You can create several mini-gardens in your backyard. On steep slopes, terracing can make planting a garden possible. Terraces prevent erosion by shortening the long slope into a series of shorter, more level steps. This allows heavy rains to soak into the soil rather than run off and cause erosion.
Terracing saves soil, makes better use of water, and beautifies a landscape.
MATERIALS FOR TERRACES
There are in fact serveral materials available for building terraces. Treated wood is often used because of serveral advantages. It is easy to work with, blends well with plants, and is often less expensive than other materials. Other materials would include bricks, rocks, concrete blocks, and similar masonry materials. Some masonry materials are made specifically for walls and terraces and can be more easily installed by a homeowner than other materials such as field stone and brick. Most stone or masonry products tend to be more expensive than wood.
HEIGHT OF WALLS
The steepness of the slope often will determine the wall height. Make the terraces in your yard high enough so the land between them is fairly level. Be sure the terrace material is strong enough and anchored well enough to stay in place through freezing andf thawing, and heavy rainstorms. Do not under estimate the pressure of water-logged soil behind a wall. It can be enormous and cause improperly constructed walls to bulge or collapse. Many communities have building codes for walls and terraces. Large projects will need the expertise of a professional to make sure the walls can stand up to water pressure in the soil.
If terraces are beyond the limits of your time or money, you may want to consider other options for backyard slopes. If you have a slope that is hard to mow, consider using groundcovers other than grass. There are many plants adapted to a wide range of light and moisture conditions that require and moisture conditions that require little care, but provide soil erosion protection. These include: Juniper, Pachysandra, Wintercreeper, English Ivy, Periwinkle, Cotoneaster, Potentilla, Partridge berry, Heathers and Heaths.
ON THE FARM
Terraces catch runoff water, let the water soak into the ground, and deliver the excess safely to the bottom of a hillside much like evaespouts on a house. The earthen ridges built around a hillside on the contour cut a long slope into shorter slopes, preventng water from building to a highly erosive force. etc.
BUILDING A TERRACE
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BUILDING TERRACES IN YOUR BACKYARD OR ON YOUR PROPERTY, WE HAVE DIRECTIONS FOR THIS PROCEEDURE HERE AT THE BAXTER COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT... YOU MAY PICK THEM UP ANYTIME OFFICE OURS ARE OPEN...