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Building a Landscape Berm

Berms are mounds of earth used for planting various types of vegetation.  They are used to create a wide range of aesthetic effects, and they can also perform a number of very important, practical functions.  Building a berm in the right place location adds dimension, depth, drama, and interest to any scene.    

The typical berm is normally at least 3 times as long as it is high, running in either a straight, linear direction, or curving around a zone of interest to create an elevated border around is interior. As simple as it sounds, it takes a great deal of planning and professional Houston landscaping experience to build it right.  Different types of soil must be mixed and layered on top of each other in order to create a compact resiliency that resists erosion.  Building a berm must also be done with a proper slope that will allow the mound to be mowed without mower blades hitting the top of the mound and knocking loose large chunks of soil.

Building a berm must also be done in relationship to the surrounding landscape.  Decorative structures may be very different from functional berms that serve the practical demands of landscape maintenance.  In addition to what a berm is actually used for, its proximity to other significant Houston landscaping elements must also be factored into its design.  Structures that are used to accent gardens, walkways, and homes are often relatively small and take a supporting role in their relationship to other outdoor features.  Structures that are used to create privacy walls, sound barriers, and drainage systems are often much larger, because they have to actually have to shape the Houston landscape into a new form that performs a specific task.

Exterior Worlds is always very mindful of both aesthetics and practical concerns when building a berm.  Scale and scope are two of the most important aesthetic considerations that have to come into play when designing earthworks of any size.  Larger berms are often several feet tall because they are used to section off zones of interest, manage land grade, or create a privacy wall that also acts as a sound barrier.  The position and size of these larger mounds must not overpower other elements, but rather enclose them with a form that mirrors the scale and scope of the home they serve as an aesthetic counterpoint to.

Smaller elements, like walkways, gardens, and patios, can also be rendered much more noticeable to the eye by building a berm in the immediate vicinity.  A winding walkway can have a slowly meandering mount that runs parallel to its course, catching the eye with low-level flowering plants that grow along its top.  Gardens can also be bordered by berms that support many different kinds of shrubs and ground covers that draw the eye into the center of the garden where larger trees, shrubs, and decorations form the heart of its design.

In front yard landscaping, building a berm is often an excellent way of drawing attention to very attractive, yet also very diminutive vegetation.  Even a small rise in elevation is sufficient to lift up even the smallest of flowering plants to a sufficient height that they can be readily seen and appreciated.  Houston landscaping clients who wish to improve their curb appeal with something more than the stereotypical flower bed can easily do so with an investment in landscape berms that add dimensions, rise, and color to the front of their home with a design that mirrors the architecture of its fašade.

This article was published on Saturday 28 January, 2012.

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