Building a Bridge Over Our Bioswale

Portland Bioswale Garden

We’ve had drainage issues on this property.  You can read about how we’re managing some of them using bioswales: Let Me Tell You About My Bioswales.

The bioswale on the south side of our property is in the middle of a path.  We did this because it will allow us to have plantings on either side in a relatively narrow space.  It hasn’t been too big of a deal because we don’t traverse this side of the property as often, and the neighbors have lawn adjacent to the path, so it’s easy to go around the big hole as necessary.  The plan, however, has been to build a bridge over it, and we’re gearing up to start that project soon.

Here are some photos of the current situation:

Portland Bioswale Garden

Here’s the bioswale itself. Water comes in through the back (you can just make out the black outlet) and overflows near the top on the left just like a sink. It goes through the driveway wall and into a drywell in the driveway, which has an overflow to the sewer.

Portland Bioswale Garden

Here we’re standing at the existing gate looking towards the front of the property over the bioswale. The hazelnut mulch is to keep the neighbor’s cat from using the planting bed as a litter box.

The upcoming project means the following:

  • We’ll build a bridge (more like a boardwalk, actually) out of restoration juniper to go over the bulk of the hole.
  • We’ll add flagstones to the existing gravel path on either side of the new bridge connecting the steps at the front of the path to the gate at the back.
  • The gate & fence here will be overhauled (by our neighbor) to make the gate itself wider, add a hogwire panel at the corner for some additional privacy, and a simple trellis above all of it so we can soften this entrance with a vine.
  • The space, which receives lots of sun, will have its planting beds rejuvenated with some new, low-maintenance, architectural, drought-tolerant plants.
  • We’ll be adding some larger stones among the plants and to better visually connect the downspout outlet (via rain chain) to the path & bridge.

Portland Bioswale Bridge

The above image shows a mockup of what we’re planning, and I can’t wait to see it come together.  The neighbors, who built an ADU on this side of their property last year that has an access path adjacent to this space, will be doing some planting connected to this space (we’re working on that together) in the coming months which will connect both spaces better.  It’ll be nice when there’s less of a stark contrast between our heavily-planted side & their lawn.  Stay tuned for developments as they happen!

Kate Anchev

Author Kate Anchev

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