Pear Street is a well designed community of homes in Rome, Georgia. The street runs along the top of a hill overlooking one of the rivers flowing through the wonderful North Georgia town.
And, all was well on Pear Street until they removed a sitting deck at the end of a walkway and noticed that there was an erosion problem that needed to be solved. I was called in to study and fix the problem. I noticed that the erosion problem started with a walkway that was slanted toward the hillside. It seemed to me that this walkway was acting like a riverbed and funneling all of the water down to the problem area.
I went to the end of the walkway and looked at the eroded area. I really couldn’t get a good picture because nothing I did showed the bank as steep and nasty as it was. An engineer had suggested a retaining wall, but I couldn’t see how we would be able to put in a serious footing, and if we did do a wall the cost would have been outrageous. There was absolutely no way to get machinery to the project, either. It called for all hand work.
I thought about it for a few weeks. I came up with “Johntheplantman’s three principles of erosion control”
1.Capture and redirect the water
2.Fill and re shape the eroded surface
3.Provide sustainabilty for the surface to prevent further erosion.
The first step was to catch and redirect the water coming from the walkway. We used a concrete base and installed a drain strip which is similar to a catch basin. The strip hinges in the middle and it is installed with a slight drop toward the outer edges. Four inch black drain pipe was fastened to the outer edges of the catch basin and the pipe was buried to the sides of the wash. This would take the water from the walkway out to the sides and down to the ditch at the bottom of the hill.
A ten yard truckload of compost was wheel barrowed in and spread over the washed out area. We packed it as well as possible. Footing on the hillside was precarious.
One of the best coverings for erosion prevention is Curlex which consists of wood shavings enclosed in a plastic netting. I refer to it as an erosion blanket. The material is available in hundred foot rolls and is made to be laid out on a hillside. I’m sure that you have seen it used on highway construction projects. Grass seed is normally used along with this material, but I had other plans.
The Curlex is fastened to the ground with sod staples
And the covered site looked like this:
The Curlex in place will last a year or two before rotting which will give a ground cover time to become established over the erosion site. Since the site was in a shady location and also because maintenance would be difficult, I decided to use one of my favorite ground covers—vinca minor. We planted clumps of the vinca on 16 inch centers by poking a hole through the Curlex and planting into the compost below. The vinca will rapidly spread and hold the soil in place.
Adding a rock border and a bit of pine straw at the top of the hill gave the finished project a nice look and there should be no more problems
The John the plant man articles are brought to you by John P. Schulz, author of Requiem for a Redneck
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