Landslides are typically caused by the interference (whether by forces of nature or man-made interference) to the stability of earthen slopes. Sometimes heavy rain, storms such as earthquakes, eruptions, or hurricanes cause destabilization. Damage from a landslide can be incredibly expensive and cause extensive, long-lasting issues to your home and property.
The good news is, much of this damage is preventable! In fact, there are several things you can do to help ward off landslides altogether!
Modify or Reinforce Slope Material
GeoGrid textile fabric is often used to rebuild slopes that have previously failed due to a landslide or mudslide. When suitable, this is often the most cost effective solution.
Additionally, another quick and effective solution to prevent landslides on a slope is to shore up parts of your landscape with vegetation. Typically, this prevention method works best on slopes which are moderately sloped and not too steep (or if the movement hasn’t started yet.) Luckily, this is also something you can do yourself by either planting some basic groundcover or hiring a landscaper.
Install retaining walls
Retaining walls help create stabilization against repeated human force or natural events. Some commonly used retaining wall types include:
- Concrete Retaining Walls. This method uses concrete blocks, which lock together and don’t require any mortar to bond them. The soil behind it must be tightly packed to maintain a solid hold. Loose soil allows in moisture, which can cause weakening and collapse. Concrete retaining walls easily form curves which is typically a requirement of this stabilization approach.
- Steel Beam/Pipe Pile Retaining Walls. These are often used on extreme slopes where a concrete wall is too expensive. The steel beams are usually placed in a pre-drilled hole and encased in concrete.
GeoGrid Systems. GeoGrid textile fabric is often used to rebuild slopes that have previously failed due to a landslide or mudslide. Generally, this is often the most cost effective approach
Grout Rock Joints and Fissures
This process helps reduce the flow of water along the joints and discontinuities in reinforcements using stones or rocks for greater stability.
Divert Debris Pathways
Building pathways to divert debris is another option to prevent landslides on your property. You can create these pathways with the help of retaining walls. However, if you build walls to divert debris flow and then that flow lands on a neighbor’s property, you can be liable for damage.
Reroute Surface and Underwater Drainage
An important component of landslide control services is drainage and stormwater management. Aside from human use, water is the second biggest culprit when it comes to landslides. In order to best mitigate these issues, pinpointing the best retaining wall for your property or implementing erosion control is critical to the success of landslide control.
For temporary landslide prevention there are two other options:
- Sandbags. These can be used to divert water from uncontrolled spilling just as retaining walls or diverted pathways do.
- Plastic sheeting. Protect unstable areas with plastic sheeting, tarps or even burlap (this is especially important for areas without vegetation).
Signs of a Potential Landslide
Before a landslide occurs there are signs that your property may be at risk. Make sure to keep an eye out for:
- Shifts in your landscaping (e.g. patterns of storm-water drainage, land movement, slides, or leaning fences or trees)
- Doors or windows which have begun to stick
- New cracks in foundations or structural elements (plaster, tile, brick)
- Gaps between outside walls, walks, or stairs and the building
- Widening cracks in driveways or sidewalks
- Bulging ground area near hills or slopes
- Water breaking through in strange areas
Additional Landslide Control Tips
Often, human use is one of the largest contributing factors to landslides. Over time, general foot traffic, home projects, and other seemingly benign activities can leave your property at risk.
- Put yard waste, such as leaves or loose gravel, on the slope
- Add additional water to sloping areas or direct run-off to a hillside
- Install any irrigation systems, water sources, or pools near hillsides or sloped areas
Unlimited Drilling & Foundations Inc. was founded in 1993. Over the past 28 years, the company has completed thousands of foundation repair, slope stabilization and drainage systems projects in Southern California.