[Garden] Drainage Ditch Clearout, Part 1


I spent yesterday acquiring a wheelbarrow with the help of my buddy John. Thanks, John! It’s a good thing I did.

Y’see, we have this great backyard, with an enormous slope, and the nice folks who built our property installed a drainage ditch near its base. I wish I could say it was a swale, but nope. It’s lined with concrete and therefore really good at moving water off your property, rather than allowing it to sink slowly into your soil. The long and the short of that is that if it gets clogged, the water doesn’t move, and lucky us, if this year’s predicted El Niño hits us hard, we might get a mudslide that skims right over the surface of the ditch and into the backyard. Hopefully not into the house.

I’d rather not take that risk. I like this house. Ideally our slope would be all planted with nice deep-rooted plants that would prevent this from happening in the first place, but nope. The previous owners didn’t do a good job of taking water costs into account when they planted the slope, and they never bothered to redo the sprinklers from the base design to fix the water costs either.

We can’t afford to plant up the slope right now, so the next best thing is cleaning out the ditch.

Length of the Ditch

I swear there’s a ditch here. You can kinda see it in the back, and you see all those rocks? Yep, they’re in the ditch.

Getting Started

Getting Started

I cleared out a few of the really big ones by hand, but had to get the shovel sooner rather than later.

Load of Rocks

Load of Rocks

I did about six loads this size. Didn’t want to go too heavy. Rocks are heavy. Damp soil is also heavy. I think we will eventually re-use the rocks in the landscape, but I’m not entirely sure how I want to do that yet. The soil here is much less clayey than where we lived previously. It does stick together if you squeeze it, and it feels a little slippery, but it’s not nearly as rock-hard as where we used to live. I’m pretty sure you could have thrown pots from that stuff.

Making Progress

Making Progress

Check it out, I found the bottom. The ditch is somewhere around a couple feet deep. We’ll need to put a bridge or something over it to lead to the stairs that go up the slope, and the previous owners ran electrical wire over it to light the slope, and held that in place with more rocks in the ditch. Another bridge or something will need to go there.

Well, three feet out of a hundred’s not bad, and I’m starting on the more-full side. Next step should be dealing with the large grasses that are growing over there. I’d like to pull them out and transplant them somewhere they won’t be in the way, though ideally I’d cut them back with a string trimmer before I do that. Problem being that I don’t own one, so I’ll need to fix that sometime soon. In the meantime, I’ll just keep clearing out the rest of it.

I wanted to take a picture of Pile O’ Rock Land, Home of the Happy Lizard People, where I am dumping these rocks and soil until we’re ready to use them, and I did. Problem being that the sun was right on it and blew out the color for half of it. I’ll post one the next time I update on this.

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