I can’t believe we finished the irrigation trenches. I did not expect them to get done today, but it happened. I’ve been so sick of our yard looking like a disaster and imagining the neighbors’ disgust. We’ve had wood chip pile for about a month and have been working on trenches for three weeks and people ask things like “what happened?” And “what are you guys doing here?”. It is always with kindness or curiosity (we are lucky to have a really wonderful neighborhood) but I started getting really impatient with the project.
The goal with the irrigation is to capture gutter water and slowly sink it into the soil using perforated drainage pipe nestled in wood chips. The gutters from this house run straight into the street, making the yard a desert and wasting the precious water.
First we dug trenches, then we cut the pipe to the proper length (it’s very easy to cut.)
Then we covered it with wood chips. After that, you wouldn't even really know the pipes were there.
Now we’ve go our swale trails! A swale is a ditch designed to catch water, and this one is made into a pathway for gardens that are short on space. Will it work? I don’t know. I'm beginning to have some doubts. But I have fully accepted that we're going to make some mistakes because we've never done any of this before. There will be some inefficiencies and extra work done as we try some things. Worst case scenario is the perforated pipe won’t work but we dug some beneficial swales.
Maybe you’re not bored with this post yet. Maybe you noticed that there is no gutter attached to these pipes. You have a long attention span and you are also correct. We currently run a connecting pipe from the driveway downspout to these swales. It’s not ideal because it crosses the driveway, but water was treated like garbage on this property. (Improperly disposed garbage, at that.) The downspouts are designed to go straight to the sewer, and the driveway is double paved so there’s no median to sink the gallons of water coming from that downspout. It’s all just thrown away without a thought. Water from roofs is a great boon, and if you slow it and sink it into your yard, you’re saving water!
The moral is: get greedy, keep your water.
These swale trails are ostensibly what we ordered the wood chips for and it’s hilarious because they required a total of about 20 shovelfuls of chips.