Adding a DIY Dry Creekbed to your Landscaping

A dry creek bed is a gully or trench built in order to mimic a natural water feature. They are most often implemented for drainage purposes, and can be quite useful during the Tampa and Sarasota area’s rainy season.

That being said, many look to a DIY dry creekbed simply as an attractive addition to their overall landscape design. You can find examples of dry creek beds which suit your particular needs on any of the DIY photo sites across the internet, such as Pinterest or Houzz.

When choosing a design which is right for you, consider these basic guidelines.

Designing a DIY Dry Creekbed

  • Determine where water naturally flows during a heavy rainfall, or if it pools. If there is a slope, utilize it, if not you will need to dig a trench to allow water runoff. Make sure that the water is not directed towards your house, towards the street – or onto your neighbor’s property!
  • The exact shape of your creek bed will be determined by your existing landscape features, such as trees, rocks or structures.Obtain a natural look by designing curves into the path of the bed, as streams rarely follow straight lines. After outlining your design with landscape paint, dig your dry creek bed (a rototiller may be a great help in this step! )
  • As to the depth of the bed, it should be about twice as wide as deep – so if you have a two foot wide bed, you should dig 1 foot deep.You will need to consider how much water you will need to move in the event of a significant rainfall. Pitch your creek bed at an angle from top to bottom, digging deeper toward the end if your yard in completely flat. You can also bury a catch basin and employ a sump pump to disperse water if appropriate or needed.
  • Line the inside of the creekbed with a landscape fabric or weed mat to prevent excessive growth of weeds.
  • Cover the bed with a thick layer of gravel or coarse sand, then spread river rocks of various sizes and shapes down the length of the creek bed. To make the bed look even more natural, lay stones on their sides, or partially bury larger stones among the river rock.To add boulders, dig out a depression and nestle the boulder within it, showing off the most attractive side. Pack more soil around the sides of the boulder to keep it from moving.
  • Plant native shrubs, ornamental grass or flowers along the banks. Creative dry creekbed ideas also include logs, stepping stones or wooden bridges, and many people choose to add architectural elements to the feature as well.

A DIY dry creekbed is a beautiful addition to any yard. Perhaps more importantly, a dry creekbed will assist Sarasota and Bradenton homeowners with solving drainage issues which may arise during our rainiest seasons.

At Big Earth Landscape Supply, we have everything you need for gorgeous lawns and creative landscaping. Stop by one of our four area locations to speak to experts who are ready to help.