Water is a necessary ingredient for a healthy, green lawn. As is the case with many things in life however, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. When large volumes of water flow across the surface of your lawn, it can erode the landscape and undo all your hard work. Sloped surfaces are typically most prone to erosion. At first you may just notice a few small streams and gullies in your lawn after a rainfall. Over time, these gullies can grow until whole sections of soil start to come loose. This can turn your yard into a muddy, unsightly mess. The good news is there are a few things you can do to limit water runoff and protect your lawn from erosion.
Getting plants established on a steep slope can be tricky, but once you do their root systems can help to anchor the soil and prevent erosion. Ornamental grasses, wildflowers and other native perennials typically have the best chance of taking root on slopes with loose soil. Daylilies, forsythia, juniper and ivy are all good options for erosion control.
Partially buried cobblestone curbs or timbers can be used to divert water so that it flows at an angle rather than directly downhill. Start by digging a trench slightly deeper than half the height of barrier. Next, backfill the bottom of the trench with gravel and seat the barriers on top. Finally, secure the barriers by filling the rest of the trench with soil. This technique typically works best on relatively gentle slopes.
On steeper slopes, terraced flowerbeds can be used to absorb moisture and minimize runoff. These effectively turn the landscape into a series of stairs, rather than a ramp. Building retaining walls and terraces can be labor intensive, but it’s well worth if you struggle with erosion year after year. Not only will terraces prevent erosion in the future, they’ll add attractive landscaping features to your yard as well.