What is a SWALE and Why do you Need Them?

A swale is a shallow trench dug along the land’s contour, with a berm on the downhill side. It is an important tool for irrigating the garden, mitigating storm water runoff, and reducing erosion. Without swale, the water on your land would rush down and form gullies, taking precious topsoil and nutrients with it.

Venice Hauling Brick Lined Swale

Venice Hauling Brick Lined Swale

Many swale are natural, carved out over time by rain and debris. Each natural swale has the potential to become a creek or a river. It depends on the rain pattern, quantity of rain, etc. I have a natural swale on my property that (in some heavy rain years) produces a small waterfall.

It’s important to maintain all swale, natural or man made. You need to keep the path clear of large, water blocking debris, but just as importantly, you need to keep the swale bottom secure. Rip rap is a good material for swale bottoms as it is unlikely to wash away, and it slows down and breaks up water flow, reducing rutting and soil wash out. Other good swale bottoms are gravel, crushed concrete, and in some cases, FDOT road base.

With rainy season approaching, it’s swell to have swales! Give us a call, we can help you with your land projects.