A River (Sometimes) Runs Through It – Part 2
Last week I set the stage for another “before and after” design problem and solution. This garden is on a normal-sized suburban lot in Bethesda, MD. It came with a daunting topographical problem in rainy times. Click here to see the “before ” pictures.
As explained in the last post, I decided to use a dry stream bed concept to cope with the periodic gully washers while providing a welcoming feel to the front yard. Plantings that went in included serviceberry trees (Amelanchier x ‘Autumn Brilliance’), hostas, Louisiana iris, Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), and variegated redtwig dogwoods (Cornus alba ‘Ivory Halo’), to name just a few.
The neighbors at the bottom of the hill have paid us the ultimate compliment by saying they have “the best view in the neighborhood.”
Even the county culvert area got a facelift that makes it look like part of the garden. Here’s the “before” photo from last week.
And now, “after.”
It’s been over five years since we planted the garden. The streambed has worked well, although ironically, two summers ago it was so dry that the owners decided to install an irrigation system just for the bed areas. Last summer’s torrential rains have once again proven the value of the design. We continue to tweak the beds here and there. The garden has won an award and been published in some magazine articles and even a book. But my greatest pleasure, beyond its success from a design standpoint, is watching it change with the seasons, and learning to photograph it in challenging light conditions which can be frustrating or rewarding. I’ll leave you with two favorite shots, the first taken from the same perspective as the opening “before” image,
and my favorite, the garden bathed in late-afternoon light.
There seems to be a wealth of references and online information about dry streambeds these days. I recommend it as a design solution to what can be otherwise daunting drainage issues. And it has the added benefit of allowing you to dress up the banks with appropriate plantings. Another example of making lemonade from lemons!Explore posts in the same categories: landscape, Landscape design solutions, photography comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.