Saturday, July 2, 2016

A River Ran Through It

I may have mentioned this in previous posts, we live on a slope. The front of the house faces the higher ground and the back empties out to the lake. The front street level elevation is about 485 feet above sea level, the lake is 439 feet above sea level....and the lot is just under 400 feet street to lake. Water finds its way through the grass and gardens, sometimes making new pathways. This past winter we had a few heavy rains that caused some washout in the gardens.  You can see through the screen from the porch that there was a river rushing through the back garden. 

Here is another view- a bit lower in the yard. It looks like a lake above the lake. 

Washout through the garden was becoming a large problem. Plants didn't have a chance in this gully washer.  Over the years we had placed some larger boulders to divert the water but something more needed to be done.

A few of the garden bloggers visited last summer and we chatted about solutions. One idea was a dry creek bed...something I had pondered over the years but wasn't sure size or path. Well, after this past winter's rains, we decided to do it. 
We had moved enough rock in the garden to know we didn't want to do it ourselves....we are no spring chickens and like I said earlier, we live on a slope. We contacted the folks, Wyatt Farms, who did our landscaping/irrigation/garden prep when we built. We talked with Wyatt and he came up with a sketch and a plan and a date was set.
My first job was to remove any plants that were in the pathway of the new dry creek bed. A few small clumps of Calla lily and Gladiolus didn't seem like much until I needed to find new homes for them. Right now they look a little sad after being transplanted. We are now in drought conditions and it is July in South Carolina....warm hot weather prevails. 
Below is a before photo. The blue square box is the irrigation manifold box. It couldn't be moved. In the grass you see thin grass and some flat rocks/ stepping stones as it gets soggy right there.  My Japanese maple needed to be protected. It was a narrow spot for the dry creek bed to begin.

Many seedlings of Blackberry lilies were sacrificed for the cause.  

Another wide view of before-

Big equipment (well, bigger than me and a shovel) was brought in and digging commenced.

The pathway was divided into pathway and dry creek bed. The creek bed is a little wider than it would have been if I had been doing the digging. The hole/trench is about three to four feet wide and roughly two to three feet deep. 

At the top of the garden two trenches were dug to hold a french drain pipe. The pipe would then feed into the dry creek bed. 

We have a french drain around the front of the house that empties to this spot in the grass. With our clay soil, the water didn't drain so grass was weak and the soil soggy. 

The river rocks were delivered, looked like a giant pile of baked potatoes.

Before the rocks were placed, the black landscape fabric was pinned into place. 

Oh to have a Bobcat as a tool in my garden....dreaming dreaming.....from the front scoop they wheelbarrowed the rocks to the right place. 

The guys placing and cutting the french drain pipe in place. It is a black plastic pipe with holes all around the circumference of the pipe then encased with a mesh fabric.

ROCKS IN PLACE! My larger boulders already in the garden were used as accent rocks in the creek bed. Luckily I had a lot for them to use. 

Sod was the final step in the process. We had laid two pallets of grass last month and it took three of us a good couple hours to get it done. These guys were done in no time. 

Finished product from the deck- 

And from the lower part of the garden. I love it. Now if we would get some rain, it can get tested.  I spent yesterday moving a few plants along the edge. I also had to move some of the existing rocks that lined my pathway for the mower to get to the lower part of yard. Since we decided to have the rocks go across the grass, the path to the rest of the yard was cut off.  I only needed to move about twenty feet of flat rocks over about two feet so the mower could go down the path. I will put more plants around the edges as time goes on to give it a more natural look. 

Our next task is a load of mulch. Luckily we have two kids coming to visit! 

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