Mother Nature has packed away her white winter coat for a spring rain jacket, bringing rain to kickstart our lawns and gardens.  As the final mounds of snow melt away, and her spring rains come, soil erosion around your home can become a costly problem.

Soil erosion is when soil particles detach from one another and begin to move, usually caused by excess water or wind.  It can cause damage to foundations, clog drains, destroy gardens, ruin your landscaping, and if your soil erosion causes damage to the next property over from you, you may be forced to pay for repairing it.

Soil erosion can happen slowly over time, as topsoil gradually gets washed away, it can happen in the spring when the snow melts, or it can happen quickly in a heavy rainstorm and can be a problem for any yard, but particularly those with a slope.

There are many things that you can do to diminish the amount of erosion around your home.  First, you need to find it.  Some areas of serious erosion may be obvious, but there are some that may be more subtle.

Look for spots where there is dead grass.  This could indicate that water is pooling there and when it rains, the area is too saturated and the soil simply cannot absorb the water.  

If there is water flowing off your house, your gutters may be clogged and forming “waterfalls” off your roof, you’ll see areas of erosion.

If your gutters are not properly directed away from your house, water will collect and erode the area.

Mold or mildew forming on your foundation or fences means the area is wet and not absorbing all of the water.

Erosion can occur in areas where snow had been piled and melted.

Look for dead plants in your garden.  This could indicate that water is not absorbing properly.

Fortunately, there are many ways to fight soil erosion once you’ve identified problem areas and their causes.  The solution may be as small as adding some plants or as big as calling in a landscaping company with a backhoe.

Plant trees or flowers.  Planting trees or flowers is one of the easiest ways to fight erosion.  Their roots aid in anchoring the soil and they soak up excess water.  It’s best to choose plants that are native to your location because they’ll have the best chance of survival.

Use mulch.  Mulch not only helps the ground absorb excess water, it increases the pH level in your soil which makes it healthier.  Mulch should be changed yearly to take advantage of its benefits.

Barriers.  Install barriers around your garden and edges of your lawn.  This will help keep the soil and plants in place.

Clean your gutters.  Overflowing gutters can lead to many problems, not the least of which, is erosion around your foundation.  Be sure to clean them in the spring (or have them professionally cleaned) to not only clear any debris, but to inspect for any damage that may have been caused during the icy winter months that could lead to leaks.

Make sure your gutters drain away from your house.  Direct them into drains, ponds, and wooded areas at a significant distance away from your house.

Install stone walls or retaining walls.  They not only help keep soil in place, they can really beautify your yard.

Use matting.  Matting is a method that uses thick mats laid on the surface of the soil to improve its health and keep everything in place.  They are made of natural fibers which make them eco-friendly, and some are biodegradable, but those have to be replaced regularly.  Plants can be planted through them as well.

Terracing.  Terracing is most useful for areas that have slopes.  It’s a method by which steep sections are leveled off to make flat areas that allow water to be absorbed in them instead of flowing down the slope.  It’s one of the best ways to prevent erosion and can give your landscape character.

Our technicians at GutterPros of St. Louis can help you prevent erosion damage.  We can clean your gutters and inspect for any damage that may have occurred to them over the winter, and we can make sure that your gutters drain at a safe distance away from your home to prevent expensive harm to your foundation.  Call us today for a free estimate.