Five Landscaping Mistakes To Avoid On A Hill

A hill or steep slope in the yard is going to be prone to erosion. Certain mistakes can make the problem worse, so it's best to know how to avoid them.

1. Large Plants

Large plants, like trees and larger bushes, can pose a major issue on a steep slope. The weight of the plant itself can lead to a slope collapse in heavy rains or high winds, for example. Another issue is that larger plants tend to suck more moisture out of the soil, which makes slopes less stable and more prone to erosion or collapse. As a general rule, it is best to avoid large plants and instead to plant grass and low-growing groundcover that has deep roots that will stabilize the slope.

2. Steep Slopes

Especially steep slopes will usually require more than a groundcover to properly stabilize them. Terraces or retaining walls are better options, as these provide stability and make the land more useful. Terraces work well on high steep slopes, where you may want one or more level areas for gardening or even outdoor seating. Retaining walls are better suited for use on low steep slopes, where the main goal is to prevent the slope from eroding into the more level area of the yard.

3. Poor Drainage

Drainage issues are the primary cause of slope erosion. If left to its own devices, water runoff from rain or irrigation can carve deep trenches down the side of a slope. One option is to install underground drainage pipes along the top edge of the slope and behind any terrace or retaining structures. Water will seep into the drainage pipes and be routed underground to the local storm drain system. Controlling the path of drainage will protect the slope from erosion.

4. Weak Structure

A weak soil structure is often the cause of erosion. Thin, sandy soil, for example, is more likely to erode compared to that which contains more humus and gravel. An erosion service can take samples of the soil and recommend amendments to improve the soil structure. Lime, for instance, can bond with clay soil to create an erosion-resistant and more stable soil. Adding amendments like compost, organic matter, and even fine gravel may also help strengthen the soil.

5. Bare Soil

Bare soil is more likely to be washed or blown away, so always cover the soil. Sod is a quick way to provide a lawn covering, or you can opt to densely plant groundcover plants of your choice. Heavy mulches, like rock mulch, are another option. You can also have stabilization grids installed. Plants grow through the grids, but the grids prevent soil from washing away.

Contact a hillside erosion control service for more help.