Transforming drainage issues into beautiful garden features

June 3, 2016

Drainage and management of storm water runoff is becoming more regulated and everyone is becoming more aware of the issues improper infrastructure can create. We are seeing an increasing number of new homes and remodels with drainage “issues”.

Woodinville curtain drain before - Sublime Garden Design

Woodinville curtain drain before – Sublime Garden Design

Managing drainage on-site is very important but typically drainage features are an eyesore that get placed in the most visible area of the yard much like septic lids. This can seem like an impenetrable obstacle when planning a garden but it can become an asset to add to the aesthetics of the garden.

We have had a few projects recently with dispersion trenches or curtain drains that have presented design challenges.

We were able to transform the unsightly utilitarian drains into beautiful garden features.

This project in Woodinville not only had a curtain drain but septic lids to work around. Both of which reduced the usable area in the yard and directed how the space could be used. We added boulders, mixed size cobble, and plantings to transform the curtain drain into a decorative dry stream. The once straight line of drain rock now mimics the flow of a meandering stream. The drain that was once talked about by the homeowners as if it were a four letter word is now a feature that they love. Once the plants grow in around the septic lids they will be almost invisible as well.

Try these tactics to transform your drainage issues into an asset to your garden.

  1. Transforming a french drain or curtain drain into a dry stream by adding larger boulders, mixed size cobble, and adjusting the edges to make a meandering flow.
  2. Add plantings around unsightly features like septic lids to mask the area and provide something beautiful to look at.
  3. Draw your eye to a different part of the yard by creating a focal point with a specimen tree or alluring garden feature.

Also see ways to put rainwater to use in your garden and how to improve the drainage in your yard.


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