Have you ever walked out of your front door and noticed that the dirt around the base of your tree is gone and the roots are exposed? Or perhaps you are blessed with a beautiful babbling stream in the back of your home and when you go out for some peace and quiet you notice part of the bank is missing, leaving you standing over a small cliff?
This is the results of soil erosion. Soil erosion takes place when water, wind, gravity, and/or ice displace the top level of soil. It’s important that you are aware of this natural occurrence taking place as well as knowing how to prevent it.
Tip #1 – Planting.
If you do not have many, or any, slopes/hills on your property adding shrubs and grasses can be utilized to collect and absorb the rain or melted snow. PRO TIP: install shrubs or grasses that will produce long roots to ensure that the topsoil and subsoil are tied together. **some species have shallow roots that will NOT help to stabilize the top soil like clover** In addition to plants holding the soil in place, the roots will create holes, known as pores, in the dirt that allows for water to seep into the ground rather than over spilling into your yard and washing the soil away. And don’t forget to add mulch after your plantings are installed, this will also help to prevent erosion by adding organic matter to the soil and increasing moisture retention (no puddling!).
Tip #2 – Retaining walls.
If you have lots of hills or slopes on your property installing a retaining wall or terracing the property will be the best option for you. Installation of a retaining wall or terracing will prevent the loss of soil and helps to add some depth and dimension to a landscape. (remember: we are always talking about curb appeal) Terracing is a slope control method that uses a staircase pattern that controls run off and wash out. Retaining walls are used for aesthetics as well as function. Installing a retaining wall will ensure that areas are protected from over saturation as well as soil erosion.
Quick guide of retaining walls:
- Gravity wall: these hold the earth by the weight of the wall’s material. This can be done using pavers or large rocks.
- Anchored wall: the strongest type; an anchor is wrapped around the wall and a base is secured deeper into the hill to allow for proper stabilization.
- Piling wall: utilizing long poles made of metal or treated lumber are installed that go deep into the soil as well as above it.
- Cantilever wall: similar to the piling wall however they get extra support from an “arm” that extends into the hill for additional stabilization.
Utilize rain collection barrels
Install French drain(s)
Add a rain garden