm

So what have you decided about the perimeter of your house?  Are you going to pack wood chips around your house or will you create a barrier?

I really like your concept of using wood chips on your sandy yard. 

I look forward to hearing more from you on the progress of your project.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  has55 on 4/23/2015, 2:07 pm

@walshevak wrote:Score!!!  Two truck loads of mostly pine chips.  They smell great and more have been promised.  Bags of soil are to fill the holes left by the plumber after clearing my drains and installing a clean out pipe.

 Kay

go kay, go Smile

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  jessica_alinari on 4/24/2015, 3:50 am

For two years I use wood chipping to create great visual interest. Most of all, I appreciate their great ornamental value and the fact that they require little maintenance. Besides, they have the added benefit of composing down slowly and keeping plants healthy, lush and green. I use wood chippings to decorate my pots, walkways and as mentioned here http://www.ipernity.com/blog/1599968/890784?t=87235&c=1&s=edit, they are good even as a ground cover for your dog kennel.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  has55 on 4/24/2015, 11:07 am

@jessica_alinari wrote:For two years I use wood chipping to create great visual interest. Most of all, I appreciate their great ornamental value and the fact that they require little maintenance. Besides, they have the added benefit of composing down slowly and keeping plants healthy, lush and green. I use wood chippings to decorate my pots, walkways and as mentioned here http://www.ipernity.com/blog/1599968/890784?t=87235&c=1&s=edit, they are good even as a ground cover for your dog kennel.
so many wonderful ideas. thank you.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  walshevak on 6/7/2015, 4:46 pm

Here is the first spreading.  Rented a bobcat and my son tore up the yard and spread the best he could.  6 truck loads.  Got the side yard with the strawberry bed and the spring green bed.  Even had enough to go around back past the tomato and pepper bucket and past the house to the key lime and calamansi trees.  Still need to smooth it out more.













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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  Kelejan on 6/7/2015, 7:40 pm

The start of something beautiful.

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  boffer on 6/7/2015, 8:03 pm

@walshevak wrote:

Big boy toys are getting smaller and smaller, but I'm sure your son had fun!  I know my son and I did when we rented a Bobcat.

@walshevak wrote:

No TT's?   Are you really Kay that is posting?!

J/K  Good to see that you've got something  going for this year.  It's looking good!  

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  sanderson on 6/7/2015, 9:32 pm

@Kelejan wrote:The start of something beautiful.
+1

Boffer, my husband would be overjoyed to HAVE to rent that!

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

Post  walshevak on 6/7/2015, 11:31 pm

Boffer,  Haven't had a chance to build tabletops here yet and boy do I miss them. 

Kay

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Re: Eco Whole yard landscaping using wood chips

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