Create the illusion of a once-bubbling stream without the fuss. A dry creek bed adds interest and texture to areas of your landscape where plants have difficulty thriving. It mimics the movement of water and how it meanders its way around and over stones of varying sizes.
A dry creek bed is more than simply a ditch with rocks in it. Whether you are trying to divert drainage or stop erosion, this landscape feature is easier to build than it looks.
Build a Dry Creek Bed:
- Look for channels where water flows after a rain. Mark the natural flow with landscaping paint to shape out the creek bed. Design with curves and vary the width for a realistic look.
- Dig a trench along the markings varying in depth up to 8”. Save the soil that you remove to build up the sides of the creek bed.
- Tamp the ground firm to create a flat surface with angled sides.
- Line the inside of the creek bed with landscaping fabric to prevent weeds.
- Cover the entire bed with ½” of crushed pea gravel. The gravel’s texture stops erosion.
- Lay the largest rocks first, placing them at the bends of curves and randomly along the outer lines of the creek bed.
- Fill in the rest of the bed with a mix of different sized smooth stones.
- Plant low-growing and drought-tolerant plants along the sides of the creek bed to soften the borders.