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New Construction

More often than not, soil will be without grass, trees, shrubs, and other plants at some time during construction. Without this protective vegetation, storms can move the soil into your neighbor's yard, clog storm drains and streams, and carry pesticides and nutrients into the water.

During Construction
  • Cover a bare area with mulch, such as straw, grass clippings, stones, wood chips, and other protective cover.
  • On steeper slopes, you should cover the mulch with burlap netting for extra protection. Vegetated and mulched areas increase water filtration into the soil, reducing erosive runoff water.
  • The key during and after construction is to control the concentrated flow of water. Watch where water runs off during storms. These are the areas of concentrated flow that need to be protected.
  • Act on what you learned by keeping grass in the channel on gentle slopes and lining the channel with stones or pavement on steep slopes.
After Construction
  • If the area you are building in has a steep slope, build terraces or steps made of logs or old railroad ties across the slope to divert water away from slopes and prevent soil erosion.
  • Between the steps, spread a thick layer of wood chips to protect the soil.
  • If the slope is gentle, seeding grass may be enough.
  • Use splash guards on gutter outlets to help reduce erosion at the foundation of your home.
Landscaping
  • Select plants that grow well in your area and are suitable for the climate conditions in your yard (sunny/shaded areas or wet/dry soil).
  • Plant ground covers, such as English Ivy and Asian Jasmine, in shaded areas where grass is difficult to establish and maintain.
  • Consult your local nursery for ground covers that grow well in your area. Ask about landscaping plants that mimic nature and consume little water.
Aesthetics

Plant windbreaks of trees or shrubs to reduce soil loss from blowing wind and also to provide habitat and shelter for wildlife. Windbreaks reduce the wind around your home and serve as a sight and sound barrier.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
www.usda.gov