A common affliction in the world of landscaped gardens is areas that do not want to drain properly. Although there are many methods to choose from, one option may be to create a unique above-ground feature.
If your customer has drainage problems in their landscape, creating a dry stream bed can prove to be an ideal solution. Dry stream beds, sometimes called arroyo, are shallow trenches that are lined with Landscape fabric and filled with different sizes of Rocks and boulders.
When an area begins to collect excess surface water, dry creek beds serve as a useful channel to provide a convenient exit or collection point for the water to slowly penetrate the soil.
Not only can this feature help divert water away from the areas where it normally accumulates, but it also provides an attractive center of gravity for the yard that requires very little maintenance from the customer.
If you think a dry creek bed would be a perfect fit for your client, check out how to create and best use these features.
Dry stream bed landscaping
As you brainstorm ideas for a dry creek bed, keep in mind that the size really depends on the surrounding available space.
Check out the courtyard and see how the water moves naturally around the room. This will help you identify the best place to install the feature. Before starting the process, make sure you check and check the heights of the yard and understand which direction the water is going, especially if the dry creek bed is installed near an existing structure.
While it is true that you may not need a permit to install a dry creek bed. However, be careful of where the water goes once it is diverted into the bed as the water must be diverted accordingly.
In many areas, it is illegal to dump sewage onto the streets because it pollutes stormwater systems and fertilizers, herbicides, or other lawn care chemicals can enter local waterways.
Whenever possible, make sure the water lands on your client’s lawn in an area where there are no drainage problems as the water can naturally re-enter the soil without the fear of excessive buildup. However, if this is not an option, be sure to speak to your local city officials for their recommendation.
Also, avoid diverting the water to neighboring yards
When you have determined the location and flow of the dry stream bed, the first thing to do is to record the style of the bed. As you do this, keep in mind that curves look fine, but too many can hinder the progress of the water flow. Avoid making sharp turns or avoiding unnecessary obstacles.
Whenever possible, work with the natural ups and downs of the yard to encourage a natural flow.
Next, begin the excavation process by removing 12 to 18 inches of soil. Then, tamp the ground and create a flat surface with angled sides. Next, put landscaping fabric all over the surface and along the sides as this will help keep weeds from getting through.
Cover the bottom and sides of the dry stream bed with about 1 cm of crushed pea gravel. Having the sharper edges of the gravel can prevent it from moving and shifting in heavy rain or when exposed to pedestrian traffic.
Once the gravel is in place, add larger river rocks along the edges for a more natural look. To keep it really authentic, use different sizes and shapes of stones. This can be done to either create a single row of stones, or it can be doubled up to make it look more sturdy.
Add one final round of spaced boulders to the outside edges of the bed and mix them with plants to make it look more authentic and natural. You can also pile some of the excavated dirt on the sides of the bed to make the trench stand out.
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