How to Prevent Erosion on a Slope

Climatic factors like rain, wind and winter thaws erode slopes in many residential and commercial landscapes as well as in natural environments. This erosion carries soil, rocks and other sediment away, causing unwanted gullies, cracks and dryness to slopes. These results are unsightly and degrade the remaining soil, depriving vegetation of critical nutrients. However, there are several erosion prevention and control methods to help avoid these effects and keep soil healthy. Choosing which one is right for a particular slope will depend on how steep it is.

Low Slopes

Erosion prevention techniques keep slopes unmarred from rain, wind and winter thaws.

Cover areas of the slope with up to 2 inches of mulch composed of bark chips, pine needles, wood chips and even river rock or stones.

Select plants for landscaping that will stabilize the soil like sedum, creeping thyme, verbena or other ground covers. Check tags to make sure these plants will do well with the amount of light and type of soil that are on the slope.

Plant vegetation according to the spacing and depth requirements of the plants, which generally are listed on the plant's tags.

Moderate Slopes

Select an erosion control net, mat or blanket to put over the slope before planting to keep the area from eroding until the plant's roots bind the soil together.

Install the erosion net according the manufacture instructions, making sure that all the edges are firmly pinned in place.

Plant the ground cover of your choice according the depth and spacing requirements indicated on the plant's tag.

Steep Slopes

Install a wood or rock retaining wall, terracing, or other type of stabilization system. Use treated lumber with any wood used in these systems.

Check impervious surfaces surrounding steep slopes like roads, parking lots, roofs and other surfaces that repel rainwater and impede it from soaking into the ground.

Reduce these impervious surfaces by installing gutters, French drains and other drainage systems or by putting gravel on roads and pathways instead of pavement. Each of these techniques redirects excess water, encouraging it to soak into the ground rather than limiting its flow.

Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Wood
  • Anti-erosion material
  • Mulch
  • Ground cover plants


  • Be sure to check your local building and safety office to see what permits may be required to install retaining walls.


  • Remember to continue watering only until the soil stops soaking in the water. Otherwise, you may wash away dirt, exposing the roots of plants and removing fertilizer and other nutrients that they need to remain healthy.

About the Author

Nikki Hatcher has been a freelance writer since 2009. Specializing in business, travel, education and lifestyle pieces, she has written articles and copy for several online publications.

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