Garden with Dry Stream Bed

The Challenge

This upper Capilano Canyon garden had been recently landscaped by “professionals” who had placed sun loving plants in the shade, shade lovers in the sun, planted trees too deep and under power lines, failed to provide proper drainage in the lawn areas, and installed a covered patio area with unsatisfactory materials. The homeowners did not enjoy the lawn area and did not want to hire a lawn service. They wanted to create a garden where both the parents and the children would enjoy spending time playing and relaxing.

The Design

Since the lawn was neither desired nor enjoyed, and the drainage in the area was poor, we decided to create a dry stream bed, which also acted as a swale in times of heavy rain. We utilized all the material from excavation of the stream bed to give more interest through elevation changes. We retained many of the plants that had been installed originally and planted them in appropriate places. We lifted and changed location of the Monkey Puzzle tree which had been planted much too deeply. We added boulders to create points of interest and a natural bridge to cross the “creek” and added a basalt bench for seating. The garden became home to a family of Bushtits, swallowtail butterflies enjoyed the nectar of the Echinacea flowers, and Hummingbirds frequented the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’. Best of all, the resident preschooler was entertained for hours on end by playing with rocks.

The covered patio area at the entry area became home to a re-circulating water feature and seating.