A small hill or slope in your yard can lead to all sorts of drainage issues. Water coursing down the slope erodes the hillside, making it difficult to grow anything. The eroded soil and excess water can collect in other parts of the yard or even against your foundation, where it causes more problems. Fortunately, there are some methods for controlling the erosion.
Terracing is one of the best options for controlling erosion, especially on steeper slopes. Small retaining steps are cut into the soil of the slope. These are usually held back with short retaining walls made of stone or even treated lumber. The soil in each terrace is leveled and either planted or mulched. Drainage may also be installed beneath the surface so that water trickles out from drainage pipes in the terrace walls instead of washing over the top.
2. Grass and Shrubs
Grass and shrubs work well for stabilizing gradual slopes because the root systems tend to form mats that hold the soil together. Shrubs are tall enough to act as a barrier, which further helps slow water flow and limit erosion on the slope. For grass, it is often recommended to plant sod and stake it in place until it roots since seed may wash down the slope before it germinates. Shrubs can be planted directly, and a straw tube barrier can be placed upslope of the shrub so runoff doesn't wash it away before it roots.
3. Compost Blankets
A compost blanket is sometimes called an erosion control mat. These mats are made of compostable materials. For the home, one of the best types to choose is the one impregnated with grass or groundcover seeds. You lay the mat over the slope and stake it in place. Then you simply keep it moist until the seeds germinate. The blanket holds the soil and seeds in place so erosion doesn't wash either away. Once the seedlings begin to root, the blanket decomposes and adds more nutrients to the soil to encourage deeper rooting and better slope stabilization.
4. Erosion Grids
An erosion grid is made of plastic. When installed in the soil, the top of the grid is flush with the surface of the soil. Grass or other groundcover plants are then grown in the openings of the grid. The grid prevents soil erosion and keeps plants from washing away. These devices work especially well on steep hillsides that wash out often.
Contact a hillside erosion control service for more help if you have a slope in your yard.