April 24, 2006

Swales, raised berms, and paths

Joshua Dolan and his partner Grace came by my house today to work on contour mapping and also some construction. I'll cover the contour mapping more when there is a complete map, but the work we did to the small yard area immediately behind my house is worth some close examination too.

Digging paths
Grace and Josh digging paths.

The new pathways and beds replace a small area of yard directly behind my house, and follow one of the contour lines plotted earlier. Soil from the pathway was shifted to the downhill sides to create a barrier to water coming down the hill that will force it into the soil. Then we filled the paths with mulch from the earlier tree-cutting, and that will also break down into soil eventually. On the upper area, there's now a mound of soil which will become an herb garden.

The resulting paths and beds
The resulting paths and beds.

It should develop into an interesting complex system, where each part handles multiple tasks. The raised areas block water and are growing areas, while the paths offer depressions for water to collect and be absorbed by the raised areas while the mulch breaks down and turns into new soil.

If it doesn't quite work out, it should be fairly easy to fix - none of this is more permanent than piles of dirt and mulch. It should be a good way to experiment!

Posted by simon at April 24, 2006 9:32 PM in ,
Note on photos


Ben said:

What do the dogs think of the landscaping--I mean, permascaping?

They love having mulch piles to hide bones in, and seem interested in the rest of the dirt as well. I'm not as certain what they'll think of it when there are actually plants growing, but I'm sure they'll adapt.

I'm also planning to keep their main barking path free of anything delicate, so it doesn't get trampled.