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How to Build a Dry Streambed

Control erosion and enhance your garden with this natural-looking solution

Fine Gardening - Issue 141
No one has to live with those ugly gullies that hard rains leave behind. When you’ve got a spot where runoff is ruthlessly washing away everything in its path, there’s one attractive fix that won’t break the bank: a dry streambed. For the do-it-yourselfer, building a dry streambed is a relatively simple weekend project, requiring only a shovel, some landscape fabric, and a wide selection of stones. (Heavy machinery and big boulders are strictly optional.) The trickiest part is crafting a design that looks natural. Although a dry streambed is essentially a rock-lined drainage ditch, you don’t want it to look like one. With a little insight on how real creeks are shaped and formed, you can create a streambed that complements the rest of your garden and sends your erosion woes packing. Five Rules for a Natural Look In nature, water flows over land in predictable ways. To design…

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