Yes I’ll admit it we got caught out,
We were working on a sloping garden from the lower end backup to the top, but before we were able to finish the project there was a massive storm. The storm caused a load of damage. A huge amount of water pouring down from three different sources was converging on our newly made path. It washed the fine gravel surface off and swept away the sand right down to the foundation . The water was accelerating down the slope and scouring away the stones.
This damage was caused by a combination of three factors,
- There was water pouring from a roof into gutters then gushing into a downpipe only to emerge onto our parking area, this too represented possibly hundreds of square meters of non-porous surfaces.
- There was water pouring from the bottom of the neighbour’s field, this was the worst as the field also represented a very large surface area Worse still the water pouring off was also carrying lots of mud as it hurtled down the plough lines and poured into the parking area.
- There was water pouring down a long tarmac drive it represented a large surface area and so collected a large amount of water non-of which could penetrate as it was not a permeable surface.
The solutions we found to avoid this happening in the future are:
- For the water pouring from the roof we connected a pipe, which took the water underground taking it beyond the parking area and allowing the water to flow out naturally into a ditch where it could no longer cause a problem.
- For the water pouring from to drive and from the neighbour’s field we created an element to divert the water across the driveway and out into the ditch using a French technique called a “drain pyrenéen”. We cut a diagonal trench across the driveway and inserted to parallel timber elements with a large space ( about 6 cm) between them on a concrete base. Wooden cubes were incorporated to maintain the gap between the two timber bars so that the water can be collected and diverted into the ditch.
- At the end of the drain we fashioned a concrete and River cobble extension to guide the water all the way to ditch.
Now we’re just waiting for another big storm to test this new technique but we have already subjected it to lots of hosepipe testing and we are very confident that this is going to be a radical solution to avoid getting back into a sticky « muddy » situation.
This is just one small illustration of how landscape design is not always about pretty planting it can very often be about finding real technical solutions to big problems.