What are Berms?
Berm is a type of land cover that helps to filter stormwater runoff from roofs and streets into sewers or rivers. Berm provides natural protection against erosion, keeps soil moisture stable, prevents flooding and protects homes from landslides. A berm can also prevent soil erosion when it’s built close to the ground surface.
How To Build A Berm?
There are several ways to construct a berm. You can use rocks, earth or concrete blocks. The most common way is using rock, which is used to form a barrier around your garden area. Another method is using dirt or sand mixed with gravel and then covered with soil. Finally, you can build a wall out of bricks and mortar, but these materials tend to be heavy and expensive to transport.
Types Of Berm
Rock Berm – Rock is usually the easiest material to dig a trench through. However, it tends to crack easily if not properly maintained.
If there is any kind of wind blowing, the cracks will widen and cause damage to your garden. Also, digging a trench through rock requires more labor than other types of berm.
Dirt Berm – Unlike rock, dirt can be easily shaped into any size or shape. You can create a berm that looks exactly like an earthen dam.
It might be a little more expensive than using rock, but the overall cost is lower and it is more convenient to work with.
Concrete Berm – Concrete is another popular choice for building a berm. A concrete berm can be designed to look like a natural rock formation.
You can build a berm that is more stable, stronger and longer-lasting than other types. However, it also tends to be very expensive because you need to create a concrete foundation before building the berm.
Landscape Berm – Landscape berms are used to redirect water from sprinklers, rainwater and surface runoff water. It’s a good way to prevent these sources of water from damaging or flooding your home or property.
Landscape berms are best used around the base of a house where the ground is more likely to erode.
Why You Need A Berm?
A berm is a cost effective flood control solution that can prevent thousands of dollars of flood damage to your home or business. It can also be built in a few days by a professional contractor and requires no special permits to install. A landscape berm is effective because it directs water from one location to another. It also eliminates the need for a drainage pipe, which can often present a clogging hazard and is unsightly.
How To Plant Berms With Native Plants?
Planting a berm with native plants will make your garden not only more practical, but also much more beautiful and entertaining. Native plants are those that originally grew in an area before it was developed. Native plants have adapted to the climate, require less maintenance and are more attractive to local wildlife. You can get native plants from a nursery or if you’re lucky you might find some growing in your own backyard.
Building A Berm For A Pond?
You can build a berm to direct water away from your house and then channel it into a man-made pond. This kind of berm works well both for drainage and as a base for a pond. If you want to make a simple water feature on your property, a pond is a great way to add visual appeal and local wildlife. It’s also relatively easy to construct if you’re willing to do the digging yourself.
Green Roof Berm?
A green roof berm is used to grow grass, flowers and other plants on the top of a berm. A green roof provides shade for those living in hot climates. It can also be used to prevent water from running off the top of the berm and onto the sides where it could cause flooding. By infiltrating the water into the soil, you can prevent it from draining out of the area completely.
A green roof is more work to maintain than a regular lawn, but if you’re handy with grass and plants you won’t mind putting in the extra effort.
Tips To Building A Berm?
If you want to build a berm in your yard, here are some things you should consider:
1. Check with your city or county offices to see if you need a permit to build a berm
2. Make sure the area you choose for the berm won’t become flooded when it rains
3. If you’re building a concrete berm, check with local suppliers for cost and availability
4. If you’re building a wooden berm, you’ll need to make sure it’s anchored properly
5. Check with local nurseries or garden supply stores for native plants that will grow well in your area
6. Make sure the plants you plant are hardy and can withstand the weather conditions of your area
How To Maintain A Berm?
Maintaining a berm is fairly easy. You should perform routine checks to make sure it’s intact and that there are no signs of erosion. Any problems should be repaired immediately to avoid larger issues in the future.
To prevent water buildup you should also clear any leaves or debris from the top of the berm after it rains. This will also help prevent fungus or mold from developing on the surface, which can weaken the integrity of the soil and cause erosion.
If the plants on top of your berm stop flourishing or begin to die you may need to re-plant them or add soil. Adding more soil to the top of the berm can also help prevent water from running off and causing flooding in other areas of your property.
If you need to re-plant your berm, native plants are a good choice. Be sure to choose plants that can survive in your climate and that will thrive in shady environments.
Ask the staff at the garden center for suggestions.
Berm Maintenance Costs?
The cost of maintaining a berm is relatively low. You may need to buy a few bags of topsoil once in a while to add to the top of the berm if plants need to be re-planted. Other than that, you should only need to buy seed for the plants themselves and flowers if you want to grow those on your berm.
The cost of building a berm will depend on the size of the area you’re covering and what materials you decide on using. It can cost as little as a few hundred dollars or up into the thousands if you have it custom built with concrete.
Material Type Price Per Yard Metal $40 – $60 Concrete $150 – $200 Stone Varies Pre-Fab Wooden $100 – $200+
Is It Worth It?
That depends on how much you value your landscaping and yard area. If you want to add an extra barrier of protection to your home, then definitely.
Sources & references used in this article:
Sacred earthen architecture in the northern southwest: The Bluff Great House berm by CM Cameron – American Antiquity, 2002 – JSTOR
Operation 15: Berm Structures and Water Management at Medicinal Trail (RB 62), Belize by D Muldoon – 2020 – atrium.lib.uoguelph.ca
Landscape design for energy efficiency by EE Gill, RM Trachman, F Valdez – … Reports from the …, 2009 – repositories.lib.utexas.edu
Soil properties of soil materials in copper mine tailing disposal berms by MT Haque, L Tai, D Ham – 2004 – tigerprints.clemson.edu
Evaluating the effectiveness of weep berm systems for treating runoff from a horse muck composting operation by KL Ludeke – 1972 – repository.arizona.edu
Functional response of plant assemblages to management practices in road–field boundaries by RL Guffey – 2012 – uknowledge.uky.edu
Front yard America: the evolution and meanings of a vernacular domestic landscape by C Chaudron, R Perronne… – Applied Vegetation …, 2018 – Wiley Online Library
Landscape Grading: A Study Guide for the LARE Grading Examination by FEH Schroeder – 1993 – books.google.com