Creating Berms in a Landscape Design
Why not try creating berms in your next landscape design? Great for low-lying areas in backyards or wet, swampy areas, which never seem to dry out.
Jim and I love a rolling, hilly landscape and on the prairies...well it's flat. Ergo, we decided to bring in truck loads of clean fill (dirt) and wheelbarrow most of it to the backyard in anticipation of creating our own hilly, bermed landscape.
And, besides enjoying a hilly landscape, certain portions of our backyard were low lying and always filling up with rain water so this made perfect sense.
Clean fill can be purchased through local gardening supply stores, garden centres or from ads placed in local newspapers. Many advertisements are for 'free fill' so check around. Just make sure that it is 'clean' meaning that the fill does not contain large stones, bricks, tar shingles or other garbage.
The image on the right sends shivers down my spine. It was the 8th such pile. We had already hauled 7 piles of clean fill to the backyard to start the berming process. Well, not me personally but my husband Jim and his helpers did the heavy hauling.
This 8th pile of fill was left at this very spot to help raise the level of the front lawn.
The image on the right is the 'after' image. We moved, raked and rolled the fill into place, added a layer of 5-way mix soil and then laid the fresh sod.
I filled in the spaces between the sod pieces with soil and Jim rolled the sod. Unless it rains, watering every day is most important.
Process of berming the backyard...
Short video showing Samantha (our daughter) raking out the fill that was wheeled to the backyard from the front driveway. We wanted a center path in between the 2 side berms, so it was important to rake smooth (as best you can) the pathway area.
Using the same orange contractor spray paint, (visit My Garden Design Page for information on the paint) outline your berming area.
You can skip this step, but we found it helpful for our 'helpers' to see the outline and know where exactly to dump the wheelbarrows of fill.
Begin to dump the fill on the entire outline perimeter.
The images below show a before and after shot of the dirt berm and then covered with sod. This image view is looking towards the waterfall, away from the house.
Once the perimeter of the outline is covered with the fill you begin the next section working your way inwards of the outline perimeter.
The images below are again a before and after shot but this time the image is from the opposite direction, showing a view towards the house, away from the waterfall.
Caution: As you dump the fill, leave yourself an open middle path section. This allows you to maneuver the wheelbarrow. The open middle section (just like in the image below) is the last to be filled in unless you want to create a path (like we did) with a berm on either side of the path.
We created this path to give access to the back portion of our property and to my garden house.
Pathways can be created using many different elements: stone blocks, concrete, paving stones, colored gravel, limestone or wood chips, Unless your garden is formal, I like using a small colored bark chips or a colored gravel (very economical).
Wood chips come in various colors and sizes and dry very quickly after a rain. Should seeds/weeds sprout within the bark, simply rake the chips and the sprouts pull out quick and easy...and no, it doesn't fly with the wind. Just remember to first lay down either sheets (several sheet thick) of newspaper or landscape fabric.
Crushed red stone is another option. It does not track dust but it is more expensive than bark.
It seems like a lot of work, but well worth the effort.
The image below is the water roller. There is a side plug and all you need is a garden hose to fill the container. This roller becomes VERY heavy so be prepared to use your muscles. Rolling the sod is an important step and not to be missed. The sod needs to be flattened evenly or you will get lumps and bumps instead of a smooth flat lawn. Rolling also helps the sod make contact with the 5 way soil mix.
The above view shows the completed berm with the mulched pathway running through the center. Below is an image of the water roller used to flatten the sod.
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Related pages:Go to Backyard Berm Page
Go to 2009 Annuals
Go to 2009 Perennials Page
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