Want The Look Of A Creek But Not The Water? Learn How To Build A Dry Creek Bed

26 March 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If you're like many homeowners, you would love the look of a creek on your property. Building a real creek with water flowing throughout requires expensive electrical work so the water pumps through the area. However, a dry creek bed looks like a real creek and helps with drainage in your backyard. This guide explains how to build a dry creek bed that allows rainwater to flow where you want.

Step 1: Choose and Measure the Area

Determine where your dry creek bed will go and then measure the length and width. Ask your landscaper to help you determine which direction the bed should go to obtain the best drainage possible. Write these measurements down and use them to gather your supplies

Step 2: Purchase Your Supplies

A dry creek bed requires several materials and tools to create. Gather these supplies to make this feature a reality:

  • river rock (enough to cover the space)
  • cobblestones
  • boulders
  • landscape fabric
  • your choice of various plants and flowers
  • shovel
  • scissors

You can contact a company like Stone Depot LLC to get the rocks you'll need for this project.

Step 3: Dig Up the Area

Use the shovel to dig up about an inch or two of the ground along the area you're transforming into a creek bed. Curve the area slightly instead of digging in a straight line to make the dry creek bed look more natural.

Step 4: Put Down the Landscape Fabric

Place the landscape fabric on the dirt. Use the scissors to cut it so that you can cover the curves. Place a small section of fabric over the top of the previous section so the entire area is covered when covering corners and curves.

Step 5: Install the Plants

Plant your flowers and other vegetation in various spots on both sides of the landscape fabric. Water and fertilize according to the directions that come with the plants.

Step 6: Arrange the Rocks

Place the boulders between the plants. The more randomly you place the boulders, the more natural your dry creek bed looks.

Spread out the river rock with a shovel all along the top of the landscape fabric. The amount you use is up to you, so put down one or two layers, depending on your tastes and budget.

Place more river rock between the plants and boulders to create a more natural look and feel.

Work the cobblestones in among the river rock in a sporadic manner. A good idea for a natural look is to place some close together with others off on their own.  

As the plants grow and begin to thrive, remove weeds by hand as necessary and prune them to keep them from overtaking the creek and covering them up. Because rocks help with drainage, water will flow through the creek naturally when it rains. Ask your landscaper for more ideas on dry creek bed creation and decorating.