February 8, 2010

Dry Creek Bed

Last year I decided to tie together the two planting beds at the back of our lot, to give us some definition between our lawn and the meadow beyond.  A dry creek bed was the solution, mainly because I had a robust supply of one particular landscape element: rocks.

Every planting hole I have ever dug has yielded rocks.  Every shovel ever thrust into the earth has yielded a clink as metal meets rock the first time, every time.  Always.  New England farmers used to complain that they would, with great effort, clear their fields for planting, removing all the rocks, only to find the frozen earth had heaved up more over the winter.  Damn earth just grows rocks.

I built this creek bed entirely on my own, with no equipment other than a shovel and a wheelbarrow.  I know it doesn't look like much in terms of a major landscape installation, but I did this all by myself!  Mostly on my knees.

This is where the creek bed needed to go, between the two mulched areas:

Worst part of the job was digging up the sod:

The biggest stones line the edges.  They were moved by rolling them along the ground on hands and knees:

Oh no, I ran out of rocks!  The landscape fabric in the middle shows through!  Some bags of purchased pea gravel filled in those spots:

A witch hazel (Hamamelis intermedia 'Diane') is to the left of my new dry creek bed.  In the center is my young black gum tree (Nyssa sylvatica).  The shrub on the far right is a summersweet (Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird') which blooms beautifully and fragrantly, but wasn't in flower in this photo:


  1. Wow, you sure have stamina! I enjoy your posts and I've put you on my bloglist so others can enjoy them too.

  2. Thanks so much Cindee for putting me on your list! I appreciate the support of the experienced garden bloggers, and you've been great. Glad you enjoy my little venture.

  3. Oh we know about rocks like that here too, and they grow so well!

    Your dry river bed works well - what a great job you have done.

  4. Thanks, Karen, I'm glad to hear you grow a good crop of rocks too!

  5. Wow - that is one big job - and it looks great.

    You rock! :)

  6. You have some HUGE rocks there along the edges. All I can say is two-wheeler, most helpful with big rocks. I think your dry streambed turned out quite nice. It does bring together the two planting beds. Good job.

  7. Thanks for the rockin' compliments Garden Ms. S and Lisa!

  8. Your dry creek bed turned out beautifully!!

  9. I am in awe of how hard you must have worked. A really clever use of using what you have!

  10. Thanks Deborah. There's always a good use for a big pile of rocks!


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