a sun flare on the left streams over a green lawn with a two small hills

Using a swale to manage storm water

What is a swale?

One important tool for storm water management is swales. So what is a swale? Simply put, a swale is a natural-looking excavated channel in your yard. It is designed to direct and control storm water, sending it away from your home into an area of your yard where it can drain off into the surrounding soil.

What does it do?

At its heart, a swale is a subtle indentation in the ground used to direct stormwater.  Swales are used to steer surface stormwater discharge away from and around anything important on your property.  This includes your home’s foundation, accessory structures and outbuildings, as well as important landscaping.

Swales are also a useful tool for regulating the speed of stormwater.  The grading and size of a swale can be tactfully used to keep water from rolling too quickly down hills. This ensures protection for your home against large floods of rainwater during heavy storms. It also prevents erosion of delicate landscaping and hillsides.  

A swale can also be set up to direct rainwater to your plants and trees.  They take water from a portion of your yard that receives too much and moves it to a portion that receives too little. A swale is a perfect technique for natural irrigation! Swales are great at improving the potential of your property’s landscaping!

How is a storm water management added to my property?

A swale is an intentional natural “gutter” for water.  Taking inspiration and design cues from their naturally occurring counterparts, manmade versions look natural and can enhance the beauty of your yard.  Swales are installed by grading and excavating your property using heavy equipment. It is important to hire a professional excavator to do the job. This makes sure that your storm water management is properly and beautifully installed.

There are many questions involved in properly designing a storm water management for your property’s needs. The two foremost questions are where should it go and how big does it need to be? These questions are answered by analyzing the existing grades of your yard and estimating how much stormwater will run through that section of the property. After the size and placement of your swale is determined, it can be dug.

First, a shallow trench is excavated along the planned path of the swale. Then gently grading the sides of the trench down to the bottom. This grading is subtle and intentional. It is what keeps the swale looking soft and natural as opposed to just an ugly trench across your yard.  After the swale is created, it can either be hayed and seeded or sodded.

Do you think your property would benefit from a swale?  C.A. Taciak & Sons performs various stormwater management solutions which you can read about here. Get in touch with us if you’d like to add a swale to your lawn. We are happy to give you more information on the process.

Share this Post