Erosion Control: How to Keep Your Soil Where It Belongs

colorful flower garden

You may have noticed that your property has certain areas prone to being washed away during periods of melting snow and heavy rains. When rocks or soil become displaced and settle to other, usually lower-lying, areas it’s known as erosion.

Erosion is more than just an eyesore; it’s a source of potential flooding, pollution, and a constant battle to manage your yard and gardens. Sometimes, erosion is a naturally occurring result of your property’s slopes and valleys. Other times, you may find erosion to be a new problem after removing vegetation.

Erosion control is an important part of maintaining your property. When erosion continues, it removes your soil’s natural ability to regulate water flow, hold nutrients, and combat pollutants. 

How to combat erosion:

25% Slope: Plantings

If your slopes are less than 25%, you have an opportunity to naturally control erosion with plantings such as ornamental grasses and groundcovers. These plantings will help slow the flow of water and loose soil.

33% Slope: Mulch and Rocks

Mulch can also be used to break the flow of water and soil, provided your slopes are less than 33%. Runoff at this angle can also be controlled  with bulk stone and some sturdier vegetation.

Bulk stone is available in many colors and varieties, making this an attractive way to control erosion.

34-50% Slope: Special Techniques

While you can still plant on slopes this steep, you will most likely need to reinforce your plantings with erosion blankets, nets, riprap (larger rocks), or erosion control mats.

50% or Greater Slopes

If your slopes are this steep, plantings and loose stone are no longer good options for stopping erosion. At this point, only a structured technique, such as a retaining wall or specially constructed step-terraces, or placing large rocks (known as riprap) will be able to adequately control runoff.

  • Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can be constructed of wood, stone, bricks, or concrete. When planning your retaining wall, make sure to dig out a trench for your first layer of material, usually made of bulk stone, so that the wall starts level and resists shifting as it settles.

You may consider installing a drainage pipe under or behind the wall to further direct water away from your property.

  • Step-Terraces

Terracing is an attractive option for erosion control. By breaking the slope into level steps, you will reduce the force of the water flow. Wooden construction filled with bulk stones is a great way to make these, and when done correctly, they will look like planned steps in your landscaping. Add a railing and some plantings to the step-terrace, and it will be a beautiful, functional addition to any sloping hill.

  • Riprap

Riprap consists of large rocks, generally four inches or over. These rocks are placed on the slope and will limit the speed and velocity of runoff, diverting and rerouting it in several directions.

Riprap is difficult to walk across; if crossing the riprap is a concern, adding smaller rocks or soil will help to fill in the gaps.

  • Compost Filters (Compost Filter Socks)

Compost filters are an environmentally friendly solution for erosion control. These are tubes made of environmentally friendly materials, such as aged hardwood, wrapped in a tough outer casing and used as a dam. RELS supplies the field tested durable affordability of Diamond Socks

Unlike other forms of dams, the compost filter sock is designed to gradually break down with no mess to clean up other than the netting material.

RELS Landscaping has all Your Erosion Control Materials

At RELS, we know that Maryland seasons can cause erosion all year round. We have a huge selection of bulk stone, decorative stone, rocks, sand, and soil to help keep your soil where it belongs. Contact us now or stop by our Frederick and Silver Spring Locations for erosion control materials, available now and priced to fit your landscaping budget.