Rock Fall Stabilization Options

Posted on: 22 April 2021

Rock slopes on a property pose a very specific type of hazard — rock fall. Whether the issue is with the whole slope failing and sliding or just the dangerous dropping of a large stone occasionally, steps must be taken to counteract all dangers. Fortunately, there are several options that can work.


Barriers work by creating a sturdy wall between the rock fall zone and areas where traffic or pedestrians may be present. They can also be erected between the rock zone and structures, including buildings and landscaping. Most barriers are made of reinforced concrete or stonework, although metal barrier walls are also an option.

A barrier is only suitable if there is room to put in a buffer zone. The slope of the rock fall zone must also be taken into account, as a barrier may not be sufficient if the rocks can bounce above the barrier or if the fall zone may overreach the barrier.


Mesh systems are very common, particularly in areas where other systems just won't work. Reinforcing metal mesh is installed over the rock zone, hillside, or cliff face. Rocks are held in place by the mesh. If some rocks still slide down the slope, they are impeded and contained at the bottom of the mesh system so that they won't roll into roadways or other dangerous areas.

Securing of the mesh can vary. Some use anchors drilled into the rock face. This works well on rocky slopes with a solid rock underlayment that is not in danger of eroding. Post attachments are another option. These are driven deep into the slope, often into the bedrock below. This style of anchor works well on loose hillsides where there are no surface boulders to successfully anchor to.


Some rock faces are relatively secure, but loose gravel and small stones may slowly erode out of the face and cause issues. Shotcrete reinforcement is used in this case. A concrete product is applied over the surface or injected into the soil on the rock face to create a strong bond that will prevent rocks from eroding out or loosening over time.

Reinforcing of the rock face is sometimes done when loose rock fall isn't a concern, but instead the worry is about a complete failure of the rock face. Reinforcing bolts or dowels are driven into the rock face to secure it to the bedrock beneath. Often, reinforcing of this nature is combine with mesh to further protect against rock fall.

Contact a contractor who provides commercial rock fall stabilization services for more information.