How to Stop Soil Erosion With Barriers

Clearing your land for gardening or construction leaves the soil exposed to the elements. Loose soil is susceptible to the forces of wind and rain which will move it from one place to another. Rain washes soil down the nearest slope and off your property, and wind picks up soil and carries it away. This process is called erosion. You must control erosion if you want to keep the topsoil on your property in its place for your use. A row of tall, annual grasses can help stop wind erosion and a silt fence can capture soil washed downhill by rain.

Plant Row Barriers to Prevent Wind Erosion

Loose soil is easily eroded by wind and water.
  1. Dig the point of your shovel into the soil. Work the handle of the shovel from side to side to loosen the dirt. Continue loosening dirt in a row across your cultivated field.

  2. Pull stones out of your planting row with the head of a hoe. Chop the soil in the row into a fine consistency with no chunks. Smooth the top of the soil in the row without compressing it.

  3. Scatter wheat grass seeds along the length of the planting row. Cover the soil with a thick coat of seeds. Water the seeds with a fine mist from your hose.

  4. Water the wheat grass daily at dusk. Do not mow or otherwise harm the plants. Add more seeds to any areas of the row that gets damaged. Allow the wheat grass to grow throughout the year.

Install Silt Fencing to Control Water Erosion

  1. Dig a trench with your shovel. Make the trench 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Place the trench along the contour of the slope where it will block soil from escaping your property in a heavy rain.

  2. Drive 2-inch by 2-inch stakes into the ground in the bottom of your trench with a sledge hammer. Leave only 24 inches of each wooden stake above the level of the ground on the uphill side of your trench. Place a stake every 4 feet along the length of your proposed barrier line.

  3. Unroll silt fencing along your line of stakes. Cut the fencing with your razor knife as necessary. Staple the silt fencing to the uphill side of the stakes, leaving the excess material in the bottom of the trench.

  4. Cover the excess fencing and fill the trench with the soil from the original excavation. Compact the soil by walking back and forth along the trench on both sides of the silt fence.


  • Work gloves and safety glasses are required when using hand tools.
  • Always call your local utility locating service before you dig.