The Q&A Archives: Water run-off

Question: We have a large perennial garden (36'x8') below a old cinder block retaining wall. My garden is sloped from top to bottom. All the rain water comes into my garden and clears all the soil from the garden in three different spots. We have put 3/4 stones in the waters path but that has not changed except making the water path wider. How can we stop this from happening? Or what plants can we plant here?

Answer: In a situation like this you can try to change the drainage pattern by working up the slope above the garden to direct the runoff to a more desirable area, or you can try to work with the water coming through the garden. If it is washing away the soil, it would probably wash away plants, too. You might be able to channel it into a stone lined trough or ditch to get it through the garden without taking away so much soil. Then you could plant along the edge of the ditch using plants that will tolerate wet feet during rainy spells. Joe Pye weed, asters, daylilies, Monarda, Siberian and Japanese iris would be a few possibilities to experiment with. Or, you could adapt it to look like a dry pebbled creek bed in a sort of Japanese garden style, adding boulders, bridges and ornaments to complement that concept. I hope this helps.

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