If you love entertaining or love to relax at your deck after a long day, then your deck is a vital spot for you. However, the under-deck can be susceptible to soil erosion, especially if it is raised. This may ruin your landscape and destabilize your deck’s supports; is there anything you can do about it?
So, how do you prevent erosion under decking? Like any other sloping landscape, the under-deck is prone to erosion; even so, there are some ways to mitigate this. You can use grass and decorative shrubs to hold the soil under the deck together. Similarly, you can install lattice skirts, drainage trenches, and barriers. These methods are very effective in controlling and preventing the erosion of soil under your deck.
You may have trouble with erosion under the deck or wish to construct a deck minus the worry of under deck erosion. In this article, we look at the causes, effects, and remedies for under deck erosion. Read on as we give you all the information you need to help save your deck from destruction or destabilization.
Causes and Effects of Under Deck Erosion
Whether severe or mild, erosion can cause a lot of damage to life and property. Therefore, it is important to know the causes and effects of this phenomenon so that you and your property can be safe. You may wish to know how best to keep your decks safe from the effects of erosion, especially when it is some feet off the ground.
This area is very susceptible to topsoil erosion, given its design. If made of wood, it only becomes more prone to destruction from the natural forces of running water and topsoil.
Soil erosion is mostly a result of heavy rain or irrigation, which facilitates the top soil’s runoff. When this topsoil is eroded, it carries off the necessary microorganisms and organic matter, affecting the plant life on your lawn.
Similarly, if you use chemicals for the plants in your compound, erosion can facilitate the washing away of these chemicals to your water supplies, which is very hazardous. In severe cases, erosion can be catastrophic to your structures; the deck can easily collapse during severe erosions such as landslides. If the erosion is mild, it can make the wood unstable and eventually cause it to collapse.
Some people believe that the absence of wide gullies is a clear indication of the absence of erosion. However, it is possible that your under-deck is subtly being eroded. There may be an excessive runoff, which may cause more severe effects.
On the other hand, the erosion may be mild and only noticeable in the long run. To check for subtle erosion, look out for exposed roots, soil splashing, or mud on the pavements. These will ascertain that the soil under your deck is slowly eroding.
Remedies for Under Deck Erosion
We have a list of what you can do to prevent and mitigate soil erosion under your deck.
Barriers are a great remedy, especially if your under-deck is slightly sloping. The barriers act as an obstruction for the running water by slowing runoff or diverting the flow. They are made of stones and timber, so they are effective for less sloping grounds.
These barriers effectively prevent soil erosion, especially for the underdeck, and the plus side is that you can use them to spruce up space under the deck. Some people add their favorite plants to them to make them aesthetic pieces.
Unlike barriers, terraces completely prevent runoff by soaking up the water instead. They are designed to look like staircases and are made of concrete, timber, or stones. These materials are the best in holding and soaking up the water, preventing it from running off.
You can design your terrace to fit under the deck and add aesthetic plants for a perfect finish. This way, your under deck will be attractive, and at the same time, you will be preventing erosion. You can always consult with a construction expert to help you design the perfect terrace.
Plants are the most natural way of controlling erosion for your landscape and your under-deck. This method’s principle is that the plants’ roots act as anchorage to the soil, holding them together and reducing runoff.
However, it would be best if you were keen when planting them under the deck because they are likely to be deprived of sunlight and nutrients. Therefore, we advise that you go for wildflowers or native and hardy plants, which are easier to adapt to that environment.
One effective remedy, especially for a sloping under-deck, is the use of turfgrass. It grows fast and provides anchorage to the soil. Similarly, you can have sods and grass under the deck to anchor to the soil.
If your deck is high, there will be enough sun for them to grow. You can also use decorative shrubs to hold the sods together. However, be keen to plant flowers and shrubs that will do well in your climate and soil.
1. Trenches and Gravel
It would also help to dig trenches under the deck in areas that are most susceptible to erosion. Consider the gaps between the boards or at the deck’s edges where there may be a runoff. You can easily dig these trenches even when you are not a construction expert. They may be up to ten inches deep, and at every ten feet of trench, you can increase the depth by an inch. Lastly, you can leave the trench at ten feet from the deck.
If you find the trenches ineffective, you can still fill up the holes with rocks. You may add about an inch of gravel and top it with a PVC pipe. With the trenches filled with gravel, it will be more effective in preventing runoff. The gravel will hold up the water while the PVC will redirect the flow, thereby preventing soil erosion.
General Tips and Ideas
Apart from the aforementioned remedies to under deck soil erosion, we think a few other general tips will help you as you get started.
- You can still deploy temporary methods to prevent soil erosion, such as using mesh, mulches, and plastic sheets. As much as they are not long term remedies, they can still lower the erosion effects under your deck. However, they are likely to wash away with time.
- To prevent rainwater from flowing under the deck, you can install a gutter or a roof-like structure to catch and redirect the water; this way, it won’t overflow underneath the deck.
- When using gravel, ensure that they are not too small; otherwise, they will just be washed away.
- You can also install lattice underneath the deck but make it level with the deck. This method will come in handy to block out strong winds that can cause soil erosion.
- If the remedies are somewhat ineffective, you can opt for a retaining wall. This is more solid and will help permanently keep off the runoff water.
The elements will always determine your deck’s durability and stability. Therefore, you need to be wary of harsh conditions such as strong winds and heavy rain. Most experts advise using stronger materials and better anchorage to keep your structure more stable. However, even the most sturdy structures can crumble under severe weather.
Thus, to be on the safe side, you need to put up safety measures to prevent the soil under your deck from washing away. Otherwise, your deck may be at risk of destabilizing or eventually collapsing. Whether temporary or permanent, it would help if you reduce the effects of soil erosion for the soil under your deck.