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Dale's Roof Runoff - French Drain - Sunken Hugelkultur Bed - For Arid Climates  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale's Roof Runoff - French Drain - Sunken Hugelkultur Bed - For Arid Climates

This thread is closely related to one by Jennifer Wadsworth called --- Phoenix Arizona: Making the Salt River Run Again!
http://www.permies.com/t/29199/desert/Phoenix-Arizona-Making-Salt-River#227961

As we've learned from Jennifer, Ludi and others, hugel beds in dry climates retain moisture best when sunk into the landscape. French drains are sunk into the landscape and roof runoff can be directed into a French drain in order to infuse the soil with that water. This prevents the water from being flushed into storm sewers and lost when dry land repels water from a sudden downpour. It naturally follows that hugel beds should become the French drains on water deprived sites where food production is to take place.

It is usual for French drains to be placed in the lowest spot in the landscape. This is fine, but there is no reason why a French drain hugel pit couldn't be placed along swales or in any other spot where flowing water from flash floods could be intercepted. Swales are a great spot to capture eroded top soil. A series of level hugel pits in a swale network, would trap that soil where it is needed.

Back to the Roof

In urban environments, the roof of the house is often higher than any other part of the property, so it would be possible with a little engineering, to run the roof water to the top of the swale system. All of that bird poop, leaves and other stuff that accumulates in roof gutters would be washed into the growing system as well. Alternatively, one big hugel bed/French drain could be placed near the house. When compared to the cost of cisterns and other water storage vessels, hugel pits are bound to be the less expensive option.

Here's how to keep those gutters clean --- Dale's self flushing roof gutters. --- http://www.permies.com/t/29361/rainwater/Dale-flushing-roof-gutters

This thread discusses how to use roof water to clean up dirty rocks for use in building. --- Roof runoff rock rinser --- http://www.permies.com/t/10802/green-building/Roof-runoff-rock-rinser


 
                    
Posts: 238
Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
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I've been working on a hugelbed this summer, to eventually increase my small garden area. I have a good amount of rainwater catchment from the roof, which when it overflows from heavy rain, the runoff has worked it's way alongside the garden rows much like ditch irrigation. And yet I decided to install one of those rainwater filled wicking bed things in the garden area in order to conserve rainwater. Of this wicking bed thing, it is basically a french drain, lined with plastic, filled with fairly clean rocks, and some old carpet & foam rubber padding added within the water holding ditch to wick moisture to the dirt covering. I had to build a dam midway in the french drain because of the natural slope & contour of the garden area. This dam makes the first stage of the ditch somewhat higher than the second stage(lower), and from that second stage, the overflow will hopefully go into the third stage hugelbed area.

I cannot claim 'Arid Climate', but an example nearly the same.

james beam
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Posts: 238
Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
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a few more pixs. Soon the carpet/foam rubber will be overcovered with regular dirt. The plastic sheet is one continuous sheet about 3' wide, seems to hold water OK. I dumped 55 gallons of rainwater in it to make sure, and that half filled it, I estimate the thing probably stores about 100 gallons of water. If I can find some more carpet I might make more than one of these in the garden area.

I like the idea Dale proposes with the gutter flusher/rock cleaning set-up, but I'm not sure how you would get a bucket to fill, and also be above the gutter itself. My current 'rock washer' is to just spread the rock in the pathway where the runoff generally travels. But as time allows I hope to make a french drain in that pathway to divert the rainwater overflow to the garden via several wicking beds. And what is overflow from that, dumps at the hugelbed at the farthest end away from the house.

james beam
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Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Dale and James - fantastic projects and ideas.

Speaking of French drains in swales - I designed a project for two of my neighbors for a little strip of land that divided their two driveways here in the middle of Central Phoenix's historic district. I blogged about the first the first three steps of this project here (a blog I've just started):
http://abundantdesert.com/2013/09/26/collaborative-water-harvesting-driveway-swale-part-1/
http://abundantdesert.com/2013/10/28/collaborative-urban-swale-part-2-design/
http://abundantdesert.com/2013/10/29/collaborative-urban-swale-part-3-installing-the-french-drain/

Part 4 - the planting of the plants is coming - I've just been experiencing some health issues lately and have been in and out of the damned hospital. I'm going to try to make it over to Donna's house this morning and at least flag out where the plants go so she can start to get them in the ground. Here are some preview pics:
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Driveways after a 1" rain event
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Guttering on Suzie's house to flow to french drain
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Before - water shedding topography
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Here's a few more pics of the design and progress:
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After - water absorbing landscape
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building out the gravel bed for the french drain
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downspout flows into french drain with overflow standpipes
 
Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I could see a positive situation develop for anyone who chooses to trap lots of storm water. Many people just want to get rid of the excess water. If you have neighbors who want this, allow them to run their gutters in your direction or better still, help them install a lined leach pit that has a pipe leading to your swales or hugel beds.

It is very common for neighborhood disputes to arise when one neighbor channels their flood water toward a neighbor who doesn't want it. I've listened to many complaints about this. They are often oblivious to the fact that their place is down hill from the others and the real culprit is gravity.

My friend Brian, in Nanaimo, has a place at the base of a big hill. He worked with several uphill neighbors to channel their runoff into a common ditch which has a culvert placed strategically so that it dumps into an artificial stream that feeds a pond. Soil dug out for the pond, was used to make a level play yard on his sloped site. He has a stream, waterfall, and pond, followed by another stream that takes overflow to the ocean. The ditch created a seasonal spring that runs from the side of the hill and trickles into the pond months after the ditch has dried up in spring. The former owner of Brian's place was quite angry with his neighbors over water that made the whole yard behind the house into a soggy mess for half of the year. The rear yard is now usable.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Dale - love that your friend took a "waste" product and turned it into a bounty for himself - the place sounds beautiful!

One of the things I want to do with my blog is encourage water harvesting project. I went over to Donna's place this morning (with my sexy eye patch on) and we staked out where the understory plants will go, I took some pics and I'll post another blog on it.

I also did a similar project at my house with my neighbor's carport "flood waters" - now it feeds an urban orchard hedge (fedge). I need to get that in a blog too. I'm working on the blog of the outdoor shower now. I cannot believe that I don't have pics of the grapes hanging down in the shower - I REMEMBER taking those pics - can't find them - bother!
 
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