- Dispelling Common Fertilizer Misconceptions
- Have a plan of action
- Creating the berm
- What to plant in the berm
- How to Build a Berm
- Preparing the Site
- Laying the Substrate
- Finishing the Construction
- Maintaining the Structure
- Building A Berm: How Do I Make A Berm
- Berm Design
- Building a Berm
- Island Bed or Berm
- Build the Perfect Pitcher’s Mound
- The Basic Dimensions
- Have the Tools at Hand
- Pay Attention to the Clay
- Set Your Distances and Heights
- Get the Proper Orientation
- Make the Measurements
- Bring in the Clay
- Lay the Levels and Build the Sub-Base
- Construct the Plateau
- Build the Mound Slope
- Add the Finishing Touches
- Play Ball and Perform Regular Maintenance
- Landscape Berms And Mounds Ideas – Design
- How To Build A Berm Or Landscape Mounds
- Sketch The Landscape Berm Design To Scale On A Graph Paper Beforehand
- Put Down Your Layout Plan
- Remove The Turf Layer In The Marked Lawn
- Fill The Area With Clean Dirt To Build Up The Berm
- Fill The Remaining Few Inches With Clay Soil
- Add Top Soil Over The Clay Layer
- Use A Shovel To Flatten The Top Soil Of Your Berm So That It Can Take A Good Shape
- Naturalize Your Berm
- Plant Your Vegetation
- Add Mulch Around The Plants
- The Bottom Line
- Tips for building good irrigation berms
Dispelling Common Fertilizer Misconceptions
Berms are mounded hills of dirt constructed for blocking out unwanted or unsightly views, creating a subtle sense of privacy, directing or redirecting drainage and foot traffic, emphasizing a particular focal point or adding raised elements to the garden.
Now let’s not confuse berms with the infamous mulch volcano. Where mulch volcanoes are eight to 12-inch piles of mulch stacked around the trunk of a tree, berms are mounds of soil that can sometimes have a small layer of mulch spread over the top. They may look very similar at a first glance, but the two are very different.
When presenting the idea of a berm to your customers, keep a few of these tips in mind when explaining the uses and benefits of berms.
Have a plan of action
Overall, creating a berm isn’t difficult. When constructing a berm, you typically will use some sort of fill material like plant debris, sand, soil or rubble, and this material can be used to make the bulk of it. As long as the material is capable of retaining stability without deteriorating, it can be used as the fill material. To ensure more vigorous plant growth, it is recommended that you incorporate compost into the soil you do use.
Before ever starting on the berm, be sure you and your customer have a plan in action. Talk to them about drainage options within the area that surrounds the berm, as it could redirect runoff to other areas, affect drainage patterns or encourage pooling after it rains.
Creating the berm
Typically speaking, berms should be about four or five times as long as they are high. They will then gradually trail off or spread out into the lawn. There are multiple ways to create berms, and they can vary in size and can have more than one peak. They can be as deep as you and your customer want them to be, but they are typically no taller than 18-24 inches.
Berms can be formed into any shape really, but for a more natural look try sticking to the curving shape. Berms can run and flow throughout the lawn, or you can edge them in stones, plants and more to add a bit of flare to them. When you add a border to the berm, it can also help cut down on the soil eroding into the lawn.
Begin the process by outlining the shape of the berm with chalk, spray paint or even flour, just as you would do with any garden bed. Remove the sod and load the bottom of the berm with whatever fill you’ve chosen and pack down around it with soil. Keep piling up the soil to create a sloping mound, and remember when you are shaping the berm to pile the dirt into a shape that can mimic its surrounding landscape.
Berms, like all landscape elements, should look natural and blend in to enhance the overall design. When shaping and building the berm, take time to step back and see how it’s progressing and blending with what’s around it. If you see that it’s sticking out more than blending, take it in a new direction.
The transition between the lawn and the berm should be smooth and gradual, not bulky and awkward. The berm’s peak should also not be located in the middle, contrary to popular belief. To help keep more of that natural look and to help balance out the berm, the peak should be located more to one side. There can be more than one peak in a berm, but these peaks should vary in their sloping, width and height.
Be sure to tamp the berm once it’s complete to help prevent the possibility of collapse. Tamping also helps keep air pockets from pushing up plants and ultimately drying them out. It usually helps to water a brand new berm and follow that by tamping it again to make sure it doesn’t develop sinkholes. If this happens, just add more soil and continue tamping until it feels solid.
What to plant in the berm
When choosing plants to go in your customer’s berm, remember that there will be microclimates within the berm that can affect the plants you select. Keep in mind that water will drain faster at the top of the berm, therefore choose plants that can tolerate drier conditions. On the flip side, plants that love moisture would enjoy being at the bottom of the berm.
With the sloping aspect of the berms, you need to also keep in mind the temperatures throughout the year. If plants are facing north or east, they will be cooler, and if plants are facing west or south they will be warmer.
Plants are going to really emphasize the berm’s form, so don’t be afraid to incorporate plants of different colors, textures, heights and forms. This will also help the berm last year round with such a wide variety of plants present. Plant shorter plants on the top and down the sides of the berm, and leave taller varieties for the back, depending on the overall shape of the berm.
Like we said earlier, berms do have a layer of mulch on top of the soil, but they are not completely made of mulch. With that said, finish the berm off with a healthy layer of mulch to help prevent soil erosion, provide insulation and slow down water. Shredded wood is usually a good option for berms since it is less likely to wash down in rain, and it also blends well into the surrounding landscape.
How to Build a Berm
Preparing the Site
A berm’s slope must be gentle enough to allow plants to grow or for it to be mowed if it is covered in grass. If the berm won’t be mowed, then prepare an area of ground as long as the intended berm and four times as wide as its intended height, which provides a 4-to-1 ratio for the slope. If, however, the berm will be planted with grass that will be mowed, then the slope ratio should be 5-to-1, which allows the grass to be mowed easily. For example, to build a 3-foot-high berm that won’t be mowed, create a base 12 feet wide. Remove large and woody plants from the area, and dig into the soil surface to break it up. Doing so allows the water to drain freely from the substrate, or lowest layer, into the ground beneath it.
Laying the Substrate
The berm’s substrate makes up about two-thirds or more of the berm’s depth, and it is laid in roughly the final shape of the berm. Regulations in some areas state that the entire substrate must be clay to provide stability for the berm; in other areas, though, it is legal to use gravel, rubble, asphalt and other inexpensive filler materials for the substrate. Pile the substrate along the center line of the berm, and shape it into the intended final form of the berm. Create an asymmetrical design to give the berm a pleasing, natural effect, such as using slopes that differ in steepness, placing the berm’s highest point on one side rather than in the center, and varying heights and curves.
Finishing the Construction
Clay and topsoil form the upper layers of a berm. Prevent the topsoil from washing into the substrate by spreading a 1-foot-thick layer of clay over the substrate, and firm it in place. Spread good-quality topsoil over the clay, making the topsoil layer the depth needed for the plants you intend for the site. A topsoil layer 5 or 6 inches deep supports grass and small perennial plants, and 9 inches is sufficiently deep for larger perennials and many woody shrubs. If you want to grow large shrubs or trees, spread a topsoil layer 12 to 18 inches deep. Smooth the topsoil to the desired form for the berm.
Maintaining the Structure
A berm must be covered in grass, other plants or mulch to prevent heavy rain from washing its topsoil down its slopes. Sow grass seeds or lay sod as soon as possible after creating a berm, or plant the desired plants. Cover bare soil between plants with a mulch that won’t run or wash down the slopes; such mulch includes shredded bark and other fine mulches made of long fibers. Berms are very well-drained. So grow plants that thrive in good drainage, and water them regularly so the soil stays moist until the plants are established and growing strongly.
Building A Berm: How Do I Make A Berm
Berms are an easy way to add interest to the landscape, especially those with dull, flat areas. Building a berm isn’t as complicated as one might think. By following a few simple guidelines in the design of your berm, landscape troubles can easily be eliminated. If you are wondering “How do I make a berm?” Read on for the answer.
Before building a berm, a landscape designer or yourself must first plan the berm design. Always consider the berm’s overall purpose beforehand as well as drainage patterns within the landscape. On average, a berm should be about four to five times as long as it is high, gradually trailing out into the remaining landscape.
Most berms are no higher than 18-24 inches (46-61 cm.). The berm design can be created with more than one peak for additional interest as well and shaped to perform its purpose. Many berms are given a crescent-looking or curved shape, which is more natural looking and preferable.
Building a Berm
Berms are oftentimes constructed using some kind of fill such as sand, plant debris, rubble or asphalt and soil. Simply use the fill material for the bulk of the berm, forming its shape around it with soil and firmly tamping.
To create the berm, outline its shape and dig any grass. Add the desired fill to the excavated area and begin packing around it with soil. Continue piling on the soil, tamping as you go, until reaching the desired height, carefully sloping it outward. The peak should be situated toward one end, rather than the center, for a more natural-looking appearance.
It may also help to spray water on the berm afterward to fill in any sinkholes that may be present. If desired, plants can be incorporated for additional interest.
Island Bed or Berm
Island beds and berms are very similar. In fact, some consider them much the same. Generally, an island bed floats alone in the landscape, whereas a berm essentially becomes a natural part of the landscape. Island beds are typically created for aesthetic reasons, while berms tend to serve a more functional purpose, such as redirecting drainage or adding raised elements.
Island beds can take on nearly any shape, from round to square. Berms tend to be curved. Size is also variable with island beds, but since these are viewed from all directions, they are usually half as wide as the distance from where they are viewed.
There are no special rules for building a berm. Landscape contours will determine much of the berm’s design, as the remainder lies with the property owner’s individual preferences and needs. The answer to “How do I make a berm” is as simple as that.
Early last Spring I woke up one morning and decided that what my yard needed was a berm. Most berms, or mounds, are designed for privacy to block an unwanted view of the street or a neighbor’s backyard. By creating a little hill and planting it with trees and other vegetation you can create a very attractive and effective screen. Fences are often used for this purpose too, but a berm is a more natural-looking solution.
In my case I was trying to create visual interest in a part of my yard that was dominated by two spruce trees that have been struggling to become established since I planted them 3 years ago. In addition, the trees sit in a low area of our yard and lots of weeds and even poisin ivy had started to take over. Rather than clear out the bad, I decided to bury it under a nice big pile of wood chips.
First I called my local supplier of mulch and top soil and asked them if they would deliver a truckload of woodchips, which they did. They were able to drop it right on the spot where I needed it. After grabbing my landscaper’s rake and putting on my favorite pair of leather garden gloves, I spread it evenly across the area (what a workout!) and realized I needed another truckload. After that was delivered I had enough chips to create a 2′ high berm over an area of approximately 20′ X 30′. I piled them in front of the trees and left the ground around the trunks undisturbed. Since the ground was low in that spot some of the chips just helped level the ground.
A more sensible approach is to use top soil because it is more stable than wood chips. The problem with a pile of wood chips is they are full of air and they will settle and sink, lowering the height of your berm. But wood chips are much easier to move around and I wanted to try different shapes to see what would look best from a few different vantage points. Next Spring I will probably have more wood chips (or top soil) delivered and shore up my berm again.
Once I had the shape in place I started planting a few shrubs and perennials. I selected 2 flowering weigela and a red chokeberry shrub to plant in front of my two spruces. As they get larger I will probably transplant them to another location, but this year they were the perfect screen to hide the thinnish lower branches of my spruces, while not blocking the sun which spruces need. In front of the shrubs I planted catmint nepata and basket of gold (aurinia) with its silvery leaves and bright yellow blossoms; and baptisia carolina which did not bloom this year. We have some lovely large rocks that form a gentle slope along one side of the berm and I uncovered them and swept them off with my little bonsai broom so they would become a focal point of the berm also.
Large boulders rise along one edge of the berm I also placed smaller rocks here and there for accents and created a rock garden where I planted a couple of smaller annuals such as dianthus.Rocks in our garden provide slope and natural interest
I left several hosta and ferns along the lower, shadier side of the mound. Left undisturbed, they thrived.
Since I did use wood chips, after digging a hole in the wood chips I had to fill the hole with top soil before dropping the plant in. Wood chips are acidic and would not have been a hospitable place for tiny roots. I may have to put in more top soil next spring to replenish what probably drained out this year. Although our berm is not as high as some (you can build up the earth higher if you want) we were happy with our berm solution because it accomplished the objective of creating visual interest in front of the two struggling spruces (which thrived in the dry heat we had this summer in our region), and burying some of the unwanted wild weeds that were taking over that low section of our yard. And since I own a garden glove company, I am always looking for projects that will give my gloves a workout. This was a good one!Hosta and Ferns were left on the low shady side of the bermBerm in context of yard in midsummerRunoff frustrates many homeowners, while the dirt, wood chips, grass clippings, and debris it scours from the yard can pollute public waters. So we’ve got two goals here: Divert the water to stop the damage to your property, and slow it down enough so that it percolates into the soil, rather than racing over it.
All of the following approaches will work well, depending on the situation.
BUILD A BERM, a small hill covered with grass or other plants that will divert runoff around what you want to protect. You’ll need to think about where the diverted water will flow, then consider what to plant. Grass is easy, until it’s time to mow it. A variety of other plantings might be easier to maintain and can help the berm blend into the landscape. The best brief guide I’ve seen is “Building Soil Berms,” available online from the University of Minnesota. If you’re looking for a reasonably quick fix to protect plantings and structures, a berm may be the best option.
ROUTE THE WATER INTO A DRY WELL. As the name suggests, this is a hole in the ground that remains dry most of the time. However, when water is flowing, it can be routed to the well by a swale or roof downspout. Dry wells are particularly helpful in a spot where downspouts are flooding a large paved area or when you’re coping with runoff from a large roof. Finally, you can dig a dry well in any low area where a big puddle tends to form.
GRADE BROAD SURFACES to direct runoff away from houses, sheds, barns, and patios. In most cases this requires a professional excavator or expensive rental equipment. But it’s almost always an essential step for correcting a flooded basement or crawlspace.
Intercept the Water >>>
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INTERCEPT THE WATER by using a swale, a shallow ditch with gently sloping sides. You can also use a French drain, a gravel-filled trench that may have a perforated pipe at the bottom. New products include the EZ-Drain, which consists of a perforated pipe and plastic beads encased in a tube of landscape fabric. The fabric surrounds the pipe like a sock and prevents dirt from infiltrating and filling up the pipe or the air spaces between the beads. Because French drains handle water that is moving not just over the soil but through it, they’re the best solution for keeping water out of a basement.
REPLACE IMPERMEABLE SURFACES such as concrete with permeable pavers and gravel. This can be expensive, but it’s worth considering, especially if you’re already replacing deteriorated asphalt or concrete.
A final word of advice is in order before you start swinging a pickax or renting a Bobcat loader. Many parts of the country are enacting strict rules about landscape modifications that affect groundwater, even on a small scale. While these regulations are more likely to apply if your house is close to a lake, stream, or seashore, it pays to check permit requirements no matter where you live.
It’s also smart to make use of your state’s One Call service before you dig. Dial 811 and you’ll be directed to your local One Call Center, which notifies utilities in your area of your intent to dig. These companies will send crews out to spray-paint or flag the location of buried utilities, such as telecom cables, gas lines, and sewers. You think runoff is a problem? Try rupturing a gas line.
Build the Perfect Pitcher’s Mound
A perfect pitcher’s mound gives your team a home field advantage and protects your players against injury. We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you build the perfect pitcher’s mound. Based on an article written by our expert for Sports Field Management magazine, here’s all the information you need to make your pitcher’s mound top of the game.
The Basic Dimensions
A pitcher’s mound for high school through Major League comprise a circle that is 18 feet in diameter and 10 inches higher than home plate. Note: That’s 10 inches higher than home plate and not the grass level.
Have the Tools at Hand
There are many methods for building a pitcher’s mound and this is the one our experts favor for its simplicity.
First, make sure you have the equipment and supplies needed:
- Plate compactor
- Hand tamp
- Landscape rake
- Carpenter’s level and carpenter’s square
- Hose and a water source nearby
- Professional block-type, four-way pitching rubber
- 100-foot tape measure (or laser)
- Steel spikes and string (or transit with laser)
- Wheelbarrow or utility vehicle
- Specialty packing clay
Pay Attention to the Clay
While most of the supplies listed above are fairly generic, the type of clay you use makes a difference in the construction and quality of your pitcher’s mound. Our experts prefer using two types of clay: a harder clay on the plateau and landing area of the mound and a regular infield mix clay for the sides and back of the mound.
The harder mix has more clay and is typically made up of 40 percent sand, 40 to 50 percent clay, and 10 to 20 percent silt. The infield mix is about 60 percent sand, 30 percent clay, and 10 percent silt. The bagged mound mixes you can buy from suppliers vary widely. Some of these mixes come partially moist, some are almost muddy, and others are dry as desert sand. Take note of this when you’re sourcing the clay for your pitcher’s mound. It’s best to use mound mixes that are heavy in clay and easy to work with.
You can also purchase bricks of harder clay. These come packaged moist and ready to go in the ground. It’s up to you if you’d rather go with the bricks or a bagged mix. Our experts prefer the bagged mix because they offer more flexibility when it comes to establishing moisture levels.
In terms of supplies, you’ll need about 8 to 10 tons of clay to build your mound, that’s 2 tons of the harder clay and 6 to 8 tons of the infield mix.
Set Your Distances and Heights
The most accurate way to set your distances and heights is to use a transit with a laser. If this isn’t possible, you can also run string between steel spikes and use a bubble level clipped on to the string. The third alternative is to build and use a slope board.
Get the Proper Orientation
Start by mapping out the proper orientation for your pitcher’s mound. You’ll want the line from home plate through the pitcher’s mound to second base to run east-northeast. This ensures the batter won’t be looking into the sun while facing the pitcher.
As you get ready to construct the mound, use the transit and laser (or string lines) to ensure home plate, the pitcher’s mound, and second base are accurately aligned and that everything is square.
Major League Baseball (MLB) regulations call for the distance from the back of the home plate to the front of the pitching rubber to be 60 feet and 6 inches. As mentioned previously, a typical pitcher’s mound is 18 feet in diameter with the center of the mound 18 inches in front of the pitching rubber. That makes the measurement from the back of the home plate to the center of the pitcher’s mound 59 feet.
Note: Often, the rubber is accidentally placed in the center of the pitcher’s mound. Be careful with your measurements and don’t fall into this trap. Also, protect any grass already in place with geotextile and plywood while you’re building the mound.
Now you’re ready to begin.
Make the Measurements
If you’re using a string line, place one steel spike behind the pitching rubber location and one a little beyond home plate. Put a pin at the 59-foot point in the center of the mound area and stretch a 9-foot line out from it, moving it all around the pin to mark the outer line of the 18-foot circle.
Leave the pin in the center and place a second pin where the pitching rubber will be. Mark this pin at 10 inches above home plate.
Bring in the Clay
Start bringing in the clay to form the base of the mound. It’s important to establish the right moisture content within the clay mix. The desired consistency should be a bit drier than that of Play-Doh® when it first comes out of the can.
Lay the Levels and Build the Sub-Base
Build the mound in 1-inch levels, establishing the desired degree of moisture in each one to ensure each level adheres to the next. Use a tamp to compact each level as you build. To make it easier to tamp down each level, put down plastic or wrap the tamp with a towel or piece of landscape fabric to keep it from sticking to the clay.
Make sure the hard clay used to build the plateau and landing area is at least 6 to 8 inches deep. Do not add soil conditioner between these layers as it will keep them from bonding together. Check the height measurement with every lift of the clay by using the transit and laser or the string line.
Construct the Plateau
When you’ve built up the sub-base with hard clay at the 60-foot-6-inch area to a 10-inch height, you can start constructing the plateau. This should be 5-feet wide by 34-inches deep. As noted earlier, make sure the pitching rubber is positioned 60 feet and 6 inches from the back of the home plate. Now, ensure that it’s set firmly in place and is level across the length and width with the top surface 10 inches above the level of home plate.
Reconfirm your measurements: Draw a centerline through the pitching rubber and run a string from home plate to second base to confirm the pitching rubber is centered properly.
Once the pitching rubber is in place and the plateau completed, you can begin to build the slope toward the front of the mound.
Build the Mound Slope
Providing a firm, consistent platform on which the pitcher can execute a pitch and transition easily to other bases can help prevent injury. Begin the slope 6 inches in front of the toe plate, creating a drop of 1 inch for every foot of measurement. Double-check the accuracy of the slope using the transit and laser or the string line.
To create a firm platform for the pitcher, use the harder mound clay to create the pie-shaped front slope of the mound. Use the same method of clay mix, water, and tamping, working in 1-inch increments.
Use the infield mix to construct the rest of the mound. Using the same layering process described earlier, begin working from the back edge of the plateau. Use the edge of the slope board or wooden plank, positioning the top edge on the back of the plateau area and the other edge of the board on the edge of the grass to guide the degree of slope for the back and sides of the mound. If you’re using a plank, be sure the board is turned on its side so the mound supports its 2-inch side.
Looking at the mound from the front as a clock face, the area you’re working on is basically from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On the back, you’ll want to create a smooth area so that the side section precisely meets the edge of the pie-shaped wedge that makes up the front of the mound. Upon completion, the mound should look like a continuous circle with no indication that different materials were used in its construction.
Here’s the math: The dimensions, working from the outer edges of the 5-foot by 34-inch plateau make the back and side segments a perfect fit. They tie into the wedge with the 1-inch to 1-foot drop of the front slope that begins 6 inches in front of the pitching rubber.
Add the Finishing Touches
Once the mound is completed, top it with 1/8-inch layer of infield conditioner so it won’t stick to the tamp. Next, cover the mound with a tarp and keep it covered to prevent it from drying out and cracking.
Play Ball and Perform Regular Maintenance
Now that you’ve built the perfect pitcher’s mound, the only work is the easy, but ongoing management of moisture levels as you repair the mound after every practice and game.
Add berm landscaping to your garden design by building a berm or landscape mounds is an easy and attractive way to add interest to your yard especially in flat areas.
What is a berm?
Building a berm or mound isn’t as complicated as many would think. By following simple guidelines in the design of the landscape mounds and berms, many garden troubles can be eliminated with ease.
If you’re one of those wondering “How do I make Landscape Mounds and Berms?” read on to get an answer.
Landscape Berms And Mounds Ideas – Design
Before building landscape berms or mounds, a landscape designer should first plan its design. You can also design it for yourself. Always consider the mound’s overall purpose in advance as well as the drainage patterns within your landscape. One “purpose” could be a spill containment berm.
On average a garden berm or mound should be about four to five times longer than its height, progressively streaming out into the remaining landscape.
Most landscape berms have a height of 18-24 inches. The berm design can have more than one peak to give it an added interest as well as shape to perform its purpose.
Most of the berms are given a curved or crescent-looking shape, which is preferable and natural looking.
Related Reading: 37 Landscape Edging Ideas
How To Build A Berm Or Landscape Mounds
Dirt berms are often constructed using fill material such as plant debris, sand, asphalt, soil, or rubble. Use the fill materials to fill the major part of the berm, forming its shape around it using soil. Firmly tamp the fills to ensure compactness.
The LandscapingNetwork has this Pro Tip:
When grading mounds near existing trees and shrubs, never alter the grade nor disturb soil within a tree’s drip line. Also be sure the berm will not interfere with water that has previously supported the life and health of the tree.
The Following are the Items You’ll Need to Have When Building Landscape Mounds and Berms
- Graph paper
- Landscaping spray paint
- Garden hoses
- Clay soil
- Fill material dirt
- Boulders and flagstones (optional)
- Shredded bark mulch
- Various plants
The Following Ten Tips of Building Landscape Mounds and Berms Will Guide You Better
Sketch The Landscape Berm Design To Scale On A Graph Paper Beforehand
Having a sketch of the berm to scale will help you become aware of the area the berm will occupy so that you can know whether you have enough room to build it.
Whats some of the best plants for berms?
Berms meant to showcase trees should take a horizontal slope of 5-7 feet with 1-foot height from the base while those meant to showcase small plants can do well on a steep slope of 3-4 feet in length with a height of 1 foot.
The peak of your berm should be designed to occupy one end instead of taking the center position. Also, the top of the berm should be flat to prevent water run off to the sides of the slope.
Be creative with the design, such that your berm has multiple peaks, undulant conical edges, or even crescent shape, rather than the perfect oval design
Put Down Your Layout Plan
Lay out the berm design on the ground using the garden hose; garden hoses are preferred because they flex easily and also help to achieve perfect curves to layout an island bed and also offer flexibility in the design.
After you’re content with the shape of the berm, transfer it to the lawn using a landscaping spray paint.
Remove The Turf Layer In The Marked Lawn
Use your spade to remove the turf clutter so that the marked turf is now ready for refilling. Curve it with grass, if possible, so that you can be able to see your design as you fill it up with dirt.
Fill The Area With Clean Dirt To Build Up The Berm
Use a garden hose to spray the mound so as to moisten the soil and then tamp it tightly. The fill dirt should take up about half of the total height of your berm. The remaining part should be filled with top soil.
Fill The Remaining Few Inches With Clay Soil
Depending on the height of your berm, cover up the fill dirt with 1 foot of clay soil. Any other correction in the berm design should be made using clay soil.
Clay soil is preferred as it compresses well and it’s not likely to be eroded by runoff water.
Add Top Soil Over The Clay Layer
Bulk up the remaining height of your berm using topsoil; this will provide nutrients for your vegetation.
Use A Shovel To Flatten The Top Soil Of Your Berm So That It Can Take A Good Shape
Drag the topsoil using a bow rake down to the outlines of the berm to achieve significant slope and smooth edges. Compress the top soil especially on the sides of the hill to ensure that it’s compact.
Naturalize Your Berm
Place large boulders and flagstones throughout the grass berm to give it a more natural outlook. Bury one-third of the stone height to hold them firmly in the soil simply to make them appear as natural features on the hill.
Plant Your Vegetation
Plant the vegetation of your choice be it trees, perennial and annual flowers, groundcovers and shrubs on the berm so that they can establish roots to anchor the soil, especially on the sides of the slope.
Plant the short plants at the peak of your berm; this will make them more visible. You can have several trees at the top of your berm as well, but plant them in an irregular pattern so that they can look natural.
Plant the groundcovers at the slope of your berm to help preserve the soil from being eroded.
Add Mulch Around The Plants
Add a 2-3 inches film of mulch around the plants on your berm; use mulches with uneven shapes to prevent erosion. Shredded barks can make good mulch as they interlock to resist washing down the slope.
The Bottom Line
There are no specific rules for building a berm. The landscape outlines will dictate much of the berm or mound’s design as the rest lies with the owner’s needs and preferences. Be creative and unique.
Tips for building good irrigation berms
When irrigating, it is important not to let the water run off your property and go to waste. Water loss frequently occurs because a berm is too low to contain the flow or the water pressure has weakened the berm and created an opening.
Generally, your berms should be twice the height of the amount of the water you are receiving.
The following tips can help improve your berms and prevent water loss and waste:
- Shovel dirt on the berm area needing repair.
- Mist the dirt with a fine spray of water, and then pack the dirt down gently with a shovel, a roller or your feet.
- Repeat the process until your berm is high and solid enough to contain all the water ordered within your property boundaries.
- Spread grass seed along the berm to help prevent soil erosion.
If you need extra dirt, construction sites and pool companies are a good place to ask for excess available dirt for your use.
If you do not wish to build or repair the berms yourself, an irrigation contractor may be able to assist.
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