Erosion Control Grasses and Plants for Our Area

Asked May 22, 2018, 8:33 AM EDT

Hello, we have built an addition and now have a few slopes in our backyard and along the side of our house that we would like to have erosion control for without having to build a retaining wall. Do you have suggestions for what grasses and/or plants we should be using in this area? Are there any grasses that can be mowed we could use alone or in combination with other grasses or plants?

We are planning to build a patio in front of the french doors and window and perhaps a bit further out towards the north side of the house. We would need soil erosion control on both sides of the patio. This area faces West and has mid-day to afternoon sunlight.

The second area of concern is the slope all along the side of the house seen in the first and third pictures. It faces north and has limited direct sunlight. The biggest problem area for us the right at the corner where water slopes towards the house and (foundation).

Montgomery County Maryland shrubs plant selection ornamental grasses flowers: annuals and herbaceous perennials

1 Response

Any plant suited to the site's sun, soil, and moisture conditions that could be planted on a flat surface could be planted on a slope. A combination of ornamental grasses, shrubs, and herbaceous plants would do the job to help stabilize the soil and reduce erosion. For ornamental grasses, consider switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis), and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). These can all take partial shade. Keep in mind that these are tall grasses, not ones that you would mow. Their deep root systems will help hold soil in place. You could also add shrubs and herbaceous plants of your choice. We recommend the Chesapeake Bay Native Plant database to help with making plant choices. Since you are in Montgomery County, choose "Piedmont" region and your site conditions and you will find a list of recommended plants. http://www.nativeplantcenter.net/
In addition, here you will find some choices for groundcovers that would be suitable -- there are several options for shade. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/groundcover-list
You may need to use an erosion control blanket (jute material) or lay down branches to help hold soil and mulch in place when the plants are first installed.

ckc