I recently finished a house that is now occupied by the new owner’s. It started as a spec. and so the sale involved a buyer’s real estate agent and a standard purchase agreement. I included an addendum of my own to cover a few of things that I like to have in my contracts since the house wasn’t yet finished when this contract to purchase was signed. They’ve been living in the house for about 3 months now and have been very pleased.
The house is located in Western North Carolina so we have to deal with a lot of slopes and banks when putting final grade and landscaping on. There is a bank below the turn around in the driveway that is probably 4-5 feet high and slopes fairly gradually. I placed a bunch of boulders on the bank with spaces(probably 6-12″) between them. In the spaces the landscaper planted some crevice plants that will take a little while to spread but are meant to help hold the dirt between the rocks. We have been suffering from a drought so when it does rain(gully washers) the surface dirt that is exposed around the crevice plants gets washed away in piles. We can’t mulch in the spaces because then the crevice plants won’t be able to spread and the mulch by itself would probably wash away. Some of the boulders have moved a little and there are large washed away spaces between the rocks. There is also a place next to the boulders where a large portion of the driveway drains down the continuation of the same bank. The landscaper put jute mesh down and mulched it I believe thinking that would be enough to hold the dirt there but it isn’t working. A trough is being washed into the bank where the dirt under the jute is washing away.
My first question is what level of responsibility do I have at this point to repair any of this? The contract to purchase doesn’t specifically address erosion control or who is responsible once the homeowner has taken possession. I feel like we made a concerted effort to do what we could within the budget and would have been hard pressed to predict what would happen with a few gully washers. I can’t hardly hold the landscaper responsible since our agreement didn’t say he was absolutely responsible to control erosion or else. We discussed our options within the budget and did what we thought might work.
My second question would be what can I do to get the dirt between the boulders to hold? Replace the dirt and wait for the crevice plants to spread and take hold? Pour concrete or mortar between the boulders and place a trough drain of some sort above the bank to direct the water? That’s getting into some expense that goes back to my first question.
I want these people to remain happy with their home but I don’t really have much of anything to spend on this right now.