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Berm, Swale or nothing around pergola

 
Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
156
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
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I'm doing a U-pick, so keep that in mind.

We have a ton of telephone poles we were given and I'm devising various ways to use them. I thought I would do a lovely pergola in between two of my tree planting swales. Now I'm debating on whether I should swale around it to help the plants I plan to allow to grow up it (various grapes, kiwi and hops) or berm and swale or do nothing, as U-pick customers will assuredly use it to rest. I plan to put a few swings and tables in it. Here is another one of my beautiful paint pictures to help. lol

Oh yes, so the only reason I'm wavering is that I don't want people breaking their ankles in the swales around it. Should I just do maybe some mini infiltration basins at each pole???
pergola-planting.png
[Thumbnail for pergola-planting.png]
 
Posts: 95
Location: KY
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My personal preference is that any hole dug in zone 1 or 2 gets filled with mulch. I think it looks better, but I think it also keeps ankles in place. I would try to mitigate any liabilities. I would not try to make a bridge or anything across the swales. You could create a "filter" if needed to keep the mulch in your swales. I am thinking, a row of sticks stuck into the sill an inch or so apart. It would let the water through but hold back the mulch.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
156
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
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Justin Wood wrote:My personal preference is that any hole dug in zone 1 or 2 gets filled with mulch. I think it looks better, but I think it also keeps ankles in place. I would try to mitigate any liabilities. I would not try to make a bridge or anything across the swales. You could create a "filter" if needed to keep the mulch in your swales. I am thinking, a row of sticks stuck into the sill an inch or so apart. It would let the water through but hold back the mulch.



So you're saying Swale it? What do you think about a berm then? Or perhaps swale it and then only berm where I want to plant. I suppose that would be a mound.
 
Justin Wood
Posts: 95
Location: KY
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Of course , it depends on what you are going to plant and what your needs are. I would design with liabilities as my main concern. I don't know the grade of you land. Some of my grade is towards 25 to 30% slope which means no swales for me.

To me, a berm and a swale go hand in hand to create a nice microclimate. The dirt removed to create the swale becomes the berm on the lower side of the swale. You could tweak with that in this situation. You want the swale to be on contour. If the land is flat then a little off contour is not that big a deal. Your berm really doesn't have to be on contour and could vary from from the berm location, but you just have to move that dirt to the place you want it.

A berm does not have to be super tall, but tall might fit your need there. A tall, steep berm might provide a nice boundary around the pergula. You could have an opening for traffic. If the pergula is going to have traffic from all points coming to it and not one "main entrance" then you could do a very low berm with some paths into the pergula.

Again, with liability in mind, I would mulch the swale. No one will be able to recognize it in all probability.

Another factor, you could also hugel the berm. From my experience, hugel beds are an investment. I know that hugel beds can work great from the beginning. But my experience is that a long dry time = death to everything on my hugel mound. I don't irrigate.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
156
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Justin Wood wrote:Of course , it depends on what you are going to plant and what your needs are. I would design with liabilities as my main concern. I don't know the grade of you land. Some of my grade is towards 25 to 30% slope which means no swales for me.

To me, a berm and a swale go hand in hand to create a nice microclimate. The dirt removed to create the swale becomes the berm on the lower side of the swale. You could tweak with that in this situation. You want the swale to be on contour. If the land is flat then a little off contour is not that big a deal. Your berm really doesn't have to be on contour and could vary from from the berm location, but you just have to move that dirt to the place you want it.

A berm does not have to be super tall, but tall might fit your need there. A tall, steep berm might provide a nice boundary around the pergula. You could have an opening for traffic. If the pergula is going to have traffic from all points coming to it and not one "main entrance" then you could do a very low berm with some paths into the pergula.

Again, with liability in mind, I would mulch the swale. No one will be able to recognize it in all probability.

Another factor, you could also hugel the berm. From my experience, hugel beds are an investment. I know that hugel beds can work great from the beginning. But my experience is that a long dry time = death to everything on my hugel mound. I don't irrigate.



My land is pretty much flat. I have some slope but it slopes off of my property, which is an issue. Anyway, the pergola is going to go between 2 current swales. The area is pretty much perfectly flat. I'm doing some infiltration basin planting in between the swales and such. I was thinking a swale the full way around the pergola would be nice so that I could water when it was dry, and it will be dry. I also have clay soil so planting on berms helps with water log problems. I just worry about that liability. lol
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
156
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
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But I've just been putting thought into this so I imagine by spring I'll have some very clear ideas on what is needed.
 
Justin Wood
Posts: 95
Location: KY
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I usually figure out what I want to do after I have finished a project
 
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