1) Roof rainwater from a downspout exits in this swale and creekbed, which act as a rainwater holding reservoir. 2) A long, winding drystream bed, planted with wet-loving plants, directs water away from this home. 3) A gravel bed re-directs water from several downspouts along one side of a house to flow out a large stone water sculpture in the middle of this yard.
Installing a dry stream bed takes the skill of an engineer, the eye of an artist and the backbone of a seasoned laborer. If this system isn’t installed correctly, it may do more harm than good, and divert water in the wrong direction.
We line the swale with landscape fabric and then typically cover it with river rock in the 1-1/2-inch to 2-inch range, cobblestones and small boulders. Using locally available stone, typically rounded, of various shapes and sizes brings the natural geology of the region into the landscape. The larger rocks are placed on the edges of the stream where they help to channel the water and where they have the most visual impact. We like to create gentle curves in the stream beds, which reduces water velocity and gives a more natural appearance.