10 Landslide Prevention Landscaping Techniques | askBAMLand

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Landslides are scary, right?

They sweep away everything in their path, from trees to homes.

But guess what?

You can take measures to keep your land slipping away.

Imagine looking out your window and seeing your garden exactly where it should be, even after heavy rain.

It's totally possible!

You're not defenseless against the forces of nature.

Strategic landscaping can significantly bolster your property's resistance to landslides.

It's like giving your garden an invisible shield against erosion, heavy rains, and the ominous pull of gravity.

Knowing how to safeguard your land is crucial, and you've come to the right place.

We've distilled a wealth of expert advice, combining science and practical experience, to offer you dependable techniques for landslide prevention.

Trust us to guide you toward a more secure homestead that stands firm against the elements.

Let's create a serene outdoor space that won't budge, no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.

Key Takeaways

  • Strategic landscaping can strengthen land against erosion.
  • Expert-recommended methods offer effective protection.
  • Practical steps can ensure a secure, serene outdoor space.

Table of Contents

Vegetation Planting

Hey there, green thumb!

Have you ever considered that your love for planting could be the hero in a landslide story?

It's true!

By strategic vegetation planting, you can help keep the earth right where it should be.

Let's dig into how your plants can make a difference.

Why should you plant vegetation on slopes?

Well, besides getting to enjoy a beautiful garden, deep-rooted trees, shrubs, and grasses are fantastic at stabilizing soil.

Imagine their roots like a natural net, catching and holding the soil together.

This means less erosion and a more stable slope for your landscape.

Pretty cool, right?

Here's a quick breakdown of vegetation that can anchor your soil:

  • Trees: Oaks and maples are your go-to's. These leafy giants have robust root systems that reach deep into the ground, holding onto the soil like a friendly bear hug.
  • Shrubs: Consider planting shrubs like juniper or cotoneaster for a lower-growing option with impressive root networks that eagerly grip the soil.
  • Grasses: For the open areas, grasses like fescue or ryegrass wage war against erosion with their fibrous roots, proudly defending your slope with every blade.

Are you ready to plant some allies in the fight against landslides?

Don't forget to:

  • Choose native plants for better growth and environmental integration (plus, they're just happier in their hometown soil).
  • Space your plants wisely to allow their roots to intermingle and form that essential underground matrix.

With your capable hands and a little plant know-how, you'll be turning your slope into a fortress against landslides.

So grab your gardening gloves and plant for stability—your garden, and the land beneath it, will thank you!


Ever felt like your garden's just too steep, and rainwater just races right off?

Well, terracing might just be your knight in shining armour!

Think of it as putting stairs in your garden.

But instead of climbing, these "stairs" slow down water and soil from taking off down the hill.

Why does this matter?

When you break up a slope into flatter, "step-like" areas, you're basically putting speed bumps on that hill.

Water can't rush down as fast, giving it more time to soak into the ground, which is great for your plants and stability.

Here's how to get the terracing right:

  • Start by mapping your slope. You want to create level sections that follow the natural contours of the land.
  • Stabilize these terraces with sturdy walls or barriers. We're talking about using materials like stones, bricks, or even sturdy plants.
  • Make sure there's a slight inward tilt. This little tilt—or "batter"—helps keep everything snug and less likely to tumble down with a heavy rain.
  • Think about drainage. Between terraces, create channels or use pipes to redirect excess water without causing damage.

Remember, terraces are more than just functional; they also look awesome!

You can plant different things on each level, adding some serious curb appeal to your place.

Plus, it's a workout and a half, creating these bad boys, so you can skip the gym!

Just imagine your hillside with these lovely terraces, home to blooming flowers and happy, rooted plants.

You've stopped erosion in its tracks, and you've got the prettiest, most stable garden on the block.

How's that for a win-win?

Retaining Walls

Have you ever wondered how a mountainside or a steep backyard can hang tight without sliding down during heavy rains?

Well, your hero here is often the unassuming but mighty retaining wall.

What's a retaining wall, you ask?

It's a sturdy structure designed to hold back soil in a landscape, reducing erosion and preventing the downhill slide of soil, known as a landslide.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Materials matter a ton.

Some walls boast robust concrete for their muscles, standing tall against the pressures of soil and water.

Others go for a classic look with stone, or a more natural vibe with timber.

And guess what?

Some walls have a hidden trick—they’re part steel beam.

Placed in pre-drilled holes and hugged by concrete, these steel beam walls laugh in the face of extreme slopes.

Retaining walls and their trusty sidekick, drainage systems, team up like superheroes.


Water can be a wall’s kryptonite, slowly weakening the structure or adding heavy pressure behind it.

Good drainage channels this water away, keeping the wall strong and the soil intact.

And let me dish out a pro tip—these walls aren't just about brute strength.

They're also savvy space managers, especially the ones called piling walls, built of steel and perfect for those tight spaces.

Ah, but the magic mostly happens where you can't see it; most of this wall’s body lies below ground, securing the soft soil like an underground fortress.

Just remember that big walls come with big responsibilities.

If you’re eyeing a wall higher than 3 feet, you’ll likely need a permit.

Over 5 feet?

It’s time to call in the pros—an engineer's report will be your new best friend.

So there you have it—whether your landscape is trying to stand strong against the forces of nature, or you're crafting a secure vegetable paradise, retaining walls are your go-to guardians.

They are the silent sentinels, the unsung heroes, keeping your slice of heaven, well, heavenly!

Drainage Control

Ever had that "Eureka" moment when you realize water always finds a way?

Well, in the case of landslides, it's more like water finds a way to wreak havoc!

But, fear not, because you can channel your inner hero with some landscaping smarts—let's talk about drainage control!

When your slope starts drinking too much water during heavy rains, it's time for an intervention.

The goal?

Keep your land thirsty but not too thirsty.


By giving water a convenient path away from your slope through clever drainage solutions.

  • French Drains: These are like secret underground tunnels for water. They're trenches filled with gravel and a pipe that take the water for a covert mission away from your property.
  • Culverts: These are like bridges for water to cross under your driveway or road without inviting soil to the party.
  • Surface Drains: Think of them as water bouncers, guiding rainwater down the right path and away from areas that could give in to erosion.

Remember, the key to a happy, landslide-free slope is balance—like a tightrope walker, but for soil moisture.

Too much water?

Not on your watch!

With these drainage systems, you'll be the master of moisture, keeping soil just the right kind of dry and stable.

So roll up your sleeves and let's get to work!

Your slope will thank you, and your peace of mind will be as solid as the ground beneath your feet.

Reinforced Soil Slopes

Have you ever seen a slope and thought, "Wow, that's a solid piece of work"?

Well, there's a good chance it was reinforced to stay that way!

Reinforced soil slopes are a bit like the unsung heroes of the landscaping world.

They're there to ensure that the earth doesn't get any funny ideas about moving around when it shouldn't.

So, how do we keep our sloped landscapes from slipping away?

It's simpler than you might think.

Picture this: a layer of soil held together by a web of materials like geotextiles, geogrids, or even soil nails.

These stabilizing stars are woven into the earth, creating a hidden structure that holds everything in place.

What's the Magic Behind It?

  1. Geotextiles: They're like snug blankets for the soil, keeping it cozy and compact.
  2. Geogrids: Imagine a net that not only catches falling rocks but also encourages roots to grow stronger and deeper.
  3. Soil Nails: As tough as it sounds! These are long, sturdy rods drilled into the slope, anchoring the soil like a ship in a stormy sea.

And the best part?

These methods distribute the heavyweight of the soil evenly, reducing pressure points and minimizing the risk of a landslide.

Are you worried about how this might look in your garden?

Fear not!

Once these reinforcements are in place, they're usually covered with vegetation, making them nearly invisible.

Your garden stays looking like nature intended, with the added peace of mind that it won't decide to relocate overnight.

Reinforced soil slopes: they're the silent guardians of your garden, keeping the ground right where you want it—under your feet.

Cool, right?


Hey there, green thumbs!

Have you ever thought about how a simple layer of mulch could be your secret weapon against pesky landslides?

It's true!

Let's dig in and find out how.

You might be wondering, what's the big deal with mulch?

Well, when applied to sloping gardens, mulch works wonders.

It's like a protective blanket for your soil, keeping it from eroding under the power of rain.

It's not just about stopping the soil from running away though; mulch helps to keep it moist and cozy, perfect for plants to thrive.

Here's a quick breakdown of mulching benefits:

  • Protects soil surface: Acts like a shield against rain.
  • Retains moisture: Keeps the ground hydrated, not too wet, not too dry.
  • Promotes vegetation growth: More plants mean more roots, and more roots mean a firmer grip on the earth.

Are you ready to mulch your way to a sturdier slope?

Grab these materials and get started:

  • Compost
  • Wood chips
  • Gravel
  • Straw

Just sprinkle any of these onto your vulnerable areas, and voilà!

Keep in mind, though, that timing is key.

Wait for mid to late spring when the soil is ready to warm up, and don't pile it on too thick.

A nice, thin layer will allow those eager seedlings to pop through without a struggle.

Mulching is easy, it's effective, and it makes your garden look top-notch while you're at it.

Who knew a little mulching could do so much in the fight against landslides?

Now, you're not only equipped with knowledge but also ready to take action.

Go on, give your soil a hug with some mulch!


Have you ever considered the power of a rock?

Not just any old pebble, but hefty stones meticulously placed to save your landscape from washing away.

That's riprap for you—nature's own barrier against erosion's relentless tug.

First things first: What is riprap?

Imagine armor plating made of large stones used on slopes or shorelines.

These rugged defenders range in size—some as small as a few inches and others as mighty as several feet across.

When water tries to play tough, riprap stands its ground, absorbing energy and breaking up the flow to keep your soil right where it belongs.

Why use riprap?

Here are a few bullet-proof reasons:

  • Stability: Grab those stones to stabilize areas by water like streambanks or lake edges.
  • Erosion control: No more watching your land slip away into the abyss.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Go for a straight-laced look or a more natural vibe — riprap can do both!

Installation tips?

Gotcha covered:

  • Size matters: For steeper slopes, bigger is better. Keep those stones hefty to hold back the tide.
  • Keep it clean: Dirt and debris are no friends of riprap. A rock bucket during installation keeps it all tidy.

Using riprap can be a game-changer for your property, especially if running water and erosion are in the mix.

Plus, don't you think there's something a bit poetic about these steadfast stones watching over your landscape?

Give it a go, and let those rocks roll up their sleeves and get to work!

Gabion Baskets

Ever built a sandcastle and watched the waves wash it away?

It's frustrating, right?

But imagine a structure that can hold back the might of water and earth—the humble gabion basket!

You're probably wondering what these are.

Well, gabion baskets are sturdy cages filled with rocks, concrete, or even sand and soil that lend a helping hand to unstable slopes.

They're like the unsung heroes of the landscaping world!

So, how do they work their magic?

Here's the lowdown:

  • Structure: These baskets are made of wire mesh, shaped into boxes or cylinders.
  • Filling: They are then filled to the brim with locally sourced materials like rocks.
  • Functionality: Thanks to their heaviness, they anchor down soil and help with water drainage—pretty handy, huh?

What's even better is that installing them is a DIY enthusiast's dream come true.

You build the wire cage, plop it in place, and then fill it up—think of it like a grown-up's Lego set!

And these baskets aren’t just about brawn; they can be a treat for the eyes too.

Imagine the aesthetic appeal of natural stone textures nestled in your yard.

Talk about curb appeal!

Here's a quick step-by-step to get you going:

  1. Site Prep: Check for stability and soil type. Clear out debris.
  2. Build Cage: Assemble your wire mesh gabion.
  3. Fill: Stack in those stones or other materials.
  4. Placement: Set it where you need support.

On top of all this, they're budget-friendly too!

A quality gabion might cost around $30-40 each.

But if you're savvy, sourcing materials nearby could slice that price down.

So, not only are you preventing landslides, but you're also being cost-effective.

Who said good things don’t come in wired packages?

Remember, for every meter high your wall will be, you need about 10cm of strong sub-base to keep things steady.

It's all about that solid foundation, just like in life, right?

And before you ask—nope, gabion baskets are eco-friendly with great drainage and no adverse effects on your surroundings.

It’s win-win!

Ready to give it a try?

Ground Cover Plants

Ever watched the soil just wash away after a good rain?

It’s like it has legs!

But here’s a trick to make that soil stay put: ground cover plants.

These little green heroes are more than just eye candy; they're nature’s carpet, anchoring the soil one root at a time.

Let's dive in, shall we?

First off, we've got the mighty Creeping Jenny.

This plant isn't just a looker with its yellow-green brilliance, it’s also a soil savior, perfect for those shady spots in your yard.

Here's a quick rundown:

  • Sunlight: Partial shade
  • Height: 2-4 inches
  • Superpower: Colorful ground cover.

Next, meet Lamb's Ear, with foliage so soft, you’ll want to pet it!

It thrives even in not-so-great soil and doesn't grow too tall, so you can say goodbye to any fears of it turning into a ground cover monster.

  • Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 0.5-1 foot
  • Superpower: Tolerates lower quality soil.

But that's not all.

Ever heard of Hens-and-Chicks?

These tough succulents are more than just cute; they're drought warriors, sliding into those parched crevices you thought nothing could survive in.

  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Soil: Well-drained
  • Superpower: Drought resistance.

Thinking about a low-maintenance option?

Creeping juniper and ivy are your go-to.

They’re the undemanding friends in the plant world, spreading steadily without asking for much in return, perfect for keeping that soil from taking a hike down the hill.

Incorporating these plants into your landscaping provides a blanket of erosion control while adding a mixture of textures and colors to your garden.

Who knew being practical about landslide prevention could look so pretty?

So why not bedazzle your landscape while keeping that soil in check?

Your garden (and the environment) will thank you!

Slope Grading

Ever noticed how hills and slopes seem more relaxed when they're not so steep?

It's the same deal for the ground under our feet.

When we're talking about landslides, giving the land a gentle nudge into a more chill gradient can really make a difference.

It's like calming down an over-caffeinated friend by easing off the espresso shots.

Why is this important?

Well, imagine you're trying to balance a book on a slope.

If that slope is as steep as a thrill ride at an amusement park, that book's going to have a tough time staying put.

The ground works a bit like that, too.

If we grade the slope to a more leisurely incline, the soil and everything on top is less eager to take a tumble.

Let's look at some numbers that paint a picture:

  • 3-5% Slope (20:1 to 33:1 Ratio): This is where you want the ground around your house. It keeps your home's feet—err, foundations—dry and happy with drainage that minds its own business and flows away like it should.
  • 6-10% Slope (10:1 to 16:1 Ratio): Now, this is where we need some serious water movement. Think roadsides or those bigger gardens that need a bit of oomph to keep water from lounging around.

So, what's the takeaway?

We're looking to grade slopes so they're less steep which translates to less risk of them making a sudden, unwelcome move.

Adjusting the gradient means a more stable and less worrisome patch of land.

Plus, it's a classic move—no hype needed, just good old-fashioned dirt and gravity doing their thing.

Keep it simple, and the ground under your feet will thank you.


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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