Andrew, I have watered much less than my neighbors do, who generally only do it in the hot summer at night. I did it occasionally, maybe once every week or two during a bad summer drought, whereas they probably did it 2-3 times a week instead. I think it is primarily this that led
to the patchiness which still persists. I have bermuda grass as well as a thicker bunching grass growing there and they do bounce back somewhat after drought, but not fully in my case.
Bertolt, That is a very interesting idea. I'm sure that helps build up the soil and moisture retention over time. I don't have that much compost material that doesn't already get put to use elsewhere, but I will consider that in the future. I usually tuck it under mulch
, put it into a compost pile, or into the center of a banana circle type bed I recently added.
Anyway, I have a better a-frame and I have spent some more time mapping out the contour lines, though, so here is some updated information that might change things a bit. First, the stump is not actually raised. All the upper parts have broken off and it is a depression at this point. It's not defining the shape of the ground in any way either. I plant to just dig up a few chunks to bury in hugelbeds. Anyway, I decided to map my contour lines onto a google street view picture of my house from before I moved in. Here are the updated contour lines more accurately measured:
(All the pictures are reduced size from the forum, but the link is to the actual full size image.)
My interpretation of the original high sunken area to hydrate the lawn:
I am a bit afraid of this plan for a few reasons.
A - I have foundation problems that will be soon checked out and worked on. I want my plan to draw water a bit away from the house before sinking in. Also I want to distribute the water that is near the house evenly around the edge and especially the sides of the house, which no rooftop runoff currently hydrates. In addition the right side is planted densely with trees and shrubs too close to the house, further draining it of moisture comparatively.
B - I think a sink on the top of the hill would concentrate water where I already have too much and wouldn't get it to all the lower dryer
spots. It also would only catch a small amount of rain actually falling on the lawn, about 1/3 or less I'd guess. The dry parts downhill would be hydrated from underground
more I'm sure, but the right third of it wouldn't and the side of my house certainly wouldn't get any help.
I think my lawn's contour gives my the opportunity to spread that roof runoff and falling rain to every inch of my yard, even the side. Here are a few ideas I have tinkered with.
This idea has basically 3 medium swales. One diverts water slightly from the house and stores it above the left tree. This swale could also feed
near to the front door beds that would be convenient to check. The second swale feeds the right side of the house and the right tree capturing much of the hill runoff as well as right-side roof runoff. The lowest swale allows a second near path cultivation area as well as surrounding the existing natural pit to use some of that water. I imagine this would stay pretty moist if protected properly with plant cover and mulch.
This idea uses rather small swales more thoroughly covering the lawn. It winds water in a zig zag path that should fully hydrate the lawn both above and below the trees. It allows 3 spots near the walkway that pass possible beds.
This idea is mainly 1 large swale that will pick up hill runoff as well as both roof runoffs and help hydrate the lower portion of the lawn. I added a small swale near the front walkway and capturing the left roof runoff, mainly to have a near the front door location and to not allow all the water to run down to the large swale directly.
I hope my many solicitations for advice will help others besides me as well. I really appreciate it.