Reducing the risk

If you know your land is unstable, there are a number of things you can do to prevent slips occurring.

Get advice

While the ideas below give a useful starting point, it’s essential that if you have concerns that you contact a local engineering consultancy to provide advice.  Ask for a Professional Engineering Geologist (with PEngGeol registration) or Geotechnical Engineer (with CPEng registration).  They are trained to recognise signs of serious problems that you might not see – a quick site inspection could save your house.

Control the water

Many landslides are triggered by excess water, either flowing over the surface or in the soil.  Make sure that storm water from your property doesn’t discharge or overflow towards any unstable land.  Check your pipes, irrigation systems or stormwater soakage.

If stormwater does flow over the slope, try to direct it away from the least stable areas, and avoid it soaking in through cracks by filling them with clay.  Be wary of digging drainage swales which may control the flow direction but could encourage water to soak in, and may form a line of weakness.

If a landslide has occurred, cover bare surfaces and cracks in the ground with tarpaulins to reduce the impact of rain. Take care – only do this if you can do it safely. Avoid if it’s still raining.

Reduce the load

If the slip has a heavy load at the top, it’s more likely to fail.  Keep heavy mobile objects (such as cars) away from the top of unstable slopes.

Do some planting

Plants can be very effective at sucking the excess moisture out of a slope, adding to the stability, and reinforcing the slope with their roots.  This useful guide gives suggestions for suitable species in coastal environments.