Heavy rainfall over the past few weeks shattered all-time May records, swelling rivers to record levels in parts of Oklahoma. Now that the flooding risk has decreased, many neighborhoods are beginning to survey damage and pick up debris; however, a new risk may emerge in your yard without warning. It may be time to take a step outside and look to see if soil erosion has occurred.
Soil erosion is a common foundational issue many homeowners face. You don’t have to live in an area that sees a lot of rainfall to be affected by this problem. Soil erosion can be just as much of a problem for homes on a flatter foundation in addition to a home on a slope. It’s beneficial to think ahead and make some changes around your home to limit the chance for a more serious problem arising in the future.
Make sure that you have the appropriate gutters and downspouts, ensuring that the water is being moved quickly and efficiently. Ideally, the appropriate system moves the water five to 10 feet away from your home depending on the type of soil surrounding your home. Consider installing a French drain system. This can be a fairly cost effective way to ensure that rainwater is being redirected from your home.
Wind and water are the two main causes of erosion. Bare soil will undoubtedly be swept away when the rains come. Plant cover will keep the soil together and will eliminate major erosion from occurring. Consider planting ornamental grass or low, spreading shrubs. Adding mulch or rocks will also help ensure the soil isn’t washed away and will keep seeds or plants protected as to not be washed away with the rainwater. Mulch and rocks can also help reduce the amount of rainwater runoff by helping absorb the water or at the very least slow it down substantially. At the very least adding mulch to your yard will help keep the soil intact.
A more expensive option some may want to look into is building a retaining wall for the more difficult areas of your property or around your yard. This project certainly has room for different options and designs which then allows for all budgets to take advantage.
Lastly, erosion can cause for some unfortunate tripping hazards. Cracked sidewalks and walkways are the most common. If you address the cracks in the concrete early enough, you or a loved one should be able to patch them yourself fairly easily. Depending on the severity and amount of cracks in your walk way, it may be time for a professional to come in and fix it.
Eliminating this major potential fall is a smart decision and can help protect you in the long run. Proper repairs will not only protect the individual but will also help last. If you are unsure who to call we recommend you reach out to our Resource Coordinator Sue Lee for a list of licensed contractors that can help you.
Frank Danel is the facility manager for Elder Care in Bartlesville.