Need Raingarden advice
Greetings All !
My wife and I own a circa-1905 house. When we bought the house, it had one big, obvious drainage issue:
When it'd rain, a large portion of the water coming off of our roof would end up going down the set of steps directly in front of our house, along the street... and ended up totally eroding those steps.
We have completely replaced those steps. Now, why was the water doing this?
Rainwater would be dumped off of the left side of the house (as you face it), through the downspout, out into an actual "gutter"-like depression in the sidewalk that runs from our back door on around to our front door.
Now this depression seems to guide the water into the lawn. However, there's no french drain and the elevation of the grass was about the same as the concrete. So, what'd happen is, the water would make a 90 degree turn (since the sidewalk made that turn as well) and head towards the steps at the base of our front porch. Once it got there, it would make a 90 degree right turn, travel about 20 feet, and then go on down those front steps.
So, my thinking was... somewhere along the line, that "gutter" was supposed to guide the water into... something. Our front lawn is pretty much flat until you get within 15 feet of the street. There was no sign of a French drain.
So, I thought I'd dig a depression into the soil and leave an island for some plants. This was my idea of a rain garden.
And when it comes to handling the water flow, it works. However, I made my island a bit big. Plus I ran it a bit close to the concrete sidewalk (which is in need of repair and will probably be repaired later this year).
The end effect is: it looks odd. Everybody thinks it looks strange.
So I need to redesign this to make it look more natural and yet still capture the run-off.
Here are some photos I took the other day. Pardon the fact that everything looks brown so it may be a bit hard to see the shape of it clearly. I tried to compensate by taking photos from several angles.
This is taken standing in front of where the gutter "ends" abruptly...and where the flow into the raingarden therefore starts.:
Here's a photo taken from the opposite side. You can get a better idea of how the sidewalk snakes around from this photo:
For this picture, I wish it was summer. You could see the edges of the "trench" more clearly, if it were. I typically take a shovel and scrape out the bottom once per year, to make sure the water still flows in nicely. This rain garden has existed like this for two seasons now:
This photo shows how the gutter ends abruptly and also how I've dug a slope that becomes a sort of "y-shaped" trench, instead of a true depression.:
And here's one showing that sidewalk with the gutter-like depression on the left.:
I had one fellow tell me that I need to "shrink" my island in the center / make the whole thing more of a true bowl, but then he suggested I lay sod down in the trench so the whole thing is grass-covered.
I know I need to move one side of the depression out further from the sidewalk, so as to not "undermine" it. And I know the whole thing looks ugly and unnatural.
But can anyone make any recommendations how I can "correct" this ugly thing? Maybe I need to see some examples of what others have done in similar situations?
-= Dave =-