Five Steps to Protect Your Home from Landslides

by Matt Solis

Landslides are a yearly threat to residents of the Bay Area. The region’s sudden, strong autumnal rainstorms and steep slopes can combine to make the perfect landslide conditions. Because landslides occur with little warning, it’s important to learn how to keep your loved ones safe. There are also steps homeowners can take to minimize potential damage.

If you think your property is at risk:

  1. Learn about the history of your property. Areas that have experienced landslides in the past are likely to experience them again. Your city may keep records of past landslides, and you can also try this landslide inventory-mapping tool (in beta) from the California Department of Conservation.
  2. Hire a professional to evaluate the drainage on your property. You may need to build channels to deflect flow around buildings. Be aware: you are responsible for damage to neighboring properties caused by water diverted from your own.
  3. Plant ground cover on slopes—the root networks can help stabilize hilly areas.
  4. Consider hiring a professional to build a retaining wall. Bear in mind that any retaining wall built to contain soil should be designed by a licensed engineering contractor and built either by the designer or an experienced contractor who’s able to follow the design precisely.
  5. Have flexible pipefittings installed. Flexible pipes can help prevent gas or water leaks in the event of a landslide.