Swamp. Muck. Ditch. Eyesore. Sump pump.

When people describe drainage issues, it is as if they are battling negative Karma. The tone of voice is deadly serious and usually either quiet with fear or animated with outrage. How DARE water flow across my property?

Does God HATE me?

Don’t whine. Water flows downhill. Isn’t that one of Newton’s laws?

If not, it should be. Here’s the plan of attack:

  1. Make sure all downspouts are connected to an underground drainage system. That’s the bumpy black pipes.
  2. Install vegetation that will THRIVE in the drainage area.  Roots are our friend.
  3. Build a dry creek bed to give the water a path to follow.  A little guidance goes a long way.  You can stop here, OR
  4. Construct a walkway with nice, big flat rocks over top of a modified creek bed.

Do-It-Yourself - Dry Creekbed

Like to DIY? Dry creek beds start with an 18” V-shaped ditch.

Fill with the following layers:

  • Landscape fabric
  • A perforated 4” corrugated drain pipe
  • #4 gravel
  • large accent boulders
  • and finally a nice layer of river rock

Do-It-Yourself - Dry Creekbed


The pick-mattock is an excellent tool for digging in clay.