One way to resolve water flow issues is to build a dry creek bed. Dry creek beds can redirect water, help prevent erosion and resolve drainage issues. Not only are they functional but they have become somewhat of a desirable hardscape addition, being very attractive in their own right. Some clients have even installed them purely for aesthetic reasons; adding beautiful structure with natural stone.
So depending on the purpose for building the dry creek bed, functional or aesthetic only for your landscaping, the methods will differ slightly. If it’s functional, then there is a need to look at the amount of water flow (or is it just for water accumulation), the source of the water and where to direct the water. If it is built for aesthetic purpose only, then you have the opportunity to have more creative freedom.
Dry Creek Beds
If you have a soggy yard or a wet basement, then a French drain might be your cure. The French Drain is a simple, yet versatile construction which can be used to drain standing water from areas in a yard or basement. Water always flows downhill, and by the easiest route possible. That’s the basic concept behind a French drain, a slightly sloped trench filled with round gravel and a pipe that diverts water away from your house.
Good drainage is important to ensure that a home stays dry and free of mold. If groundwater collects in the basement, it is not only an inconvenient eyesore for the homeowner, it can also lead to wood rot and mold. The most reliable way to eliminate undesirable, free-standing water is to install French drains with slotted pipes, filter fabric and gravel.
By the way, the name doesn’t come from the country. It’s from Henry French, a judge and farmer in Concord, Massachusetts, who promoted the idea in an 1859 book about farm drainage.
These problem areas are headaches and need attention. Either you are losing mulch, creating ruts in your yard in a downpour or water sits in one place and becomes stagnant. Constructing these dry creek beds can alleviate drainage problems or redirect water run off to prevent erosion and have a big impact on your yard.
Dry creek beds can also be constructed as a great focal point. They can divide space up in your landscape, add interest in an area that is hard to grow and work for both sunny and shady areas. Rock adds color and texture and can visually organize a landscaped area.
When designing your bed consider curving the dry creek in a meandering path to slow down the force of water but also give it a natural appearance. The rocks should look random with different sizes of stones to define the boundaries. Large rocks can be placed along the edges and the smaller to medium size stones in the middle of the bed. Plants will add to the natural appearance of the creek.