How to Design Landscape Berms

How to Design Landscape Berms

Are you looking for a way to add visual interest, texture, and dimension to your landscape? If so, it sounds like your yard could benefit from some landscape berms! 

These are raised mounds of soil that offer a range of benefits. From offering privacy to masking unsightly features, directing foot traffic, and enhancing the overall aesthetic of your yard - there’s a lot to love about berms in landscaping. 

But - incorporating this feature into your yard isn’t as simple as dumping truckloads of soil just anywhere. When done incorrectly, berms can have the opposite effect - detracting from the beauty of your yard. That’s the last thing you want. And, it’s why we’re here to teach you how to design landscape berms the right way.

At Michaelangelo’s, we live and breathe landscape design. It’s what we do best - and we’re passionate about helping you make your dream yard a reality. We’re the #1 choice for landscaping companies in Alpharetta, your best bet is to simply reach out and let us handle the project if you’re in the area. This will ensure the most desirable outcome possible - so you can just kick back and relax, enjoying your yard to the fullest.

Otherwise, continue reading below as we start this conversation with an in-depth explanation of what landscape berms are.

What are Landscape Berms?

We briefly explained them above - landscape berms are raised mounds of soil that are used to add visual interest, texture, and dimension to a landscape. You’ve probably seen them before and just didn’t realize they had a name.

They can be designed in various shapes and sizes depending on the intended function and your specific yard. And, they can be used for a variety of purposes, such as creating privacy, directing foot traffic, or masking unsightly features. But that’s not all these features are capable of doing in your yard. Berms can also be used to help control erosion, improve drainage, or create microclimates for specific plants. 

When designed properly, landscape berms can add both beauty and functionality to a property. And really, that’s the goal of any landscaping or hardscaping feature you incorporate - it needs to check off two boxes: form and function. And landscape berms just do that. Below, we’ll take a deeper look at the benefits you stand to gain from incorporating them in your yard.

The Benefits of Designing Landscape Berms in Your Yard

While we did mention a few of the benefits these have to offer, we want to take a moment to fully explain why designing landscape berms is worth the time and cost:

  • Adds Visual Interest: One of the primary benefits of landscape berms is that they can add visual interest to an otherwise flat or boring yard. By creating elevation changes, berms can add texture and dimension to your landscape, making it more visually appealing and engaging. This dimensional aspect is one of the most basic elements of landscape design.

  • Creates Privacy: Another benefit of landscape berms is that they can be used to create privacy. By strategically placing berms around the edges of your property, you can block unwanted views and create a more secluded and private outdoor space. This allows you to enjoy your yard to the fullest without stressing over who’s watching you from the street or neighboring windows.

  • Directs Foot Traffic: Berms can also be used to direct foot traffic in your yard. By placing berms in strategic locations, you can create natural walkways that guide visitors through your landscape and highlight specific features, such as gardens or water features.

  • Masks Unsightly Features: Landscape berms can also be used to hide or mask unsightly features in your yard, such as utility boxes, air conditioning units, or other eyesores. By placing a berm in front of these features, you can create a natural barrier that blocks them from view and improves the overall appearance of your landscape. Just add some plants or hardscaping features to the berm and nobody will be the wiser!

  • Improves Drainage: Berms can also be used to improve drainage in your yard. By creating elevation changes, berms can help to redirect water away from areas that are prone to flooding or erosion, and toward areas where it can be more easily absorbed by the soil. You can learn more about the drainage solutions homeowners have at their disposal if you’re interested.

  • Creates Microclimates: Depending on the size and placement of your berms, they can also be used to create microclimates within your yard. By creating areas of shade or shelter, berms can help to protect delicate plants from harsh sunlight or wind, and create more favorable growing conditions.

How to Design Landscape Berms: Step-by-Step Guide to Bringing Berms to Life From Concept to Installation

As you can see, the benefits of designing landscape berms are vast! It’s no wonder they’re such a common feature in homes around the world. The question now is how to design landscape berms - and we’re going to teach you everything you need to know!

But before we do that, we do want to offer a word of advice. If you care about the look and feel of your yard, and want to get this project right the first time around, you should hire a landscape designer. There are so many subtleties and nuances that go into making berms functional and aesthetically pleasing that homeowners simply aren’t aware of. 

Michaelangelo’s can take all this stress off your shoulders by strategically designing and installing your berms for you - why bother yourself with this burden? Leave it to the professionals. But, if you’re still dead set on DIYing this project, here’s some advice:

Assess Your Property

Before you begin designing your berms, it's important to assess your property and identify any areas that could benefit from elevation changes. 

Consider factors such as sun exposure, drainage, and existing features, and think about how your berms can work with these factors to create a cohesive and functional landscape. This is where having professional guidance is really helpful.

Determine Size and Placement

Once you have a general idea of where you want to place your berms, it's time to determine their size and placement. Consider the overall scale and proportion of your yard, and think about how your berms can create a sense of balance and harmony within the space. 

Also, think about the purpose of your berms - are they for privacy, visual interest, or another function? This will influence your next steps - such as material selection, which we’ll discuss next.

Select Materials

When it comes to designing your berms, you'll have a variety of materials to choose from, including soil, rocks, plants, and mulch. Think about the aesthetic you want to achieve, as well as the practical considerations such as erosion control and drainage. Getting all these materials to blend together is easier said than done - which is, again, where professional guidance is valuable.

Create a Planting Plan

Once your berms are in place, it's time to think about planting. Consider the soil conditions, sun exposure, and water requirements of the plants you want to use, and think about how they can work together to create a cohesive and visually pleasing landscape. Also, think about maintenance requirements and choose plants that are appropriate for your level of commitment.

Actually Installing the Berms in Your Landscape

Once your planting plan is ready to be executed, the fun begins - actually installing the berms in your landscape! Again - this is something best left to the experts if you don’t have experience in landscaping. Moreover, berm installation can be back-breaking work that you’re going to wish you’d outsourced. However, here are the steps necessary to bring your berms to life:

  1. Mark Out the Location: The first step is to mark out the location of your berms using stakes and string. This will give you a clear idea of the size and shape of your berms and allow you to make any necessary adjustments before you begin digging.

  2. Excavate the Site: Using a shovel or a backhoe, begin excavating the site where your berms will be located. You'll want to remove the topsoil and dig down to the subsoil, creating a flat base for your berms to sit on.

  3. Create the Berm Shape: Once you've excavated the site, it's time to start shaping your berms. Using the subsoil that you've dug up, begin shaping the berms into the desired shape and size. You can use a rake or shovel to sculpt the soil into the desired shape, making sure to create a gradual slope from the base to the top.

  4. Add Soil: After shaping the berms, it's time to add more soil to create the desired height and shape. Depending on the size of your berms, you may need to purchase additional soil to fill them. You can use a wheelbarrow or shovel to add the soil in layers, making sure to tamp it down lightly as you go to create a firm base.

  5. Plant Your Berms: Once your berms are in place, it's time to start planting! Choose plants that are appropriate for the soil conditions, sun exposure, and water requirements of your berms, and make sure to plant them at the appropriate depth and spacing.

  6. Add Mulch: Finally, add a layer of mulch around your plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. This will also help to create a finished look for your berms.

Need Help Designing Landscape Berms at Your Property? Michaelangelo’s is Your Trusted Choice!

Armed with the advice above, you’re well on your way to bringing your berms to life. Now that you know how to design landscape berms, you can get to work. But we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - if you need help designing landscape berms at your property, you can count on Michaelangelo’s!

Not only will you enjoy peace of mind knowing the job is done right, but you can also save yourself a ton of headaches and manual labor. As the premier choice for anyone seeking a landscape designer in Alpharetta, you can rest assured you’re in the most capable, trustworthy hands.

What’s more, we can help you keep your yard looking stunning long after installation through our full-service landscape maintenance service. Whether you need commercial landscaping maintenance or residential landscaping maintenance, we’ll keep your property pristine year-round. So what are you waiting for? Reach out today!

Final Thoughts on How to Design Landscape Berms

We hope this full guide on how to design landscape berms inspires you to incorporate these versatile landscaping features into your own yard. As you can see, the benefits of designing landscape berms are vast. And with our help, you can kick back and relax while we get them installed on your property in a way that’s both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Want to learn more about landscaping? Our blog has valuable resources on topics like how to design landscape beds, how to design landscape lighting plans, pool landscape design ideas, drought-tolerant landscape design ideas, sustainable landscape design ideas, and a whole lot more. From designing your front yard landscaping to designing your backyard landscaping, we’re here to empower you with helpful resources along the way so you can enjoy your yard to the fullest.

And at this point, there’s just one thing left to do - reach out today so we can come to survey your property and bring your berms to life! Once you see the end result, you’ll be glad you partnered with us.