Living in on a sloped lot often brings a lot of challenges. I have already diverted water flow in a few areas. The dry creek bed in the back yard was the first, you can read about it here. I did not do that one, bigger task than I knew I could handle.
The second was in our front yard, done with my daughter Rachel's help. You will see the change in the front yard in this post done July, 2019. Since then there was a mulch change from being hardwood mulch to pine straw. The pine straw has stayed put but needs to be refreshed. Unfortunately the dry creek bed that Rachel and I put in was in bad shape. Below photo is from the bottom of the hill, soil washed downhill into the rocks and there are winter weeds galore- no clear path for the water flow.
I hated how bad this looked and decided it was time to fix it. Doing work like this in the winter is good because it isn't so hot, but my lovely assistant isn't visiting now. I paced myself. I looked at the overall job and put it into many days of small tasks.
Task one- get the existing rocks out. I had some help from Liebling. She likes to sit in front of where ever you are wanting to work.
Working on the hillside with it wet under foot isn't for sissies. My plan was to put a blue tarp down along the side of the garden area and toss the rocks to it. I decided that the larger, bowling ball sized (and up) would stay in place to keep me on track that the trench didn't move off track.
After removing all the rocks the second task was to dig out the weeds, soil, and a few plants. Again I remind you that the yard was wet and the slope is steep. I lost count of how many wheelbarrow loads I did. I just dumped them into the edge of yard, under the blue cypresses. There is a sharp drop off from the grass to under the cypress. Wanting to finish, I over loaded a few times. I had one spill out of wet clay soil into the grass- what fun.
As you see below, wider and deeper.
As I was digging it looked like I was digging deeper in the top part of the creek and wanted to make sure the downhill slope was consistent through the course. From the top of the creek to the bottom of the creek was about three feet difference in a run of about fifteen feet. I got out the level, some string and a couple of bamboo stakes and kept myself true to the slope.
Once I was finally satisfied with the trench, it was time for the next step- landscape fabric. Thinking that I still had some in the garage from my flagstone patio installation I moved forward. You know what was next, right? Yes, an online order to Lowe's and a curbside pickup. I was working against a clock, there was rain in the forecast and I didn't want a bigger muddy mess than I already had.
Using the larger rocks to hold the fabric in place I got to work. Tossing the small rocks back into place wasn't going as smoothly as removing them. I got out my Gorilla Tub, a Fling swag staple in my garden. Filling the tub and bringing them six feet to the fabric doesn't seem like hard work, but after an hour or so of bending, loading, unloading, bending to place all took a toll on my back!!
Little by little, the rocks were placed in the trench, covering the fabric along the way.
Since the new trench was wider and deeper, the existing rocks did not cover all the fabric. I have more rocks, a good deal more. Where might these rocks be? Why, they are in the backyard, at the bottom of the hill, in the woods. Under the leaves, next to the tree, is a pile of rocks about five feet in diameter and almost a foot deep.
Long story short, I made eight trips over two days walking a tub half filled with rocks back up the hill. A little tweaking of the sides of the soil near the top of run made the slope a little less severe so the rocks could stack against the sides. Hand placing all the new rocks, filling in bare spots was another task that was harder as I progressed. Finally! All done!
View from the top-
A side by side before and after. Boy, I am glad that is done. Well, done is relative- will wait for a big rain to see how it functions. Another tweak or two might be needed, but not hauling rocks uphill for a while!
Time to rest!