Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Drawbridge

In January of 2012, we received 5 inches of rainfall in a matter of a couple of hours. The rain fell in the early morning hours, but even in the dark we could see that something was very wrong.


We had recently laid down 12 yards of mulch and the timing could not have been worse. The mulch had not had time to settle and floated off to our fence line creating a barrier which caused the water to back up instead of draining away.

In the dark, my hubby and I worked to clear the blockage and the water was able to drain away. By the end of the day, the water had receded leaving a muddy mess.


Fast forward to October 2013. We received 8 inches of rain in what people in Central Texas now refer to as the Halloween flood. The garden flooded again, but this time it wasn't as bad. The main issue causing water to back up this time was the bridge we refer to as our "tractor bridge".

The tractor bridge is a very heavy and strong bridge that was built to accommodate, you guessed it, our tractor. The main problem with this bridge is that there is not enough clearance under it which causes leaves and twigs to clog up the flow. The water backs up, flooding one of my ornamental gardens and finally, when the water gets high enough, it pushes it's way around the bridge.


We decided it was time to raise the bridge. We propped the bridge up temporarily turning it into a sort of drawbridge. While the bridge was in the up position, we added cement cap blocks for the bridge to sit on. The blocks gave us an additional 4 inches; not a lot, but hopefully, enough.


It would be very cool if we could rig up a permanent drawbridge and simply raise the bridge when rain is forecast. Unfortunately, this bridge is super heavy, and my knowledge of such things is somewhat limited. By trade, I'm a database administrator and they don't teach drawbridge 101 at computer school.


In addition to adding the extra clearance under the bridge, we decided it was time to completely eliminate the mulch along the edge of the dry creek. The mulch mostly stayed put, but we decided that decomposed granite would be a better material for the job.


We continue the decomposed granite along the dry creek, past the fire pit and down the path into the meadow. 


Transitioning materials can be tricky.  I wasn't sure how the mulch would work butted directly against the decomposed granite, but I like it.  Now, we just have to see how it holds up against the next big gully washer.



10 comments:

  1. Planning for that record weather event seems to be a key to gardening in Texas. The new paths and transitions look good.

    A lot of people look at our dry creeks and wonder why we would want to move water through the yard so quickly. During those big rain events the water can back up quickly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right Shirley. Whether its drought, floods, or freezes, it pays to be prepared.

      Delete
  2. What a wonderful documentary of the flooding, bridge and control. You've got a good eye for water management. I have mulch and decomposed granite next door to each other and it works, too. Each situation/plant for it's preferred cover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Linda. It's too bad we don't get our rain an inch at a time that would be so much easier to deal with.

      Delete
  3. Those rains were a serious test of our gardens, weren't they? We had some flooding in our garden too, in an area that's been a continual challenge. Ah, well, it keeps us working!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, what's life without a little work. Considering the large amount of rain that fell, we squeeked through pretty good.

      Delete
  4. Ah, the best laid plans!! Our garden fared reasonably well. What we did learn was that we have an aquifer under our house. The excess water came bubbling up for 2 days just outside our master bathroom. If only we could tap into that aquifer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The water table must be very high to cause it to bubble up. That would be cool to see and, of course, even cooler if you could tap into it during dry times.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I will be anxiously awaiting the drawbridge project. You know that you two won't be able to help yourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Whoa! That scale is quite tremendous. In cases like that, you can only cope for the meantime, before larger infrastructural repairs are put in place. What you'll only have to worry about for the now is keeping all the flooding from your basements, or at least dealing with the impact soon as the flooding seeps into your floors, your environs and stuff. But let's still hope for the best.

    Gail Wallace @ Water Damage Restoration Southern California

    ReplyDelete