Soil erosion can be a major issue in the home landscape. If your yard isn't perfectly level, you may have issues with soil being washed away through gullies and miniature landslides. The following are a few ways you can landscape your yard to prevent such erosion.
Nearly any type of grass can prevent soil erosion, including the non-native lawn grasses that many people prefer for their yards. For more severe erosion zones, such as on steep slopes, consider native ornamental grasses. Native grasses, particularly bunch grasses, tend to have deep roots so they are better at anchoring the soil compared to shallower rooted non-natives. You may need to anchor the slope with a biodegradable mesh mat as the grass establishes roots so that soil doesn't erode away before the plants can root.
Grow Some Shrubs
Shrubs can work well along more gentle slopes or near runoff gullies. Choose shrubs that have deep roots but are not too large, since the weight of the plant could cause a slope to give out. If you are planting in or near a drainage gully, you should also choose shrubs that can tolerate periodic high moisture conditions. Much like grass, the roots of the shrub help anchor the soil. The larger leaf and branch cover also catches some moisture before it hits the ground, which can further reduce erosion.
Steeper slopes can benefit from the addition of a retaining wall to help prevent the slope from slipping. Drainage is typically built into the base of the wall so that excess moisture can leach out without causing the slope to fail. Another option is to combine terracing with retaining walls. Each terrace is flat and stair steps up the slope and a separate wall holds each terrace in place. You can grow flowers, grass, or even a vegetable garden in the well-drained soil that is within each terrace.
Something as simple as mulch can prevent more minor cases of surface erosion. In fact, it's a good idea to have no areas with bare soil in the yard simply because this increased the chances of the topsoil washing away. Organic mulches, like wood chips, work well around trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. Rock mulch can also be used, especially in areas with no plants or areas with plants that thrive in dry conditions, such as lavender bushes.
For more help, contact Holleman Hydroseeding & Erosion Control LLC.