In Landscaping, Water is The Boss

December 31, 2021

Reflections, Day 79

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh

Judy loves her house, her yard, and her plants. She has a problem with the water that runs through her yard though, so she called me to help with it. We had some really heavy rain early Thursday morning, so I figured that would be a good time to go study it.

The first rule of landscaping is that, on any given job, water is the boss. Whoever installed the initial planting thirty years ago failed to take this into consideration.

I stood on the street looking down at the house. The street runs downhill towards the Oostanaula. The yard slopes downhill from the road and there is a lot of undeveloped wooded land on the other side of the back yard. I looked up the hill to my left. It’s a pretty big slope, and I could see three or four neighbors whose downspouts shoot water right down into Judy’s yard. The houses are large; They have big roofs with a lot of runoff.

As I stood there looking around, I realized that before the subdivision was installed a little over thirty years ago, the water was pretty used to running right where the house was built. The water is going to get to the river on the other side of the woods no matter what.

Since water is the boss, I closed my eyes and mentally asked the water, “What can I do for you?”

The water answered, “I’m confused, please show me where I should go.”

Water is the boss. Water is prepositional—it will go over, under, around, or through—whichever is easiest—and it will not be thwarted. Since only one of those prepositions was acceptable, we decided to prepare a bed that would be an easy and useful tributary for the water to flow through on its way to the river.

It was pretty easy, too. We started with landscape fabric for the base of the river as this will stop the soil erosion without stopping the water. Then we used river rocks (duh) to form a channel for the water to travel through. Jason and Paul laid the rocks carefully and the water said “thank you” and ran right through it. The picture with the mud is the “before” picture. We washed the mud away. It won’t be back. I’ll highlight more of  this project as time goes by. There are several areas to be dealt with.

When I was five years old, I loved nothing better than to sit in the mud or on the curb and make channels for the water to run through. I got in trouble for getting muddy. Some things never change.

—john schulz

Power to the patient.

Published by John P.Schulz

I lost my vocal cords a while back due to throat cancer. The laryngectomy sent me on a quest to find and learn to use my new, altered voice. I am able to talk now with a really small and neat new prosthesis. My writing reflects what I have learned in my search for a voice. My site publishes a daily motivational quote and a personal comment. I write an article a week for my blog, which deals with a lot of the things that I do in the garden. I am also the author of Requiem for a Redneck and the new Redemption for a Redneck--novels portraying the lives and doings of folks around the north Georgia hills. I have an English Education degree from the University of Georgia and very happily married to the lovely Dekie Hicks. You may enjoy my daily Quotes and Notes at

2 thoughts on “In Landscaping, Water is The Boss

  1. I didn’t realize that river rocks can give something such a lovely face-lift, until gazing at these photos! Good job, John. Take a bow and polish your halo.

  2. I didn’t realize that river rocks can give something such a lovely face-lift until seeing the photos accompanying this post. Good job, John. Take a bow and polish your halo.

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