top of page

When living in regions with minimal rainfall, the effort put into creating natural water features like dry ponds and creek beds may seem daunting. However, the benefits far outweigh the initial work involved. Here's why:

  • Water Harvesting: Even in areas with low rainfall, every drop counts. For instance, from a 1000 square foot roof, just 1 inch of rainfall can yield up to 600 gallons of fresh water for your garden. This means that capturing and utilizing rainwater becomes incredibly valuable, especially for sustaining plant life during dry periods.

  • Nutrient-Rich Water: Rainwater isn't just pure hydration; it also carries essential nutrients for plants. By collecting rainwater in your dry pond or creek bed, you're essentially harnessing a natural fertilizer source for your garden, promoting healthier and more vibrant vegetation.

  • Environmental Benefits: Beyond the immediate benefits for your garden, creating these water features contributes to broader environmental conservation efforts. By reducing runoff and promoting infiltration, you're helping to replenish groundwater supplies and mitigate soil erosion, which is particularly crucial in arid regions.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create these features:

Dry Pond Directions:

  • Location and Preparation: Find an open, mostly flat area that can collect water runoff. Ensure the center of the basin is at least 10 feet away from your house foundation and 3 feet away from any sidewalks. Use a garden hose to outline the shape, making sure the area is flat or bowl-like without sloping back towards the house.

  • Clearing and Excavation: Remove vegetation from the outlined area and dig a basin around 18 inches deep at the center, sloping the sides gradually. This creates a reservoir for rainwater to collect and slowly infiltrate into the soil. Tip: use the excavated soil to create mounds and berms in other areas to add visual interest.

  • Water Diversion: Direct any downspouts from your house gutters into the basin area. You can channel the water through a dry creek bed or pipe it directly into the basin.

  • Design and Planting: Get creative! Add some rubble and native plants inside and along the sides of the basin. These not only add beauty to the space but also provide a habitat for local wildlife. When it rains, the basin will fill, creating a temporary pond until the water soaks into the soil.

Easy Dry Creekbed Creation:

  • Location and Planning: Choose a location where water naturally flows or where you want to direct runoff. Use two garden hoses to outline the shape of your creek bed, allowing it to meander naturally. Avoid sharp turns and ensure the flow leads away from your house, preferably towards the street or into your dry pond. Be mindful not to divert water into your neighbor's yard.

  • Clearing: Remove all plants from the outlined area in preparation for digging.

  • Excavation: Dig a trench approximately 3 feet wide, sloping to a depth of 8-12 inches at the center. Slope the trench gently away from your house to prevent water from pooling near the foundation. This trench mimics the appearance of a natural creek bed. Tip: use the excavated soil to create mounds and berms in other areas to add visual interest.

  • Design and Planting: Let your creativity shine! Add rubble along the riverbed and scatter some larger rocks along the bank to mimic natural formations. You can choose to fill the bed with rocks or leave open dirt, adding a few larger rocks along the bank and smaller ones along the riverbed as though they've been naturally carried by the water. Plant native vegetation along the sides to enhance the natural look and provide habitat for local wildlife.


By following these simple steps and embracing your creativity, you can create a beautiful and functional dry pond or creek bed that not only adds visual interest to your landscape but also contributes to water conservation and supports local biodiversity. So go ahead, have fun, and let nature be your guide!

bottom of page