Tips to Build a Better Berm

If you’re dealing with a tabula rasa (a blank slate) on your landscaping project, you’ll likely want to install berms or undulations in your landscape. But that’s easier said than done! You’ll need to plan the design of your berms and undulations before you implement them. And design requires some foresight. So here are a few berm design and building tips!

Location, Location, Location

The location of your new berm structure is essential. You’ll want to design berms that look natural in their environment, and berms that accent your terrain. In the end, you’ll want berms that flow throughout your landscape, berms and undulations that don’t look contrived!


Think about how your berms will be experienced spatially - this ties in to location. Do you want your berms to look best from the road, or from the house? Both? Do you plan on having a lawn between your berms? Will the space look too busy with too many berms and undulations? All of these questions should be considered in formulating a design!


Proper drainage is crucial. Avoid berms that are doughnut shaped, as water will pool in the center. Make sure water will have a place to flow to, and don’t allow water to pool near the foundation of a building.


Berms generally look more natural when their incline is rather shallow. Unless you’re including rocks, or built-in ledges, consider keeping berm height and undulation depth fairly shallow.


Consider the plants you’ll be planting! Berms are useful in displaying flora, so plan accordingly. Consider planting trees in places that won’t block views of other foliage, and plant flowers on berm slopes that are well-visible. Also consider shading, as some plants love light, and others are content in the shade!

Clean Fill Dirt

Once your design is ready, you’ll need to find the right dirt for the job. Some landscapers will use dirt that’s on-site, but we recommend using clean fill dirt mixed with topsoil.

Grade, Grade, Grade

Smooth berms look great! If you’re looking to add texture on your landscaping berms, opt for boulders are rocks. Now, get out there and build a better berm into your Calgary landscape!
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