August 7 - 13, 2022: Issue 549


Stop Winter Rain Soil Erosion In Your Garden - Especially On Sloping Blocks

How to stop losing your soil, lawn or patches of garden after all the recent rains we've had across the area form this Issues DIY Ideas. Retaining soil is easier than trying to build it back up again. Soils that become compacted also tend to produce 'bald spots' in your lawn and garden under constant runoff of water, are also addressed. 

If you have a problem with the edges of your driveways and where the grass meets them – as in, when people drive off the driveway and make a nice muddy arc of your lawn meeting that concrete – a problem that keeps recurring, there are some works you can easily do there to stop the loss of garden, soil and lawn.

If you have a slope in your lawn or garden where water will run when it rains there are also some 'fixes' for that too.

If you have escaped all these problem areas then you may have a nice flat lawn alongside your paths and driveway….until these areas become pools in downpours or the children scuff, the chickens scratch and the family dog rolls over and over and over, creating a nice bare patch.

There are now a few products and ways that can help you stop that nice green verge turning into a dark collar because people can’t drive on the driveway or save your lawn areas more susceptible to going bare during the cold wetter months.

Reinforcement mesh or Ground reinforcement grids can be dug in alongside the driveway where tyres have flattened or destroyed grass and these will stop damage to the lawn. You can then plant grass seed in these or place them into the turf itself and this will prevent your lawn from being damaged in these areas.

If the soil has become compacted, give it a good turn over with a spade or use your garden fork to push the prongs into the compacted area so it will loosen up and allow plants to get through the soil.

Ground reinforcement grid dug in this week at our place 

Driveway edge ready for grass seed

If you have an area around the garden where rain flow means you have more bare earth than lawn, particularly in areas with less sun at this time of year to promote new growth, the solution may be to install reinforcement mesh there too. Runoff that isn’t reaching stormwater drains will cause flooding and this can cause problems to your home too where water pools against the walls of structures. 

Looking at which way the rain flows over or through the earth on your property, causing erosion and damage to surfaces will present solutions. If it’s being caused by too many non-porous surfaces consider replacing these concrete paths or asphalt driveways with porous materials such as pavers for driveways or bricks for paths. Installing more porous materials in these areas can also prevent moss build up which needs to be scrubbed with harmful chemicals - using a Pressure Cleaner to remove slime build-up during high rainfall seasons, instead of chemicals, will lessen the runoff of these into stormwater systems.

If the area that is continually bare due to runoff and lack of Winter sun is a sloping run of ground, you may be better off reducing the lawn area and putting in native plants – these will grow in such conditions, especially if you choose those hardy varieties suited to our coastal environment and protect them with a good layer of mulch – this will also help rain and water to percolate into the earth and refuel the water table. 

If the area is a severe slope you can dig in berms and vegetated swales or build a retention wall out of a line of stones up to where the waterline may be. A berm is a slightly raised area, and a swale is ditch with a mild slope. Berms are used to slow runoff on steep slopes, and swales are planted with grass or other plants to direct water to a rain garden. Swales can also direct water toward a storm drain or street: since they significantly reduce the amount of runoff, very little water that enters a vegetated swale will actually make it to the street or drain. As you dig the swale, pile the excavated soil on the downhill side of the swale. This will create what is called a berm, which helps stabilize the swale.

You could also consider making your runoff into a seasonal creek by installing a dry creek bed. 

This is turning a problem into a positive – dig out the channel a little more, even shaping a little meandering towards where you want water to flow, lay the creek-bed with some lovely coloured mixture of stones of all sizes, plant out some water loving plants beside it and turn what is a natural drain into another feature in your garden. 

These can look attractive even in dry weather and when you do have rain, the sounds, the birds and frogs this will attract will make what was a minus and plus. There are some great landscape designers in our area who can provide you with all the knowledge you will need to turn what is washing your soil away into a great garden feature. 

Example of a creek bed installed in a landscape: Changhua Fitzroy Gardens (Taiwan). Photo: MK2010

In Australia the stormwater system is separate from the sewer system. Unlike sewage, stormwater is generally not treated before being discharged to waterways and the sea, so the more you can retain and reuse, or clean up before it gets to the sea, the better off our oceans will be. 

Poorly managed stormwater causes problems on and off home sites through erosion and the transportation of nutrients, chemical pollutants, litter and sediments to waterways. Well-managed stormwater can replace water out of the tap for uses where high quality water is not required, such as garden watering.

The installation of a rainwater tank can be used to harvest rain from your roof and drains.

Planting out any banks with those that will do well there, and make a home for local wildlife, will also stop soil loss. 

Extending this idea to put in a garden bed of water-loving plants on a slope will also help eliminate the problem from spreading to areas further down the garden or causing runoff into the roads or street. These are termed ‘rain gardens’.

Lawn Clippings, pea straw, even good old handmade garden compost will work in these areas. Plants that are good for these areas at ground level for cover and above, for shade and flowers, are:

bird's nest fern - Asplenium australasicum, redback ginger - Alpinia caerulea, common rush - Juncus, swamp lily - Crinum,  swamp banksia - Banksia robur, Callistemons, dog rose - Bauera, swamp wattle - Acacia retinodes, native violet - Viola hederaceae, blueberry ash - Elaeocarpus Prima Donna, roundleaf correa - Correa nummulariifolia, club rush - Ficinia nodosa, swamp fountain grass - Pennisetum alopecuroides, tussock grass - Poa labillardierei, weeping tea tree - Leptospermum madidum, Casuarinas, cottonwood - Hibiscus tiliaceus rubra, twiggy myrtle - Baeckea Clarence River.

Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Fencing and Landscape at Narrabeen can provide you with products and advice, while their Green Life Centre at Johnson Brothers Mona Vale stocks a wide range of native plants and grasses.

There is also more information in Tips for Growing a Native Garden 

Finally, from the Australian Government’s website:

A homeowner can take simple steps to manage stormwater and reduce its environmental impact.

  • Avoid cut and fill on your block when preparing the building foundations. Attempt to maintain the existing topography and drainage pattern.
  • Retain vegetation, particularly deep-rooted trees. They lower the watertable, bind the soil, filter nutrients, decrease runoff velocities, capture sediment and reduce the potential for dryland salinity.
  • Reduce erosion potential on site during building works by minimising the time that land is left in an exposed, unstable condition. Employ sediment traps and divert ‘clean’ stormwater around the disturbed site (see the appendix Sediment control).
  • Minimise the area of impervious surfaces such as paved areas, roofs and concrete driveways.
  • Grade impervious surfaces, such as driveways, during construction to drain to vegetated areas

Water-sensitive urban design (WSUD) seeks to imitate the natural water balance on site before the land was built on. WSUD slows stormwater runoff so that it can be used and filtered on site. The water eventually reaches the river, lake or ocean, but has been cleaned and filtered by the soil and used by plants before it gets there.

With WSUD, the extent of hard surfaces is minimised so that the least water flows off site into the stormwater system. For the individual household, options such as permeable paving on driveways and footpaths, garden beds designed for infiltration (raingardens), lawns and vegetation, swales and soakwells can detain stormwater and increase percolation into the soil.

In some cases, it may be advisable to place perforated pipes beneath infiltration areas to direct excess stormwater to the stormwater system.

WSUD is applicable on all sites, but the degree of application varies according to the site’s opportunities and constraints. All sites should be able to maximise permeable surfaces such as garden beds, lawns, porous paving and paths.

Before installing subsurface units such as soakwells and infiltration trenches, consider the following matters for your site:

  • Regulations — Check with your local government before employing WSUD solutions. Some aspects of WSUD may conflict with local government drainage regulations.
  • Soil type — Check the soil type, which affects the efficiency of some WSUD solutions. Sandy soils are excellent for infiltration, but clay soils tend to become waterlogged. For example, water sensitive design in heavy clay soils may need to be supplemented with traditional conveyancing methods.
  • Soil depth — Ensure that the soil has sufficient depth. Areas with shallow soil underlain by impervious rock such as granite, shale or limestone may impede infiltration and may require some stormwater pipes to remove water for discharge off-site.
  • Groundwater — Determine the depth to groundwater. A high groundwater table may reduce the effectiveness of infiltration methods during storms.
  • Slope — Ensure that the stormwater design accounts for the terrain. Severe slopes increase runoff velocities.

Water conservation

To conserve and retain water on your site:

  • Retain vegetation, particularly deep-rooted trees. They lower the water table, bind the soil, filter nutrients, decrease runoff velocities, capture sediment and reduce the potential for dryland salinity.
  • Minimise the area of impervious surfaces, such as paved areas, roofs, and concrete driveways.
  • Include permeable paving, pebble paths, infiltration trenches, soakwells, lawns, garden areas, and swales in your landscaping.
  • Grade impervious surfaces, such as driveways, during construction to drain to vegetated areas.
  • Divert excess overflow from hard surfaces such as driveways, patios and roofs through downpipes to a raingarden to filter water before it enters local waterways through the stormwater system.

Tools And Products From Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 To Help You Keep The Soil On Your Home Block:

Whites Landscaping Pebble Mix 8-12mm 10kg: $17.50
Pebble Mix. Small rounded stones 8-12mm in size. Colours - beige, brown, dark grey. 10kg bag

Exotic Pebbles Landscaping Pebbles Polished Black 20kg: $35.00
Glossy black colour finish. Polished stones. Prevents soil erosion. Perfect for landscaping & water features. Also available in white.

Rocky Point Pea Straw Mulch: $22.00
Conserves Water. Organically Improves Plant Health. High Nutrient to Improve Soil & Stimulate Growth. Suitable for Vegetable Gardens, Fruit Trees & Flowers. Suppresses Weeds. Sustainably Produced.

Karcher K3 Naked Pressure Washer: $309.00
Non-corrosive pump technology. Powerful working pressure. 1800PSI. Ideal for cleaning cars, pavers, decks and other outdoor areas. 

Spear & Jackson Scoop Mulch/Grain Deep Aluminium D Handle: $64.95

Debco Native Premium Potting Mix 25L: $12.90
Debco Native Mix contains quality key additives to deliver optimal growth for a broad range of native plants including Proteas, Banksia, Wattle, Yuccas, Cordylines and Flaxes. Specifically formulated to promote healthy plant growth for more difficult native varieties. Recommended for all plants that prefer low phosphorus conditions.

Johnson Brothers Mitre 10: Serving Our Community Since 1955

The Independent Hardware Group has awarded Johnson Bros Mona Vale the best in state at the IHG state awards and heads to the national finals on the Gold Coast in February 2022. 

Congratulations to the store in Avalon Beach as well, which won best in village.

Johnson Brothers say; ''Thank you to all of our amazing staff and customers for being awesome!''

IHG is Australia’s largest home improvement wholesaler supplying more than 1,500 stores nationwide. These stores cater to a broad range of Trade and DIY customers and range from large format warehouses to convenience operations and Trade centres, as well as frame and truss sites in two States. 

Under the IHG network, there is a clear mandate to support the growth of Independents within the hardware sector in Australia by helping them to be ‘The Best Store in Town’.

The culture of IHG is built on being a low cost and transparent business partner to members, with an unwavering commitment to protect and grow a sustainable independent hardware sector for the long term.

JBH Design Centre 

JBH Design Centre is a tool for builders and DIY'ers to assist in the fit out of houses. It has displays of kitchens, Bathrooms, Doors and Storage as well as knowledgeable staff to assist in making house fit out painless.


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Products advice is available from the trained friendly staff at Narrabeen, Mona Vale and Avalon Johnson Brothers Mitre 10. 

Click on logo to visit Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 website

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Avalon            (02) 9918 3315

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Mona Vale     (02) 9999 3340

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John and Bob Johnson - The Johnson Brothers Profile  John William Alfred Johnson - The Eulogies for those who could not attend Mass

Australia's Prime Minister Visits Mackellar - Informal Afternoon Tea with Hon. Malcolm Turnbull October 2016

JBH Win Awards August 2018 Trifecta - 2018 Free Trade Day supporters, Mitre 10 Heritage Advert features JBH Mona Vale Store, Hardware Australia’s 2018 NSW Hardware Store of the Year over 2500sqm.

Front Page Issue 294: 2018 Winners Of National Hardware Store Of The Year - Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale !!!

National Garden Week's 2019 Focus Is On Children(Oct 13-19): School Holiday Garden Ideas (to get started on) & Congratulations Award Winning Johnson Brothers Mitre10 At Mona Vale - 2019 NSW Store Of the Year2019 NSW Trade Centre Of the Year and 2019 Village Garden Centre of the Year

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 were awarded as the best Trade Store in the country: February 2020

Family Hardware Store Wins Best In Australia: Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale Crowned ‘National Trade Store Of The Year’ - Celebrating 65th Year in 2020

Anzac Day In Pittwater 2020: Candles, Crosses and Online Commemorative Services: Johnson Brothers Family Donates 20 Thousand Candles to Community Light Up The Dawn Initiativ

Front Page Issue 447ANZAC DAY 2020

Front Page Issue 478: Johnson Brothers Avalon Store Renovations & Mona Vale Store: Everything You Need This Summer In Stock

Front Page Issue 492:  JBH Celebrates Upgrade Of Avalon Beach Store

John, Bob and Robert Johnson, 2013 - photo by A J G.
All information and tips in this publication are of a general nature only and neither Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 or Pittwater Online News does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information and tips in this publication. This publication is not intended to be a substitute for expert advice. Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 advises you to always consult an experienced and qualified person when undertaking jobs of this kind (including consulting a qualified tradesperson such as an electrician or plumber where relevant expert services are required). 

You should also consider any safety precautions that may be necessary when undertaking the work described in this publication (including wearing any necessary safety equipment such as safety glasses, goggles or ear protectors or hard hats). The information and tips in this publication are provided on the basis that Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 and Pittwater Online News excludes all liability for any loss or damage which is suffered or incurred (including, but not limited to, indirect and consequential loss or damage and whether or not such loss or damage could have been foreseen) for any personal injury or damage to property whatsoever resulting from the use of the information and tips in this publication. 

Pittwater Online News and Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 also advises there may be laws, regulations or by-laws with which you must comply when undertaking the work described in this publication. You should obtain all necessary permissions and permits from council and/or any other relevant statutory body or authority before carrying out any work. Major projects published in this publication always list these and/orlinks to where you may research what your own project requires to meet regulations.