Drainage Solutions: How to Build a Dry Streambed

What You'll Need
Spray paint
River rock
Potted plants
Large rocks/Boulders
Ornamental, potted Plants
Landscape fabric
River rock

A streambed is among the most undemanding and affordable drainage solutions for your yard or garden. A streambed is also referred to as a creek bed. It helps to control and direct water drainage in the garden. It can be easily built without any professional help, using some basic supplies. It is particularly useful in homes where the slope of the outdoors is causing flooding. The presence of a streambed limits surface erosion due to rainfall. Use the following information for creating your own streambed for ensuring efficient drainage in the garden.

Step 1—Streambed Positioning: Creating Outline

Get started by planning the location of the streambed. You need to observe the areas in the garden where water run-off is a serious issue. Further, try to establish the direction of the drained water. For instance, you can direct the rainwater into a small pond in the garden or towards the household’s main drainage system. You need to create a rough outline of the streambed. For this, use some spray paint. Most household streambeds are shaped like a small river.

Step 2—Digging Dry Streambed Hole

Use a garden hose to wet the outlined markings on the soil. Use a spade to dig upon the painted outline. Ensure to dig-out all the weeds or any kind of debris/rocks. Most domestic streambeds are about 3 feet wide and 1 foot deep. Remember, the streambed is a bit deeper in the center. Thus, if your streambed is 1 foot in depth, the central portion should be about 1½ feet deep. Don’t throw away the excavated soil. It is needed for making borders of the streambed. Spread the excavated soil along the edges of streambed and tamp it repeatedly, using a shovel or spade.

Step 3—Filling & Covering Streambed

Spread some pebbles and small stones along the base of the streambed. Place a strip of landscape fabric upon the pebbles, stretched along the edges of the streambed. This fabric prevents the growth of weeds that can destabilize the rocks filling the streambed. You don’t need to make exact measurements for laying the fabric. Landscape fabric is retailed in the form of standard measurement rolls. Just spread the fabric along the streambed’s base and cut it around the corners with a scissor. Bend the outer edges of the fabric towards the underlying pebbles. To secure the landscape fabric, you can use small wooden stakes, hammered along the outer edges of the streambed though this is seldom needed. Add some river rock, followed by slightly bigger rocks. Now, add some more pebbles to completely fill the streambed. Place some large boulders along the edges of the streambed to give it a more defined shape.

Step 4—Strengthening & Embellishing Streambed

Some homeowners prefer to add a bit of mortar to the rocks used for filling the streambed. However, you should assess the amount of rainfall expected in your area. If the volume and intensity is not much, then this is not needed. However, streambeds in perennially wet conditions need a bit of mortaring to secure them. Remember to use a minimal amount of mortar as it can limit the amount of water entering the streambed. To embellish the streambed, add potted plants along its edges. You can also cover the surrounding surface with colored pebble stones.