Transforming A Boggy Muddy Mess into a Beautiful Side Garden

Hillside springs eroding the soil - water flowing down a lengthy side garden - a pile of mud on the sidewalk - a boggy muddy mess!  

Homeowners Bruce and Maureen envisioned a beautiful side garden, but first had to fix their boggy muddy mess; my challenge du jour.  To remove the excess surface water, we designed multiple French drains and dry wells, and covered the unsightly drains with decorative rock to simulate a natural creek bed, curving it around 10 existing, highly cherished, adult blueberry bushes.  All was a success, as fall, winter and spring came and went, and the ground never became a bog, nor was there ever a mud pile on the sidewalk below.

This summer, the fun part began with a garden design around the creek bed with new and existing plant material.  The biggest challenge was to safely relocate the blueberry bushes that were bearing fruit at the time.  All was a success, except that days later we were hit by hot 90+ degree weather, so some of the plant material took a bit of a hit, but quickly bounced back with more normal Portland summer temperature (80's) and some supplemental hand-watering. 

To build the new planting berms, we used a 4-way garden soil mix, and a dark compost for top dressing, both from Grimms in Tualatin, OR.  To build the dry creek bed, we used a mix of rock sizes from Smith Rock in Portland, OR. 

No more boggy muddy mess… in its place, a beautiful garden…yea!  

Check out the before and after photos below...Enjoy!

Love, Holly ~ Your Queen Bee at The White Pear

Transformed side garden with dry creek bed.  Looking up towards the woods. Photo by Fred Stickley / StickleyCreative

Transformed side garden with dry creek bed.  Looking up towards the woods.
Photo by Fred Stickley / StickleyCreative

What we started with.  Looking up towards the woods.  The existing short rock wall was hidden from view by shrubs in need of selective pruning. Photo by Fred Stickley / StickleyCreative

What we started with.  Looking up towards the woods.  The existing short rock wall was hidden from view by shrubs in need of selective pruning.
Photo by Fred Stickley / StickleyCreative

Creek Bed Trench Maureen 960.jpg

A garden hose works great to lay out the path for the dry creek bed. 
Photo by Fred Stickley / StickleyCreative

Going over plant care with Bruce and Maureen.  I love this part of the design process! Photo by Fred Stickley / StickleyCreative

Going over plant care with Bruce and Maureen.  I love this part of the design process!
Photo by Fred Stickley / StickleyCreative