In much same manner as people who like movies starring Vin Diesel, or the cast of Jersey Shore, water seeks its own level. Looking at my house from the street, my property slopes hard to the right…and there’s a big-arse wetland right over THERE. Rains a bit here too; word has it this has been the wettest winter since the ’50’s, and when it rains in Sammamish it is as though the sky is clenching its fists and squinching its eyes and trying to wring itself out.
I wish I had thought about that when the build was complete. The landscaping portion of
the construction budget was pretty much consumed by the additional plant material and consulting ‘services’ of the mitigation Planner. I had the builder put in a small kidney-shaped lawn with the remaining budget. In the late fall I built up planting beds around it and planted them up. When you read ‘built up planting beds,’ think: “put a giant dam in front of the property’s drainage with a low-lying spot in the middle.” Okay. We all make mistakes.
Ever the artist, in the early part of our delightful January I created an earthwork entitled “French Drain in a Day.” Having the luxury of seeing every place water wanted to run across my front yard allowed me to dig my perforated pipe into just..the right..channels…in the clay-ey hardpan. Blister-y! Now as the runoff chased toward the wetland, it could go under my planting beds and out through the berm…creating a wondrous mud bog on the other side. While I have not enjoyed slogging through it on my way to the back of the house, it HAS been muy fun for my daughter. Mud pies and other mud-based baked goods ad infinitum. Still, it’s a mess, it’s inconvenient, it’s ugly. Using rocks and boulders collected from all over the property, I created a “dry waterfall” that carries the runoff from the drain outlet, down the slope, and into the natural area. Planted with ferns and mosses, with small nurse logs for decoration, after I mulch the area it will look like a miniature mountain streambed. Later, I will add a small footbridge so I can get my wheelbarrow across and to provide shelter for the native trolls who roam the forest at night. I will not introduce goats into this fragile ecosystem.