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Swale Drains and How They Help Lakes & Rivers

We’ve all heard not to allow nutrients from our yard to run into the lake, But how to diminish it is the question. Let your runoff filter through the ground on its way to the lake by building a swale drain. They help keep direct runoff out of the lake. And they can be made to look pretty while being functional.

Swale drains are broad, shallow ditches that are meant to catch water as it makes its way down to the lake. To beautify them, they can be lined with rocks, ground cover plants, or even (unfertilized) grass. Depending on where it is placed, a swale drain can also help with flooding and erosion in your yard.

To make a swale drain, first, figure out where water in your yard tends to run. Then, according to Premiere Ponds and Lighting, of Maryland,, * Mark where the swale drain will go. * Dig a trench as deep as you wish. * If you intend to place rocks in your drain, lay porous landscape fabric down. * Place rocks or gravel in the swale drain, and if desired, place decorative plants to the sides of it. * Solar lights placed along the sides of the “drain” add ambiance in the evening, as well as mark its location in the dark. If your swale drain ends at a drop-off, it is always possible to place a rain barrel at the bottom, to collect water for use in gardens. Swale drains can be placed across a property, parallel to the lake’s edge, to catch and filter water.

Since so many of us are “sheltering at home” now, this may be a great summer project!

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