One main principle of permaculture is to catch and store energy, which includes water. As we known when we see flooding, water is a one of the most powerful elements on earth. At the same time, it is essential to all living plants and animals. This fall, we have to route the water sheds from the large solar array not only so it will not wash our gardens away but so it will be dispersed and water our garden beds. A dry creek bed is part of the Tiny Diner landscape design to catch and slow water.
We installed the creek bed over the course of three days. Here are the steps we took to install it:
1) Marked the dry creek bed size: 4′ x 40″ on the western edge of the patio.
2) Hauled out 4″ of soil to make a slightly concave earth form for water to collect.
3) Leveled and tamped the bed so that it has a 2% grade towards the north.
4) Added 15 bags of sand to the tamped bed, creating 1/2″ foundations for the dry creek rock.
5) Added 15 bags of pea gravel on top of the sand to create another filtration and foundation layer.
6) Added medium sized rock on top of the pea gravel. At every layer, we made sure that the whole bed retained its concave shape towards the north to ensure water flow.
7) Second to last step: we decided to plant around 50 perennial plants within the dry creek bed and alongside it (insectory hedge) to add a colorful border as well as call pollinators into the garden beds.
The last step is to install a set of rain chains that will hang from the corner of the solar array. These chains will slow the water falling down from the array as well as diffuse its waterfall breaking point at the bottom of the chain. We will install these chains in the springtime.
For this installation, Paula Westmoreland (the designer) and guest designer Kim Knutson, were instrumental. They guided the installation and plant placement.