A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Drainage Swale for Your Home Garden


Building your own drainage swale can help to protect your property from the damage caused by heavy rain or excess groundwater. A drainage swale is a water collecting ditch that follows the natural slope of your property and helps reduce the amount of water runoff. Depending on the size and complexity of your swale project, you may need to hire a professional, but experienced DIYers may be able to do it themselves.

The first step in building a swale is planning. Next time it rains, take the time to watch how your yard drains and make note of any areas that tend to form puddles or pool water. You should also plan the placement of your garden, as well as other future landscaping projects, to make sure water is directed away from them. After you have a good idea of what needs to happen, you should draw up a detailed plan for the swale.

Next, lay out your stakes to map out the project. Connect the entry point of the water with the desired exit point. If the swale is going to direct water into a rain garden, make sure that it ends there. For smaller projects, you can use a shovel to dig a trench. If you plan on making a bigger swale, consider hiring a professional to do the digging.

Once you have your trench dug, add gravel to create a drainage bed. This helps water enter the bed instead of running alongside it. Once the bed is in place, begin to lay the tile tubing. This part is especially important if your swale is meant to lead water to a storm drain. Finally, fill the remaining space in the trench with gravel.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Drainage Swale for Your Home Garden

At this point, you’re almost done. Cover the trench with grass or cover it with a design featuring stones or other garden decor. If you’re planting a rain garden, select plants that thrive in wetter conditions. Once the swale is completely finished and the plants have been planted, your project is now complete.

Your swale is now all set for the next time it rains. If it rains and you notice any issues with the flow of the water, you may adjust it yourself or have a professional come out. Building a swale can be a complicated and time-consuming job, but with a little work and planning, you can protect your property from excess water runoff.
Building a drainage swale is an excellent way to protect your home and yard from the potential damage caused by excessive rain. With the right planning and a bit of work, you can construct a drainage system to divert water from hard surfaces and away from areas you want to keep dry. Though it is possible for a novice DIYer to attempt such a project, it is always a good idea to consult professional help if the project is large or you expect the task to be daunting.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Drainage Swale for Your Home Garden

The first step in making a drainage swale is to assess the flow of water during periods of heavy rain. Carefully observe where the water pools and use this information to plan out your swale in advance. Make sure to take into account the water needs of any gardens or other plants you plan to install later. Once you have a plan, lay stakes where you would like the path of your swale to begin and end.

When you are ready to start the construction, you will need to dig a trench that follows the slope of your yard and connects the two points marked by the stakes. Make sure the trench is wide enough to hold the gravel and piping you will need to install later. If the project is small enough, it may be possible to complete this task with a shovel or rake, but for a large project, it may be worthwhile to hire a professional.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Drainage Swale for Your Home Garden

Once the trench is dug, line the bottom with gravel and add tile tubing for the water to flow through. Fill the remaining space with gravel, then cover the swale with grass or stones to match the rest of the yard. If you are using grass or plants for decorative purposes, make sure to select ones that thrive on the amount of water the swale will carry.

Once the swale is complete, check it periodically for any issues that may have arisen during periods of heavy rain. If there is a problem, you can either make adjustments yourself or call in a professional – it is a good idea to have more materials on hand than you will likely need to avoid any delays.

Building a drainage swale is one of the most effective ways to protect your home from potential damage caused by severe weather. Of course you should consult a professional if the project seems too large or daunting for you; however, with proper planning and a bit of effort, you can craft a drainage swale that will effectively divert water away from your home and keep your property safe.

  • November 30, 2020