Asked by: Daksha Tahlmann
home and garden landscaping

How does a swale work?

Last Updated: 5th June, 2020

Swales as used in permaculture are designedtoslowand capture runoff by spreading it horizontally acrossthelandscape(along an elevation contour line), facilitatingrunoffinfiltrationinto the soil. In arid climates, vegetation(existingor planted)along the swale can benefit fromtheconcentration ofrunoff.

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Furthermore, how do drainage swales work?

Swales follow the contours around the baseofanatural or created slope, redirecting storm waterandfilteringrunoff as it sinks into the soil, instead of keeping itinoneplace, like a rain garden. Plants suck up the wateralongaswale's gently sloping banks and sometimes downthecenterof the channel.

Furthermore, what is a swale in a yard? A swale's job is to slow down the waterandkeepsome of it in your soil. Swales are ditchesortrenchesbuilt to direct and slow the flow of rainwater so thatithas achance to sink into the soil. A swale can emptyintoariver, pond or storm sewer.

Beside this, how do you make a swale?


  1. Site the swales.
  2. Attach the line to the stakes at the same distance upfromthebottom.
  3. Pound in stakes once you've found the contourforyourswale.
  4. Dig a level trench.
  5. Get the bottom of the trench flat and level.
  6. Begin filling the swale.
  7. Add bulk material, like rotten wood.
  8. Add a final cover material, like straw.

What is the difference between a ditch and a swale?

As nouns the difference betweenditchandswale is that ditch is or ditch can beatrench;a long, shallow indentation, as for irrigation ordrainagewhileswale is a low tract of moist or marshy landorswalecan be (uk|dialect) a gutter inacandle.

Related Question Answers

Rossmery Cruz


What is the purpose of a swale?

A swale is a shady spot, or a sunkenormarshyplace. In particular, in US usage, it is a shallowchannelwithgently sloping sides. Such a swale may be eithernaturalorman-made. Artificial swales are ofteninfiltrationbasins,designed to manage water runoff, filterpollutants, andincreaserainwater infiltration.

Vitali Hilpisch


How do I keep water away from my house foundation?

Proper drainage is the best way to keepwaterawayfrom your home's foundation. Install a Frenchdrainsystemaround the house foundation – Dig atrencharound thefoundation, line it with gravel, and placeadrain withperforations in it to pull the water away.Coverthe drainwith gravel and add soil over it.

Polivio Heinkel


Does a French drain need an exit?

A French drain needs a slope of no lessthan1%.That means from the highest point of the drain fieldalltheway to the drain exit, the system shouldslopeatleast 1 inch for every 8 feet of length.

Maryanna Estebaranz


What is the difference between a French drain and a trench drain?

However, unlike the French drain,thetrenchdrain is a surface drainage structure.Atrenchdrain is a device designed to intercept andcollectsurfacewater over a long expanse. Even though a trenchdrainisembedded in the ground, it is technicallyasurfacedrainage mechanism designed to clearwaterawayfast.

Donis Jenke


What is the difference between a curtain drain and a French drain?

Curtain drains essentially do the samethingthatfrench drains do- get rid of the water.Themaindifference is that french drains dealmorewithgroundwater while curtain drains have more todowithsurface water. Curtain drains are built inaverysimilar way to french drains but are dug toashallowdepth.

Berto Moll


What is a drainage ditch called?

drainage ditch(noun) a ditchforcarryingoff excess water or sewage.

Aguasantas Beyersdorff


What does grading a yard mean?

Grading – in landscaping we usethetermgrading when we talk about gently slopingyouryardaway from the foundation of your home. Leveling–levelingyour lawn or yard area is simply theprocessofcreating a smooth even surface that doesn't haveunnecessarybumpsor groups.

Xinhua Vollbrecht


What is the difference between a bioswale and a rain garden?

Bioswales achieve the same goalsasraingardens by slowing and filtering stormwater, butaredesignedto manage a specified amount of runoff from alargeimperviousarea, such as a parking lot or roadway. Likeraingardens,they are vegetated with plants that canwithstand bothheavywatering and drought.

Adalberon Avtorhanov


How do I divert my patio water?

  1. BUILD A BERM, a small hill covered with grass orotherplantsthat will divert runoff around what you want toprotect.
  3. GRADE BROAD SURFACES to direct runoff away fromhouses,sheds,barns, and patios.
  4. INTERCEPT THE WATER by using a swale, a shallow ditchwithgentlysloping sides.

Emmanouil Laparra


What can you grow in a swale?

However, clover, most grasses, comfrey, andnumerousotherplants will tolerate the occasional inundationthatoccurs atthe bottom of a swale. The berm is the bestplacetoplant fruit trees, berry bushes, vine, herbs,flowers,andanything else that likes loose, rich soil, butrequiresexcellentdrainage.

Arlindo Josef


What is the purpose of a rain garden?

Rain gardens typically rely on plantsandanengineered soil media to soak up stormwater whileabsorbingandfiltering pollutants carried in urban runoff.Raingardenscan improve water quality in nearby water bodiesandhelp rechargegroundwater.

Ishak Browning


How does a dry well work?

A dry well or drywell isanundergroundstructure that disposes of unwanted water, mostcommonlysurfacerunoff and stormwater, and in some cases greywater.It isacovered, porous-walled chamber that allows water toslowlysoakinto the ground (that is, percolate), dissipatingintothegroundwater.

Turruchel Arsky


What is a swell in a yard?

Swells are used out doors in the landscapeinareasthat have hills. Instead of having a hillside slide downwhenthereis heavy rain, a swell is installed andtheswellredirects and help remove the water to helpwitherosion control.Swells look like open shallow ditchesandcan run horizontallyor vertically.

Elitsa Abzhalilov


What is a berm and swale?

Berms are raised beds that can be usedtodirectwater to swales. They are the equivalent of theslopeinroad used to push water off the middle of the roadtowardthecurbs. Ideally, berms and swales should be designedintothelandscape where there is any noticeable slope to slowandcapturerunoff.

Saludina Weitenhofer


What is a concrete swale?

Concrete Flowline (CCFL)
A swale is a depression created in thegroundthatcarries water runoff by gravity away from damaging yourhomeorproperty. Therefore, a swale collects the water bybeingthelowest point in a given area and then is pitched towhereveryou wantthe water to go.

Florica Nesci


How do you redirect water?

6 Ways to Divert Water
  1. 6 Tricks to Keep Water at Bay.
  2. Dig a Swale. A swale is a shallow trench that redirectswatertowhere it can be safely released.
  3. Construct a Dry Stream. Like swales, dry streamsredirectwaterand prevent runoff damage.
  4. Grow a Rain Garden.
  5. Build a Berm.
  6. Route Water into a Dry well.
  7. Lay Pervious Paving.

Gleva Forgg


How much does a swale cost?

Surface swale: Estimate at $.50 persquarefoot.These slightly depressed flow lines are createdthroughgrading.Surface may be lawn or cobbles to help slow velocityandfilterdebris. French drain: Estimate $20.00 to $30.00perlinearfoot.

Yalal Glubotsky


How do I stop erosion in my yard?

The best way to prevent erosion is bycoveringyoursoil. Bare soil is vulnerable to both wind andrainerosion.Soil needs to be covered year-round in order tobeprotected.Directing runoff to a small swale or rain garden canaddbeauty toyour yard and protecttheenvironment.

Pascua Michler


How do you keep your yard from flooding in the rain?

Elevation: Flooding generally occurs inlowareasof the yard and elevating these areascaneffectivelyprevent flooding. You can elevate low areasbyaddingtopsoil and mulch which will stop therainwaterfrompooling.