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Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

drainage ditch landscaping ideas 1
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Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

If you prefer to keep plantings out of your ditch altogether but dislike the look of a solid concrete ditch, you can simply cover it. Pour a concrete ditch liner, shaped to follow the contour and reinforced with rebar or chicken wire to help prevent cracking. Do not pave over the top few inches of turf on each side of the ditch however, or you may trade drainage problems for mowing. Those natural strips absorb excess water that overflows the concrete trench during peak rainfalls. Lay permeable covering such as wood decking or metal grating end to end over the ditch, to make a level surface that can double as a path. Easily trim any grass that protrudes from the grass strips along the edges with shears or a weed trimmer.
drainage ditch landscaping ideas 1

Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

Concrete Trench With Permeable Cover If you prefer to keep plantings out of your ditch altogether but dislike the look of a solid concrete ditch, you can simply cover it. Pour a concrete ditch liner, shaped to follow the contour and reinforced with rebar or chicken wire to help prevent cracking. Do not pave over the top few inches of turf on each side of the ditch however, or you may trade drainage problems for mowing. Those natural strips absorb excess water that overflows the concrete trench during peak rainfalls. Lay permeable covering such as wood decking or metal grating end to end over the ditch, to make a level surface that can double as a path. Easily trim any grass that protrudes from the grass strips along the edges with shears or a weed trimmer.
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Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

Now let’s assess the existing situation. You need to know how your ditch functions before you do anything. Is the ditch a real creek with water in it all the time? If so, stop right now, there are many different laws and regulations that protect perennial streams and creek beds. In some municipalities even dry washes are protected and any disturbance requires permits. Also if your ditch or swale (a swale is a shallow gently sloping ditch) is part of a system that drains a larger area where water enters the ditch from outside your own yard, then altering its characteristics to make a “dry stream bed” look may fall under specific laws and regulations in your area. It is always best to consult your local jurisdictional agency before starting any dry stream bed conversion. Also if your home lies in a subdivision with covenants, be sure to check with the design review board or management. The good news is that in most cases, the improvements you will make are generally considered beneficial to the health of the drainage way and downstream water quality.
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Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

Few yard maintenance chores are quite so cumbersome as trying to mow grass in a ditch. The mower is usually too large to get in there, and weed trimmers are time-consuming and often awkward to use. However, you needn’t have grass in your ditch when there are better options. Be creative; choose plants that thrive in U.S. plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, but remember that a ditch must drain adequately. If it can do that and still be beautiful and low-maintenance, so much the better.
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Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

A ditch is a stream of sorts, but it lacks definition. One elegant way to get out of mowing the ditch is to make it into a real, if sometimes dry, stream. Remove the turf and reshape the ditch it so that it narrows and widens periodically as a natural stream might. Add a layer of river rock in the bottom and along the sides. Place a few larger rocks or boulders here and there for interest, and add streamside plants for even more authenticity and to hold the soil where there are no rocks. Irises (Iris sp.) and day lilies (Hemerocallis sp.) are good choices for stream sides, as are some others already listed here. Even in dry times, you get the illusion of a natural stream running through the property, and in wet weather you’ll have the real deal.
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Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

Seasonal Stream A ditch is a stream of sorts, but it lacks definition. One elegant way to get out of mowing the ditch is to make it into a real, if sometimes dry, stream. Remove the turf and reshape the ditch it so that it narrows and widens periodically as a natural stream might. Add a layer of river rock in the bottom and along the sides. Place a few larger rocks or boulders here and there for interest, and add streamside plants for even more authenticity and to hold the soil where there are no rocks. Irises (Iris sp.) and day lilies (Hemerocallis sp.) are good choices for stream sides, as are some others already listed here. Even in dry times, you get the illusion of a natural stream running through the property, and in wet weather you’ll have the real deal.
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Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

Do you have a slope on your property down which excess water flows, causing erosion on the slope and/or a landscape drainage problem below? Homeowners can address this problem by building dry creek beds. Besides the practical aspect of improving landscape drainage, these features can also be attractive. In fact, some folks with absolutely no landscape drainage problems build them just because they like the way they look.
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Drainage Ditch Landscaping Ideas

Laying flagstones directly in the soil of the ditch — from which you must first remove the grass with a spade — keeps the ditch from eroding while making a still-permeable no-mow surface. The spaces between the stones allow for water to soak into the ground. You need to plant the gaps with a moisture-loving ground cover to prevent grass from returning between the stones, however, and to keep water from working its way under the stones and dislodging them. Mosses of many species work well in damp conditions, as do plants such as the 1- to 4-inch-tall Acorus gramineus, or miniature golden sweet flag, which can handle drought as well as complete submersion in water. It does best in partial to full shade, so use it for shadier ditches. For sunny areas, try the beautiful but tiny Mazus reptans.
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Make a Useful Ditch Rain Garden Instead of grass, plant water-loving marginals such as cattails (Typha latifolia) or rushes and sedges. Not only do these low-maintenance perennials come back year after year to naturally take up excess water runoff; with many of these plants you also get bonuses. Cattails, for example, are edible from the roots to the flowers, the dry heads have found use as excellent insulation for homemade clothing and quilts, and the leaves make attractive baskets. The horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is a diuretic traditionally used in folk remedies for kidney stones and other ailments, and can double as a scouring pad for cleaning and polishing your pots. Your planted ditch can give you all that and still make a pretty little water garden to attract birds, butterflies and amphibians to your home.
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Low-Maintenance Flagstone and Ground Cover Laying flagstones directly in the soil of the ditch — from which you must first remove the grass with a spade — keeps the ditch from eroding while making a still-permeable no-mow surface. The spaces between the stones allow for water to soak into the ground. You need to plant the gaps with a moisture-loving ground cover to prevent grass from returning between the stones, however, and to keep water from working its way under the stones and dislodging them. Mosses of many species work well in damp conditions, as do plants such as the 1- to 4-inch-tall Acorus gramineus, or miniature golden sweet flag, which can handle drought as well as complete submersion in water. It does best in partial to full shade, so use it for shadier ditches. For sunny areas, try the beautiful but tiny Mazus reptans.
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Lay the drainage pipe in a fabric lining in the dug ditch. Place drain pipe atop fabric lining, then add gravel, covering pipe completely. Leave approximately 5″ between top of gravel and ground surface.
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Many wanting to designed dry creek beds often end up with a drainage ditch. In terms of functions and form, they do not perform as a dry creek should perform. Truly, they help in pushing away the excess waste and dirt, but they simply lack the artistic realism of a dry creek. If you look …
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Start by making a swale—essentially a gentle, shallow drainage ditch. Then line it with gravel or stones and add interest with boulders, a bridge or plantings.
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Next IMAGE 1 OF 11 Photo by Karen Bussolini River of Rocks Swales Creating a Swale Rain Gardens Calculations and Design Creating a Rain Garden Anatomy of a Rain Garden Pervious Paving Materials and Installation Paver Spacing Anatomy of a Quick-Draining Driveway River of Rocks You can turn drainage solutions into features that enhance your landscape—and protect natural waterways. Ditches can be landscaped as swales that look like creek beds or small meadows. Gutter water can flow into rain gardens that provide a habitat for butterflies and birds. And driveways, patios, and walkways can be constructed of pervious paving that never puddles because water seeps through. Since these measures allow storm water to sink into the soil gradually, they help reduce flooding. Plus, they allow pollution, including oily residue from cars, to filter out naturally, so it doesn’t wind up in lakes or streams. “You can cure your wet-basement problem and do something for the environment at the same time,” says This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook. Shown: This drainage swale designed by Jan Johnsen resembles a dry streambed. A buried perforated pipe underneath it sends excess water to a dry well. Pages12345…next ›last »

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