Creating a Berm

I use a berm on flat landscapes where there is a need to create interest. This may involve creating a room, to gain a feeling of privacy, or to create an area in poor planting conditions where plants need good soil in which to root.

We create the berm by using the dirt we dig out of new terrace area. We add composted topsoil to amend the soil in relentless heat and dry conditions.

The driveway on the other side of this berm is visually buffered. Perennials, ornamental grass, flowering shrubs and a small millstone-recirculating fountain fill this space. Specially placed boulders help to create another element of design and shape.

The next picture is a berm we created by bringing soil. You can see the new dirt. This is 4 cubic yards. I think we added another 16 yards (4 trucks full).

This berm was created while we actually moved the boulders and planted the plants. This simultaneous design/installation is helpful in gardens that depend on artistic intuition and gut feelings to get it “just so”. It is important that the client is there for these installations.

This is a small garden after 5 years of planting a berm. The height and curve in this city garden are huge in creating a totally plant palette and pleasing space.

Oak leaf hydrangea, plum yew, oriental blue spruce, mundo grass, and chunky rocks we unearthed as we cleared the area work together to make this “bermed” garden bed.