Solving the problem of melting snow with a French Drain.

In the winter, we remove the gutters from the edge of the roof because otherwise, the snow will rip them right off of there anyway, and then we must get new gutters (or bend them back into shape so that we can use them again…)

Also, as the snow falls off, and melts, it forms a sort of ice mountain, all along the edge. Sometimes, the water pools up against the house because it has nowhere to go–its trapped between the house and the ice mountain!

So, we thought we’d do a simple kind of french drain in the back, using the dirt from the ditch, as well as the freezer hole to make more of an incline away from the house. Basically, building up the dirt along the house, and tapering it down to the drain, so water cannot pool up next to the house of straw.

Coda says, ‘please don’t make me move again…’ as she is enjoying the cool dirt of our worksite. You can see the darker, cooler, fresher dirt we have tossed back against the house, to bring up the elevation.


First things first, better dig that ditch!


Wow, that’s lookin’ pretty good.


The dogs certainly think so!


Now that the ditch is dug, its time to fill it with gravel. We are able to get a scoop from a neighbor’s gravel pile, and haul it over in the Truck. Then, we need to go about sorting it because we just want a medium sized gravel, between a marble and a golfball, ish.

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The larger rocks will go to landscaping, and the tiny stuff will fill in the driveway, and around the tack shed to help condition the horses hooves while they’re standing, getting saddled up.

We used a piece of hardware cloth, doubled over, and shoveled the gravel mixture on top. The tiny stuff rattled through, the too-big pieces we took out by hand, and what was left on the screen was dumped into the ditch.

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At the end, I made a “key hole,” kind of a permaculture idea (for gardening, actually, to increase the edge space), but I thought it would make a nice addition to the drain. I dug this out much deeper; here it is pictured about half-full:


And NOW! We see it is coming together…
So much more work than it probably looks like, here. Each truck load would do about 7.5 feet. It took five loads in all.

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All the animals were lazily watching us as we dug, shoveled, sifted, carried, and generally got really, really filthy. But the drain was filled with gravel, and we all had a cold beverage out of our freezer-cooler!



And now for some before and after shots of this back area!



I will update this post over the winter when it gets its first real field test.


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