How to Beautify a Drainage Ditch (Soon To Be Dry Well) Phase One: Creating the First Few Feet

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
A few weeks ago, I posted How to Beautify a Drainage Ditch: Planning Stages and now I am excited to announce that we are in Phase One of the project!  I gave this a lot of thought, and eventually decided to create a dry well with this space.  The topography had already been altered over the summer, leaving a blank slate for gardening design.  Here is the before photo of our blank slate of a drainage ditch, ready for beautification:


As you can see, there is an ugly arborvitae patch to the left that will eventually be removed.  They are nasty things (to me), and their root system is comromising our sewage lines, not to mention, they have been untended for decades, leaving them sickly.  We want to open up this space, but this won't happen until this summer.  For now, imagine those gone.

First thing I did was to remove the lingering sod around the ditch.  There will be NO grass in my dry well.  To ensure this, we will be laying down weed barrier fabric beneath the Montana cobble.  I will keep the slopes densely gardened and pull weeds/grass from there by hand.


We selected the lightest shades from the pallets of Montana cobble from Smith Rock, Inc (a rock yard up the street from my house is AMAZING), and purchased enough to create a few feet as an example of how it will look.  We will need to remove these and lay the lawn cloth next week when it arrives.  At that time, we'll probably buy another three feet of rocks.  It takes time, because we hand-select each one.  We also bought Montana rainbow boulders, as well as Indian Creek boulders, to accent in a natural way the sides of the dry bed.  Around these boulders and between them will be many varieties of native and non-native plants, including sedums, groundcovers, salvia, lavendar, and lambs ears (to name a few).

In sum, I couldn't be more pleased with how this is looking so far, and am so excited to see it mature over time.  I have many, many ideas for this space, and have a site visit scheduled with the Backyard Habitat Certification Program, which will give me access to more local resources for native plants, as well as an opportunity to discuss my goals for the property and identify areas for wildlife habitat elements.  I'm excited to get our certification plan outlined!  Look for a blog post about this process towards the end of January.

Stay tuned for more posts on our dry well progress!

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