How to Beautify a Drainage Ditch: Planning Stages

Wednesday, January 03, 2018
This, my friends, is a drainage ditch.  When we bought this house, the soil had a positive grade towards the foundation, and the soil was actually touching the siding.  We had the soil regraded to slope away from the house, with water draining to the curb.  A site for sore eyes, this site has a lot of garden design potential.  To make matters worse, our neighbor asked me the other day, "Are you just going to leave that ditch there?"  Adam replied that yes, we were, but I quickly added that though the topography will remain the same to prevent water from seeping into our basement, the ditch would not always look the way it does now.  Oh, neighbors. 

 

Everything about this site makes me cringe, but it is actually doing a beautiful job at keeping our basement dry.  So, now for some beautification.  Those arborvitaes?  Gonna go.  There is actually a cute little weeping cherry tree hidden behind those ugly, scrawny, sickly arborvitaes. 

The northern slope (to your left as you look at this picture) is much steeper than the southern slope.  I don't want to look back at this "before" picture a year from now and think to myself, "I wish I had done that differently".  I want to pick the right plants (plants I love and will always love), line the bottom of the ditch with some pretty rock, put up a proper wooden fence with a trellis above the gate, line the bottom of the ditch with stepping stone atop the bed of rock to make a little path, and create a garden along the existing northern fence.  But maybe this needs more thought . . . this is a blank slate and the sky is the limit, though my budget has limits.  I need your thoughts/ideas!  Grass is an easy solution, but I only want to put grass-seed in the front yard, not in this space.  I wonder if some water-loving reeds might look nicely in buried containers beneath the rock?  Hmmm . . . looking at gardening magazines for inspiration, but would welcome and appreciate your ideas, also!  Want this to be the most beautiful drainage ditch with stunning before and after pics!  

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