Ideas for steep hill?

I have a walkout basement, so I have a few steep hills in my back yard. One is behind the garage, that comes down 11 feet in about a 16 or 18 foot length, and the other is a hill with an even steeper slope outside my main level patio door. The hill behind the patio door I think will be dealt with when I put a deck in this summer. The one behind the garage has me stumped though.
the width of the strip is a little more than the width of my 3 car garage which it is behind. The neighbor's yard slopes about the same, so there's no help there for designing a solution. As I said, it's around 15 or so feet from top of the hill to the bottom, one edge is just the lot line and the other edge is the side of my house. So it's just a smallish square area.
I'm not worried about "using" the space. My only concern is to be able to do something other than grass - I'm tied of cutting these hills. I can put something down to let all the grass die, but what can I do then to keep the dirt from eroding away? Would some type of landscaping barrier, covered with decorative stones or something, work? Anyone have any links for anything to give me ideas? I've been googling, but most of my hits are for retaining walls and such, something I would rather not spend the money for in this instance with the deck going in.
Thanks for any suggestions.
John
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Grass is not the only ground cover out there. There are many other plants which will keep your dirt in place, but not require mowing. Consult your local nursery for ground covers that do well in your area and situation.
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I agree with the groundcover idea. That combined with some other local plants can create a nice effect. It's hard to give any specifics without knowing your location, amount of sun, etc.
Given the steep grade that ends at your house, I would also be concerned about drainage. Before landscaping it, I'd be certain you have that taken into account. IF I had a grade that steep ending against a wall, I'd definitely have a drain system in place to channel the surface water away.
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On 29 Jun 2004 05:20:02 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net (Chet Hayes) wrote:

Thanks. It's Milwaukee, Wisconsin, so 4 seasons each in full swing in it's time. The hill faces east, and gets full sun until it gets past the garage in the early afternoon. In fall / winter / spring when the sun is farther south, it gets some afternoon sun as well when the path takes it not over my garage, but at an angle.
Ground cover sounds good - my concern is the soil - I may have to bring some topsoil in because we have such a high clay content in the ground here, and I don't know how much good soil is there on the hill anymore.
Will check with our local "Nature's Nook" to see if they have any recommendations. I'd much rather plant than landscape. :D
Thanks guys!
John
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