Landscaping & Design/No gutters


QUESTION: I don't want any plants in front of my house. Had them and mulch once.
Also had snakes hiding amongst it.
So I removed everything!  Put down landscape fabric and rock, it looked great. Then came fall and all the leaves, then spring and more tree shedding.  What a MESS!!!!! Obviously all natural debris  turned to soil, giving base for weeds to come up between the rock.  
I can't have gutters, I'm not able to clean them out.
Any suggestions?  I thought about artificial  turf and a french drain, but not sure how to allow drainage through the turf.  I'm honestly more concerned  about none to low maintenance. I'm disabled  and not getting any younger.  Thank you

ANSWER: Hello,

Depending on the size of the area involved, you might want to consider just laying down a solid paved surface such as concrete or asphalt or a surface of mortared stone or gravel or just use a periodic spraying of herbicide on the area.

Mark Harshman

For more comprehensive help check out my website at:

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: How about artificial turf?  Expensive ?  Would it hold up With roof rain pounding on it?
3' by 12' roughly.  Again, tried the gravel.  Leaves and debris on top was a mess!   Had to take it all back up. That was a job!  My health is not great.
Got to find something  with little to no maintenance.
I also thought about a mat like ground cover for sunny areas. But I don't know much about them. It MUST be something  very short. Can't have a possible  place for snakes to hide, again.
I really hate snakes.  All of them!!!
Thanks again!  
Concrete would be too hard to do, and I'd still have the run off to worry about.
I hope to have a sidewalk in front of this area one day.  This area is between house and where sidewalk  will be. It's the distance of the steps coming out.


Here is a list of options:

Regular artificial turf installed over a gravel subbase to aid drainage and increase stability and with holes punched in the material for drainage.

Permeable artificial turf installed over a gravel subbase. Since you have such a large amount of water coming from the roof,you would get much better drainage with this option.

Low growing ground covers are available, such as bugleweed. They must be dense enough to displace weeds.

The cost for artificial turf for this area would be approximately 200 dollars.

Mark Harshman  

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Design of landscape structures and design of planting arrangements in the landscape. I usually do not answer questions of a horticultural nature or about growing plants or gardening unless they are related to design. I will answer these questions at my discretion. I will answer maintenance questions at my discretion,usually when they are related to design. I am a landscape designer. I am not a contractor or a gardener. Although I will describe how something is built I do not provide detailed installation or construction instructions. Here are example categories of problems I can help you with: Design of residential walks,low walls,low retaining walls,fences,drainage systems,arbors,plant selection,xeriscapes (low water use landscapes),rain garden design,rain water harvesting,permeable paving,sustainable drainage. No advise on an architectural or engineering level. I DO NOT PERFORM ACTUAL DESIGN WORK THROUGH THIS SITE. I only provide suggestions and advice. For more comprehensive help check out my website at:


Landscape concept plan for a 30,000 square feet housing site. Involved site recon by pace measurements and photographs and a site analysis and a site analysis report and recommendations and a preliminary cost estimate. Design elements included canopy trees,shrub cover,accent flowers,trash receptacles,benches and planters. Landscape concept plan for a 7,000 square feet site for a community center. Involved site recon by tape measurements and photographs,a site analysis and the creation of 3 conceptual designs for the site. Work was done through a local professional design center. Design elements included tree garden,playground,sitting area,lawn,cooking area,lighting and concrete and brick paving. Landscape concept plan for a 3,000 square feet housing site. Involved site recon by tape measurements and photographs and a site analysis. Concluded in 3 concept designs for the site,shown at a formal presentation,a site analysis and recommendations. Work was done through a community volunteer program. Design elements included decks,a playground and fencing. Briefly as draftsman for landscape designer/gardener. Conceptual landscape design for residence. Involved site recon by tape and pace measurements and site analysis. Design included covered patio area,ground cover and flower beds. Two years experience as draftsman for transportation department in engineering firm and for engineering consultants to phone company. Duties consisted of plotting topography. Survey crew member. General assistant to surveyor. Work was done for U.S. Army and County Highway Department. No instrument work. Duties included tape measurement,holding graduated survey rod and plumb bob for sighting and clearing brush. Marketed Landscape Design Services. Brochure writing,promotional material and marketing graphics.

Course in Computer Aided Drafting. 700 hours in AutoCad 2000. 700 hours to date on AutoCad Light 2000. Certificate in Manual Drafting. 1200 hours drafting time. Course in Civil Engineering Technology. (One Semester)

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From Civil Engineer: I am very impressed with your work and with the obvious thought you have put into the marketing of your venture. It was especially good to see a print of that job we discussed on the phone. I wish you much luck with the venture as I do with your plans for school. Im darn proud of you buddy. And by the way,when I get my license,maybe you will consider me for a consulting job down the road. I hope to get together with Rick sometime soon and I would really like to show him your stuff if its ok with you. From all these questions you ask I get the feeling that you are genuinely interested and have put alot of thought into the idea and process of landscape architecture and if you could possibly afford the cost I would urge you to take some classes in the areas you are most interested in. The subject is not so simple as it appears,mixing science and engineering with art and a certain amount of religion to create a comfortable and pleasing balance between man and nature. A thoughtful soul like yours can do this but it can be a lifes work getting it right.

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