What Projects a Handyman Can Help You With

Shotcrete And Erosion Prevention

by Harry Martin

Building your home on an incline can create dramatic vistas, but placing the weight of a home on an unstable slope will only increase the risk of erosion. If you have your heart set on a million dollar view, then you should take steps to stabilize the slope around your home. This will likely require the use of mini piles and shotcrete. 

How Mini Piles Help to Stop Erosion

Plants will help to stabilize a slope because their root structure will help to keep soil in place. Depending on the type of plant, this network of roots can extend clear through the top soil and may even penetrate into the underlying bedrock. Artificial methods can be used to similar effect. Mini piles are metal rods that are either driven or screwed into the ground. A landscape engineer will have to run studies on the soil in the slope in question to determine what distance and pattern should be used when driving piles into the ground. Once in place, these piles should mimic the way that roots work to prevent a slope from sliding. 

How Shotcrete Stabilizes a Slope

As soil becomes saturated due to massive amounts of rain or run-off after a heavy winter, the soggy soil can become so waterlogged that it sloughs away. Even with piles in place, soil can get so soupy that it overwhelms the piles. Thus, for the best erosion prevention, workers can cover the slope with a layer of shotcrete, which is a special mix of concrete that is sprayed onto the slope in question with a special apparatus. Once in place, the shotcrete will allow water to run off before it has a chance to saturate the underlying soil. You could build a system of retaining walls to terrace the slope behind your house, but trying to get equipment in place to pour concrete or place boulders to create walls represents a prohibitive cost. 

You might think that a yard covered with shotcrete will create an awful aesthetic for your home, but skilled workers can color the concrete and create texture to mimic the look of rock. Thus, rather than creating the impression that your home was built on a ginormous concrete slab, the shotcrete will make it look like you built your home on a slab of rock. Even this may not be enough to please a fastidious homeowner, but the truth is that a stable slope is more important than an aesthetically pleasing slope, so you will have to decide whether you want to risk the slope below your home sloughing away or whether you can put up with a shotcreted slope. 

For soil erosion products, contact a company such as Branch Corner Supply