The Dry River is a very decorative arrangement imitating a natural stream. Without the constraints of water, it gives style to the garden.
Path, rocks, plants… Find out how to create a dry river in your garden!
To read → How to create a dry garden?
Draw a path
The first step is to draw a path for your dry river. For the rendering to be natural, it is necessary to adopt sinuous curves like a real river in the middle of nature. No right angles, straight lines or quarter circles.
We favor an irregular outline with a hazardous appearance. Then use stakes to delimit your river in situ, you can connect them with string to preview the rendering and possibly adjust some stakes.
Digging the river bed
Now you have to dig the river slightly. Choose a width of 1m to 2m and dig only about twenty centimeters. Do not hesitate to make holes deeper than others in some places, we continue to avoid a style that is too geometric to keep a natural effect. The soil removed can be used to backfill the surroundings.
A layer of geotextile
At this time, if you place pebbles directly, they will not prevent weeds from growing. You will then quickly find yourself invaded by weeds! The geotextile is sold by the meter in DIY stores. Estimated width needed:
Width + 2x depth + 40cm (20cm buried on each side)
Spread it over the entire surface of the dry river, letting it protrude 20cm on each side. Bury the ends but don't bother stapling the rest as the pebbles and rocks are heavy enough to hold it in place.
Pebbles, rocks and gravel
The surroundings of natural rivers are made up of plants and more or less large rocks. In the case of the dry river, it is necessary to replace the water with something. You can then choose pebbles, gravel or small pebbles. Some transparent gravel mimics river water well. So you can fill the whole central part with these small mineral elements. The closer you get to the surroundings, the bigger the rocks must be. You can approach a quarry to provide you with rock at a reasonable price.
What plants for a dry river?
You will not be able to plant bank plants in your dry river because they will run out of water. But you can very well choose species that resemble them. This is the case with grasses such as lucula, ophiopogon and sedges for shade exposure. The latter form a tuft of stems in various colors, more or less wide, reminiscent of river plants. If you're in the sun, opt for rush, Eragrostis and fescue instead. Then accompany these grasses with some flowering perennials such as irises and daylilies. Finally, complete the table of ground cover plants to dress the banks of your river. Think helxine in the shade and creeping thyme or sedum in the sun.
To read → What plants by the pool?
A bridge: the essential decorative asset
To cross a real river, you need a bridge! Since the goal is to get as much inspiration from a natural river as possible, don't hesitate to install this accessory. It will give a larger-than-life effect to your layout, and will allow you to contemplate it differently. Then connect your pontoon to an alley which allows you to cross your garden.
Dry river and Japanese garden
The dry river is an ideal arrangement for a Zen garden. Indeed, they strive to imitate nature of which rivers are a part. In addition, Japanese gardens combine minerals and plants in favor of a soothing place conducive to contemplation. Then bet on raked gravel or pebbles at the bottom of the river. A few foggers will make the rocks look wet and provide a nice shadow scene.