Small Scale Swale Building

Clear area of debris. (27kb) Lay out the path of the swale with a frame level (notice the bottle hanging in the center cross bar) or a builders level/transit. (30kb) Define the space and observe runoff patterns. (28kb) It is very important to scrape all material below swale down to the soil. Anything left under the berm of the swale will allow water to flow through like a straw. (36kb) Dig the swale on contour remembering to close off the ends. (29kb)
 It is hard work, so take your time and enjoy the process. More hands make lighter work... Remember, this will recharge the wells of people down stream from them, so find out who lives there and invite them to participate. (25kb) This is the cool part... watch them fill up, drop out the sediment and start to recharge the aquifer. Over time they will infiltrate water fast and faster. (49kb) I planted Timber Bamboo between the swales to take advantage of the moisture. In a few years these have grown into a thick forest of Bamboo. (36kb) The shade from this grove helps keep the ground moist and cool below bringing live back to this clearcut forest. (35kb)