About Landscape Berms

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    • A totally flat landscape is protected with barriers such as berms that make it difficult to walk or ride a bike or vehicle easily through the area. Installing a large mound of earth planted with flowers and surrounded by bushes discourages foot traffic through flat, open areas of property. Berms at the edge of a front yard facing a busy street will absorb a lot of street traffic noise and provide some privacy as well as a focal point for planting. Berms on either side of a large driveway serve as physical barriers to keep vehicles off of grass and out of gardens.


    • A berm is a large landscape project that requires planning. Analyze the site for the berm and the area around it for drainage, wind and winter exposure. Decide what to use to form the berm: all soil, soil over some structural material such as concrete rubble or shredded wood or some other material. If the berm will be planted with flowers or bushes, include compost to mix into the soil to add organic matter. Use landscape cloth over the soil mound before planting to prevent erosion.


    • Design the berm to withstand the conditions of the area where it's located. If you plan to create a berm in an extremely exposed area that has no protection from rain and wind, design a high berm with a permanent footing such as a wooden or cement foundation and erosion control. If the berm is going in a protected area surrounded by trees, fencing or some other shelter, design a lower berm without as much support. Ensure the finished berm fits the surrounding landscape by gently sloping the sides and anchoring it with a few of the same types of shrubs and plants as the area around it.


    • After the berm is newly installed, attention to soil and new plants is necessary until everything is established. Since a berm is higher than the surrounding surfaces, anything planted on it is more exposed and needs attention the first season it's installed. Use mulch even if you cover the berm with landscape cloth. Mulch preserves moisture for plants and adds additional erosion protection. Consider adding one or two large shrubs to further anchor the berm. After it's established, an occasional inspection to ensure weeds and invasive species aren't taking over is all that is necessary.

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