November 15, 2012

A large scale project was developed for the Orchard Gardens by Craig Sponholtz of Dryland Solutions and Reese Baker of The RainCatcher to manage storm water, prevent gullying and the development of rivulets that would, if unchecked, lead to larger erosion issues, and to encourage groundwater recharge.

  • A long rock-lined drainage swale begins uphill of the garden and continues through the Meadow Garden area, continuing through drain pipes beneath the Central Walkway, feeding into a series of Zuni Bowls stepping down the arroyo bank.
  • The swale features a number of infiltration basins along its length that will encourage water to pool and ultimately seep into the soil.
  • Step pools will slow the flow of water as it approaches the ponding area called the Veronica Pool sculpted into the Meadow Garden.
  • In some areas gravel mulch will serve as flow collectors to encourage infiltration.
  • The entire length of the drainage swale was seeded with Sheep Fescue at the time it was installed.  The grass will soften the appearance of the rockwork. Over time these structures will virtually disappear into the fully mature garden, but will continue to function as designed.

UPDATE – July 31, 2013- See the project in action during a summer storm >>

See photos below of the construction process: