Dry Creek needs to finished. Any ideas on artistic landscapers?

bagsmom(7)December 28, 2009

We have a cottage-y house with a woodsy, natural area behind it. I love it. One of our home improvement projects was digging a dry creek along the entire length of the property, to direct water away from house and down the gentle hill to to the woods, which is very dry and could benefit from moisture. The lot is long and skinny -- the dry creek is long.

It is functioning fine as is. "As is" consists of a big ditch of red clay, now growing full of weeds and eroding in an artistic manner! (We may have the second Grand Canyon!)

Our plan has always been to finish the creek with landscape cloth, pebbles, river rock, plantings, etc. In reality (obviously) we are having a hard time getting to this. Because of the size and shape, and the way the lot is configured, in some areas, we will probably have to cement some of the stone in place. Now that I think of it, this will probably be more like the kind of work involved in building a natural-looking pond and stream.

My question is this..... do any of you know of a landscaper who excels in natural looking work? I have seen too many dry creeks that look horrible -- like a big ditch filled with egg shaped rocks. Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Hate that look.

We want it to really look like a creek bed in a natural area. I have already done the digging and grading -- the shape curves and meanders nicely. I just need someone with some know-how, artistry, materials, and skilled strong people to do the work.

Does anyone come to mind? (I'm in Marietta.)


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I would be happy to take a look at your project. There may be one or two people here who can vouch for my work.

I would provide you with sample stone of varying colors and sizes to give a more natural look. It is important to use larger stones to break up the conformity of a dry stream bed and I like to use large grasses and beds of grasses or large beds of Day Lillies, Daffodils or Iris on dry stream beds to break up the amount of stone needed as well as what is seen.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 5:05PM
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Wow - your work is gorgeous! My husband and I have a good vision of what we hope to accomplish -- but neither the energy, nor the time, nor the strength.

Now if we only had the money!

Just for fun, maybe I can figure out how to add pictures to my post, so you can see what I'm talking about.

If we can swing it financially --maybe Spring?--I'd love to seriously start talking about getting this finished!

I take it you do this professionally, so I don't want to just pick your brain for free. Not a cool thing to do! I guess what I need is an estimate on the project cost, with labor and materials priced separately -- then I can see if it is worth it to tackle it myself, or not. Maybe I can send you some pictures and measurements, just to give you an idea. What do you think?

Let me tell you, the year I dug the creek, I was in WONDERFUL shape! Better than a dedicated year at the gym! I loved doing it, too! That sort of work is fun to me!

Let's "talk" more as time passes! Right now it's too cold to put my nose out the door! :)


    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 5:45PM
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I feel your pain; it is hard to get rock work in streams and waterfalls to look really natural. I think BIG rocks are the key. The best way I know to find someone is to look at finished work and see if it's what you want. You could go on garden tours and to garden shows to see more examples. You could also collect pictures of real streams that you'd like to imitate.

I'm not sure landscape fabric works in the long run. I see a lot of projects where the fabric gets exposed and looks bad.

Vroomp, I like your rock work, especially the wall in the first picture that mixes thin rock with bigger rock. How big of rock can you work with? I'm thinking a stream should have rock as large as 3'x3'x5', at least in some places, like at outside of a curve. I suppose that would take some big equipment.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 11:44PM
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Oh yeah! I am ALL for boulders! I am envisioning a nice big boulder partially dug into the ground in places.

Also -- and this may be hard to explain, so bear with me -- the "creek" is going to be the walkway down the side of the property. Plantings will be up along the side, mostly.

I know I went on and on about a natural look, and now I am contradicting myself, but we want to use some sturdy, medium to large size flat rocks in the bottom of the "streambed" that will be ok to walk on. Not like an actual path or sidewalk, by any means -- but there are areas where the streambed is the most logical place to walk. I still want it to look natural, with a variety of rock sizes -- but it will serve a couple of purposes -- draining rainwater and providing a walkway.

I am really going to try to get some pictures on here.

How do you do it I have a mac computer with IPhoto.

I guess I'll have to have my husband help me one night. I am good with plants, not so good with computers! :)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 8:35AM
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Photos must be stored online at a hosting site. I like Photobucket since they store up to 5 gigs for free. It is difficult to post the command line for posting here since the computer recognizes it as a picture but, it is: greater than symbol "" The only spaces are between img and src=.

I can move up to 500 pound boulders into place without equipment however, if we have access we can do a much faster job with a bobcat and small excavator. Any damage done by equipment is easily repaired by hand after stone placement is completed.

The first photo shows an English style wall without mortar. The stones are simply stacked properly with a solid base and gravity does the rest. I also live in Marietta so it's no big deal to come over to take a look. I do not charge for estimates however, if you require a design (and I have landscape software for this) I do charge for the time to design and implement plant choices. Usually around $250-$500 depending on scale of the project. I use a program that allows me to take an actual photo of the area and install stones, plants and hardscape items as needed. I can also produce overhead designs as well. If you would like to discuss this further please click on my name and follow the link to my email. Gardenweb does not like solicitations on the message boards.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to do everything on gardenweb

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 5:52PM
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    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 2:49PM
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Alice - although I don't see it on this thread, at some point, my "dry creek in progress" came up. Someone - either Esh or Shot, I think - included a link to a google search.

Go ahead and google "dry creek bed images" - you will pull up all sorts of wonderful photographs!

My husband and I did this the other night. It really gives some good ideas!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 9:46AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Make sure your dry creek is calculated for MAXIMUM load and made both deep enough and wide enough to handle the flow of water and also any *suprises* you may encounter. I think the street behind us, their sewer inlet clogged again, we have a lake now almost completely engulphing our 2nd lot, and the water way we had made is not nearly the size to hold rain like we've had today , and are getting on a fairly regular basis right now. If I had more real landscaping, it would have just all been torn out and ruined! The water way is actually fed by the other side, which is now about 15'-20' wide at the "inlet" and there is no way a dry creek can handle that. So make sure they make what they think you need able to handle a lot more than they think....

At least every time this happens I get a better and better idea of where the fruit trees are going to have to go to keep their feet relatively dry...

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 5:04PM
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