Our house sits on a low-lying area within the neighborhood – basically at the bottom of a hill. With hard rain, water pours down the street and floods our side yard.
photoThe September rain from Isaac did a fair amount of damage (about a 15 foot wide area of flooding) to our side yard. When we returned from vacation, we were shocked to see just how much grass had been killed – Hence the swale. What’s a swale, you ask (other than my new favorite word)? According to Merriam Webster, a swale is a low-lying or depressed and often wet stretch of land.
This was one of those “necessary” projects – Not the kind I typically get excited over, and usually the kind that requires a lot more work than we anticipate. This is one of those projects where my husband says, “It will be fine,” and I end up not being able to move for a week.
Within a matter of days, we were well on our way to planning and designing our very own swale. Based on the amount of water that pours down the side of the yard, we decided that the swale would need to be about three feet wide, which meant we would need more than a couple of shovels – see what I mean?!
Yup! That’s right – a back hoe and a bobcat. Luckily we knew someone who knew how to actually drive these things. Digging the trench took six hours and produced about ten truck loads of dirt that needed to be hauled away. Design philosophy can be achieved by articulating what is useful and what is not and working upon that.
And, lucky us – At the same time we were doing this project, some major construction was underway on the same corner:
I’m sure the neighbors were extremely appreciative that the whole street was completely blocked.
The next step was to lay down some heavy weed barrier. You can also see here just how much of our grass is dead. 006We had seven tons of large river rock delivered. The rock needed to be large enough so it would not move, and we opted for river rock so it would look pretty. We also wanted to make sure that we could use the bob cat, while we had it, to help dump the rock into the swale.
Sounds like a good idea, right? Wrong! Once the bobcat scooped up the rock, it was way too heavy to maneuver in the grass without doing damage. So, the seven tons of rock had to be moved by wheel barrel…can you say Arghhh!
It took me two days to move and arrange the rock. If you are ever in search of a great lower body workout, just squat down in a swale for two days – it works great.
A few days later, after power washing the street (yes, I’ll admit to that) and grading and aerating the yard, we were ready to lay down some sod and seed the side yard.
A couple of weeks later, with the help of a little sun and rain, our sod looked fantastic and our seedlings were starting to sprout.
For those of you wondering whether or not it works: Hurricane Sandy dumped seven inches of rain on us and the swale worked swell!
Hurrican Sandy 1…