I had a downspout gutter extension installed into a west end Toronto garden but was alarmed when Hosta buds sprouted, since they grow to four feet high. Unless I uproot the buds, the gutter could be raised so high that the water flow will backup, so I began digging to uproot the sprouts. What would you recommend as a filler, since I have clay like soil, as well as store-bought mulch and city produced compost, for the area which I’d like to be as maintenance free as possible? Little maintenance is not a luxury since the gutter extension is wedged near a brick seat, so moving the gutter should be minimal to preserve the metal connection. A critter dropped some scat into the space already, and I’ve spotted a hare and a skunk earlier in the year, besides racoons, so I’m not the only interested habitant. Thank you.
Thank you for contacting us about the issue resulting from your downspout placement. It seems from the photo and also from the fact you had healthy hostas there previously, the site is shady and moist. You mention clay but also that you are amending it. The downpipe is close to/against a fence so drainage onto the neighbouring property must be considered. Whatever treatment you decide on, should be permeable and hopefully water outflow can be used or contained on your property.
One option for low or no maintenance would be to lay some nice looking loose gravel (being sure to deal with a reputable and experienced source in order to keep water from running off into the neighbouring property). If there is room nearby and it does not obstruct water flow or drainage, cedars love water and would help to soak up the outflow. Normally, cedars like sun so look for a variety that likes shade. Or plant nothing and install a fun garden sculpture or a pot with shade loving but colourful annuals…maintenance free except for watering the pot! Vines are an option as their roots might obstruct waterflow.
Here is a link to our Gardening Guide about annuals for shade for a pot: Annuals for Shade; A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide
If you decide to plant , here is a link to our Gardening Guides that gives suggestions for low plants for moist shade. Perennials for Shade; A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide
As for your wildlife: later in the season , I would guess that your skunks and racoons are after grubs but it is early for that so here is a link to advice from the City of Toronto on living with skunks and racoons.
Hope this gives you some ideas. Thank you for contacting us.