How To Build Landscaping Berms for Privacy: All You Need To Know 

Are you tired of your neighbors’ peeping but don’t want something as stark as a fence around your home? Then, building a landscape berm for privacy is your best option. Berms not only create privacy but also highlight small plants, enhancing your landscape’s appearance. But how do I build landscaping berms?

You can build landscaping berms by digging up the soil on the building spot and packing the hole with filler material like rubble, asphalt, or gravel. Afterward, top up with clay and topsoil to your desired height and place the plants. Lastly, add mulch to prevent erosion. 

This post describes building a landscaping berm and gives crucial tips to remember. It also lists the requirements and describes other advantages of landscaping berms. Additionally, we’ve taken the time to explain why your berm is falling.  

What Will You  Need To Build a Landscaping Berm? 

Before you build your landscaping berm, you must identify all that you’ll need to make the process effortless. The requirements include: 

  • Wheelbarrow 
  • Garden hose 
  • Tamper tool 
  • Spade 
  • Rake 
  • Boulders 
  • Clay soil 
  • Topsoil 
  • Edging material 
  • Fill (gravel or rubble) 
  • Plants 

Tips on Building a Landscape Berm for Privacy 

Although building a landscaping berm is straightforward, there are tips you should remember to attain the best results. They include: 

Using Edging Materials 

Although boulders and edging materials are optional, they are crucial when building landscaping berms. Edging ensures your berm doesn’t suffer erosion regardless of the weather conditions.

Embedding boulders on the berm’s sides will reduce the amount of topsoil you use and enhance the berm’s appearance. 

Adding the Right Fills 

To create the berm’s shape, you can use fills such as rubble, asphalt, sand, and plant debris.

Ensure you use the appropriate option that will hold the berm’s weight. Otherwise, your structure will fall after some time. 

Constructing Drainage 

It’s advisable you build a drainage system around the berm, as these structures hinder the landscape’s water flow.

You could build culverts or dig swales through the berm to make way for the water. However, consider discussing this with a professional drainage engineer if building a tall or steep berm. 

Adding Mulch

Always add a fresh layer of mulch to finish off your berm. This is important as it insulates the soil and slows down the water flow, promoting growth.

Shredded wood is perfect because it’s less noticeable than other options like kitchen scraps. 

Measuring Dirt or Soil 

Dirt thickness should match your vegetation choice. Small plants require six to twelve inches of soil to grow and flourish.  Always use clay soil as the second layer and topsoil for the top layer to promote growth. 

How Do I Build Landscaping Berms for Privacy? 

To start building, create the berm’s shape using a garden hose. You could make a curve or any other sinuous shape to make the berm’s appearance natural. Keep the length four to six times the width’s size and evaluate the design before settling. 

Determine the berm’s slope. The slope’s gradient shouldn’t exceed a width-to-depth ratio of 5:1. This is crucial to prevent runoffs, mowing difficulties, and erosion. Use specialized plants and erosion control tricks if you prefer deeper slopes. 

Dig lightly around the berm’s path you created using the spade. This will help you have a firmer grip on the soil inside the mark. Afterward, dig out all the sod or dirt inside the outline to leave a hole or excavation. 

Make a base using your desired fill. If you intend on building a steep berm, use clay soil, as its chances of collapsing are slim compared to other soil types like loam. Gravel is also a good option if you have a low budget.  

Use a wheelbarrow to dump the fill in the hole and shape it according to the shape of the berm, leaving a thirty centimeters margin on all edges. Rake the filler to get a smooth finish and make the measurements right. 

Add a layer of clay soil and tamp it down to eliminate any air spaces. Then, add topsoil, following the same procedure, and spread it out using a rake. Ensure you fill the space you left out when placing the filler too. Remember, the clay soil thickness depends on the size of your plants and preference. 

Finally, place your plants on the berm. Plant trees together with shrubs to create a lawn on the berm. You should follow a pattern that doesn’t hinder walking and mowing. Then, add mulch to the vegetation to prevent erosion.   

Other Reasons for Building Landscaping Berms 

Aside from providing privacy, landscaping berms have other benefits.

First, berms are the perfect solution if your area has poor soil. All you have to do is add rich soil to your structure’s top layer to get healthy plants.  

Landscaping berms will help you highlight the small plants in your landscape. Placing plants on a berm increases their height, making them more visible, and thus, the best way to uplift your landscape’s view or completely change its topography. 

A landscaping berm may also act as a noise or wind barrier. You can also use it to redirect water flow from a disturbed area and stop off-site sedimentation. Build a wall to prevent the water from running through the berm. 

Why Is My Berm Falling? 

Regardless of the soil type, your berm is prone to falling and getting smaller with time. If the height reduces rapidly, it may suffer from factors like erosion. Excess rainwater pulls out the berm soil, causing its size to subside. Always use a sand or gravel base to prevent this. 

Erosion isn’t only paramount in rainy areas but also in dry regions. Wind easily sweeps away dry soil, causing erosion. Thus, it’s advisable that you consistently water your berm to increase its density and prevent it from drying out.  

Your berm may reduce due to escaping trapped air or the rotting natural matter. The organic matter is susceptible to rotting and shrinking over time, so you can’t control this factor. Conversely, you can prevent trapping air in the berm by compacting the soil when building. 

Final Thoughts

Building a landscape berm for privacy is straightforward, won’t take long, and improves your lawn’s appearance. For an effortless and practical experience, follow the tips and guidelines discussed above.