Don’t fight nature

During my eight years of owning property (and attempting to improve it on my own) I’ve learned a few lessons. One of them is that nature always, always wins.

For example. Every spring I spend more than $100 on new mulch. Like clockwork, a heavy rainstorm rudely drops in the next day and washes away a significant portion of what I had just laid down. The rain cuts through a side yard and carries off the mulch all the way to the street, while Mother Nature steeples her fingers and cackles madly. Like a fool, I go through the same motions every year, thinking the previous one was some sort of fluke.

This spring I decided to stop fighting nature. Years of water runoff had already carved out a natural path meandering away from the house. The solution was an easy one: Instead of dumping mulch over this area again and again, turn it into a dry creek bed.

A dry creek bed is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Think of a dried-up creek lined with river rocks and a few boulders. That’s it. Filling this area with rock allows water to escape the property faster, and that’s a great thing.

Below is the beginning of the project. I marked off the bed with edging so I could measure how much rock I’d need. You can clearly see the pounding the mulch had taken over the years.

Dry creek bed

Next I put down fabric to keep weeds from growing, poured in a few bags of river rock and added decorative boulders. At the very end is an unobtrusive stretch of poultry mesh, just in case some of the rocks try to escape. Project done.

Dry creek bed

I’m happy to report that the creek bed performed perfectly during two back-to-back rainstorms over the last two nights. Water channels away from the house quicker than before and the landscaping doesn’t get disrupted.

Nature wins. I win. Everyone is happy. And then I celebrate with a Tank 7.

Tank 7

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