planting around a french drain

tialisa(z5a IL)June 18, 2004

Hello,

I am putting a patio in an area where my yard slopes slightly *toward* the patio, and one corner of the patio will be in the spot where water tends to collect after a rain.

So, I have researched french drains and it is all laid out and designed. I want to create a nice, slightly curving, rocky area around the patio for a) a nice effect and b) to disguise where the french drain is.

Let's assume that the patio and french drain are designed correctly, because I did review this with an architect friend (who is NOT a gardener).

My question is this - Should I line the trench with landscape fabric (like most plans recommend) or should I just fill the trench with (approx) 12 inches of rock and plant away?

Should I avoid plants with thick, fiberous roots and choose plants with nice deep tap roots? What is best for contributing to fast absorption into the soil?

My other option is to skip direct planting altogether and use potted plants and sculpture for decoration.

Thanks!

(No pictures yet, still in design phase!)

Lisa

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enchantedplace

Have been thinking about your inquiry for quite a while. We have done a similar thing (not exactly a french drain) to catch run off from our rain gutter. We cleaned off the area well, laid heavy cardboard, and then covered it with pea gravel. We used a flexible edging to keep the gravel where we wanted it to separate from a grassy area. I put some ensata iris in the run off area and there is mint in there also. The iris have a rather short bloom period but were outstanding and the foliage remains attractive. I have a favorite mint growing there, but it needs periodic trimming and thinning and will put out very long runners if not kept disciplined. Thinking about your inquiry, thick fibrous vs nice deep tap root, I think the nice deep tap root might be the better choice, although I love the fragrance of the mint. EP

    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 4:43PM
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enchantedplace

Our drain area is a few feet out from the house between a grassy area along the house and a garden area. We put on a topping of river rock and the ensata iris and mint are at the end where the water collects with other plants in the garden area which includes various perennial and container plants. Your idea sounds attractive. EP

    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 7:26PM
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tialisa(z5a IL)

Thanks so much - I like the iris idea, and I think their root system would work well in the rock. This would be too close to the lawn for mint, but I already have pots and pots of different varieties on my porch!

- Lisa

    Bookmark   July 2, 2004 at 10:45AM
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