Save Your Soil! How to Stop Soil Erosion

Are you spending time and money to build up the soil of your garden only to watch it wash away when the rains come? Whether you are buying soil amendments or making your own compost to build up the quality of your garden’s soil, it gets expensive. Is your garden in an open spot of your property that resembles a dust bowl on windy days? Finding out how to stop soil erosion in your garden becomes easy when you identify the cause of the vanishing soil.

Wasteland soil erosion

Wasteland by Fabian Schmidt via CC BY-SA 2.0

Wind or water soil erosion?

Simply put, soil erosion occurs when water washes away soil from where you need it to keep plants happy and healthy. Have you ever watered a potted plant and had water and soil spill over the rim of the pot? Then you have seen water erode soil on a small level. But it is similar to what is happening in your landscape. Soil can also be eroded by wind and the effects of wind eroding soil are often not seen because it happens slower than with water. Severe cases of soil erosion will require the help of landscape architects, but stopping soil erosion in a small garden is a task that can be completed by the average homeowner, too.

Easy ways to stop soil erosion

The best way to prevent soil erosion is to improve the structure of your soil by amending the soil with compost. Soil with a good structure will allow water to seep down into the ground and roots of plants instead of running off.

Mulching around your plants and garden beds will help prevent the soil from being washed away. Yes, even raised beds and container gardens benefit from being mulched. Not only does mulching keep moisture in the soil, but it helps keep soil in place.

Planting the right kinds of plants will also help reduce the severity of soil erosion. You can plants trees and shrubs around property lines to create windbreaks that keep the soil in your garden from being blown away. Cover crops, perennials and plants with robust fibrous root systems will all help to keep soil in check. Creating a border of plants around your garden beds will help retain soil in your beds.


Stopping soil erosion in your garden can be as simple as installing rain barrels that catch and divert water from running into your garden and washing away soil, plants and seeds. Non-porous surfaces around homes and gardens, like driveways and patios, are culprits of soil erosion. The best way to deal with them is either by collecting the water or by pointing your downspouts away from the garden.

Learning how to stop soil erosion can also involve learning new gardening techniques, like no-dig gardens. The constant tilling and turning over of soil is a big cause of soil erosion, and on top of it being rather laborious, it is unnecessary.

Stop soil erosion by amending your soil, protect your soil by mulching heavily, and plant more plants whose roots help keep soil and nutrients in place. Trees and shrubs can be an attractive solution to preventing soil erosion, but they can also be functional. There’s no need to plant some yews when you can plant shrubs like berries that produce an edible crop.

For large pieces of land, like farms, you may need to consult a professional, but you can stop soil erosion easily in your garden by employing plants and diverting water.

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