There are a variety of erosion control methods available. What method you choose is determined on what your specific problem is and your budget. The two types that are most common are structural methods and vegetation.
The structural method involves erecting barriers to either divert water and runoff temporarily or permanently by channels or dikes. There is also the permanent riprap method.
The riprap solution is used around an outlet pipe where water usually flows quickly, which results in carrying off the soil or damaging the land in some fashion. Concrete slabs or a series of large stones are placed at the bottom of down spouts in areas where this occurs. These objects can take the brunt of the fast moving water. The hard surfaces will take the impact and reduce the velocity of the water without being damaged. Once the velocity is decreased, the water can be diverted to areas without the danger of erosion or runoff by the turbulence of a fast moving waterflow.
Dikes and channels are also implemented as effective erosion control methods. By stopping the flow of water and runoff down a slope with a dike, the flow can be controlled. There are dikes that not only stop water and store it, but also redirect through a channel. Channels are commonly made of concrete or other solid, non-porous materials to reduce any possibility of runoff.
The most common erosion control methods are also used to promote plant growth. This is when an erosion control mat comes in handy. This is rolled out on the slope and staked down. Most of these mats are made of natural components and will biodegrade in less than three years. In that time plant life will have an opportunity to take root and produce a natural barrier against erosion. Another advantage of the erosion control matting is that it will retain water to help the vegetation take root quicker than if the soil was left unprotected.