How Much Does It Cost To Make A Flower Wall How to Construct a Sluice-Way for Your Yard

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How to Construct a Sluice-Way for Your Yard

A gutter is a wooden trough that is designed to carry water from one area to another by letting gravity do the work. Natural springs or underground streams are excellent sources of water that you can often divert to a pond area or create a running water feature in your yard. If the height of the riser allows you to drop the dam downhill, water can be moved for free without the aid of pumps for years and years at no cost.

I was lucky enough to have an underground water table that is so high in the ground that my basement has a year-round stream running along the base of one wall in a concrete trough. This trough emerges from the basement through a four-inch pipe to daylight about eighty feet or so away from the building. Where the pipe meets the daylight, the pipe itself is about four feet above the ground in a stone retaining wall. The area slopes downward and further from that point and generally ends about ten feet below where the land levels out. The lower property has a small stream that meanders down to our eight acre lake. The stream is there all year round except for the driest summers. I’ve only seen a creek dry up once every thirty-five years and only for a few weeks or so. Over the years I have landscaped lawns from the house to the lake (approximately 750 feet) which provide beautiful walking areas. A few benches here and there, some shaped yew trees and flower pots with deer resistant plants and for me it’s heaven in the summer to just sit quietly and listen to the summer winds. My children and grandchildren have played here for years and have now started adding their own touches to the property. One day as I was sitting I was staring at the pipe coming from the basement of the house and thought what a great way to make a free waterfall or small pond just so I could get water down there! The idea of ​​dams quickly became a reality after a short conversation with my wife and we went to get construction materials.

I decided to use pressure treated lumber for the dam because it would last for many years and after a few years of water running through it, it shouldn’t be harmful to plants or fish. I chose boards that were six inches wide and sixteen feet long because they were the longest the lumber yard had in stock. I set up saw horses and started building the dam. I built the bottom using two boards side by side making it twelve inches wide. Adding some short pieces twelve inches long to one side as a shoulder strap provided extra strength to prevent sagging. Then the sides were made of one board each, making almost a trough twelve inches wide and six inches deep. I used good galvanized assembly screws as they won’t pull out over time and a bead of good silicone sealant at each joint will provide a good temporary seal between the boards.

Over time, as the seal aged and failed, dirt, leaves and other debris would seal the joints inside making the dam nearly watertight against leaks. Starting at the point where the water came out of the basement drain pipe, I placed the first weir with one end to catch the water and the other pointing towards where I wanted to create a small pond and garden. I later found out that I had to add a baffle plate at the water entry point to direct the water into the dam when the water flows were high enough to burst through the dam instead of just falling into the dam. I built a total of three dams sixteen feet long and zigzagging them down the slope actually moved the water almost forty feet horizontally from where it started. A very small slope is required to start the water. I was lucky enough to dislodge a six foot high rock which, by placing the last opening on top of the rock and letting it hang in the air a few feet, created a six foot high waterfall that falls into a small fishpond I built below. Every summer I put goldfish in this little pond for the kids to feed and watch. The water constantly falling from the dam keeps the water clear and cool throughout the summer. My dam has been in place for about twenty years and apart from the occasional removal of excess leaves and minor realignment it has functioned well without further maintenance.

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