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While it may or may not be the case in this garden, it is possible to route water to feed water features like this small fountain.
While the sense of energy and vitality created by the dry riverbed above is enhanced by the contrast in color between the river rock and surrounding stone, riverbeds surrounded by materials of more analogous materials, like the decomposed granite here, still convey richness and vitality.
Note: A rain chain visible on the left of this photo allows water to permeate into the ground and feed back into the groundwater table. An infiltration pit could help move excess water off the property.
A dry riverbed can help stabilize a slope by providing a venue for water to escape, a major factor in preventing slides. This particular river may also feed an infiltration pit.
Dry riverbeds can help route water away from the foundation of a structure. This is important, as so many structures are built without a firm understanding of the natural water flow on a property.
This riverbed appears to feed a biological pond, a beautiful and effective way to store water onsite while allowing some water to percolate and infiltrate the groundwater table.
Dry riverbeds are just one strategy for directing and managing excess water. Watch for upcoming more ideabooks on related topics and check out Erin Lang Norris' article on rain chains.
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