How to Create a Dry Creek
This dry stream bed looks so natural, you'd think it had always been part of the landscape. Watch drainage woes disappear when you make this water-diverting, eye-catching feature in your yard.
A dry creek handles a common landscape challenge—drainage—with an easy-does-it approach that fits most budgets. In some situations, a dry creek simply directs and disperses water that would normally puddle and stand a few days. In other cases, a dry bed transforms into a temporary stream. In the process, it adds beauty to the setting, whether wet or dry. If your yard is plagued with a soggy area after downpours or a slope that's slowly eroding, a dry creek corrals and redirects water. By creating a channel, a dry creek drains water when insufficient slope fails to do so.
Construction is the easy part. Careful planning ensures the design's success. A dry creek may be as large or small as your yard permits. Look for the natural lay of the land in your yard and watch how water flows during a heavy rainfall.
Before digging, make sure you understand elevations and which way you're directing water, especially if the dry creek will be near existing structures. Drain water away from the house and direct runoff into a landscape drainage system, such as a French drain, swale, or channel, on your property. Don't assume you can direct water into a public street without researching local ordinances.