Stormwater Management Using Swales

As we’ve progressed through the rainy season, we’ve discussed various ways landscaping professionals solve potential issues with water drainage. Systems such as trench drains and catch basins provide effective means for controlling stormwater and the damage it can do on your property, while dry creek beds are natural features that can be implemented seamlessly into your overall landscape design. Swales are another natural way to manage stormwater on your property effectively. What are swales and how can they prove beneficial to your landscape?

What are Swales?

Swales are shallow trenches dug along a contour of land with a berm on the side facing downhill. These trenches are placed and spread out between contour lines on your property where the land is all the same height above sea level. They serve to slow the flow of stormwater flowing downhill and spreads it along the entire contour line, thus reducing erosion.

Why are Swales Beneficial to a Landscape?

There are three big reasons why swales could be useful on your property:

1) They mitigate stormwater runoff: Not only do swales help protect your property from the devastating effects of flowing water, but it can also help with municipal stormwater issues. Swales catch water and keep them in areas of your landscape that need it. If a site assessment shows that a swale may be beneficial to your site, you may end up preventing thousands of gallons of rainwater from flowing into municipal drains, lessening the strain on public resources.

2) They’re natural rain-catchers: Catch basins are effective tools for stormwater management, but they also require regular maintenance to keep them in peak condition. On the other hand, swales are natural and don’t need to be cleaned. They’re also more efficient than catch basins, so they are perfect options for homeowners with drainage issues more serious than what a catch basin can handle.

3) They contribute to building ecosystems: Soil-based ecosystems need water in order to survive and thrive. Swales direct water to deep parts of the soil, where it can be stored until needed. This water helps the soil grow microorganisms which in turn grows organic matter. The more organic matter present in the soil, the more water it can absorb – allowing your landscape to better withstand any droughts or floods that may occur.


If you have a unique, personal landscaping project in mind, contact TDH Landscaping. We will work with you to combine your vision with our renowned expertise and experience to make it happen. We have been in business for over fifty years, and our goal is to give every landscape a curated touch while offering the knowledge to keep your residential outdoor area beautiful all year long. Give us a call today at 410-692-0050, send us an email at, or fill out our contact form here to get the process started. Keep up with our blog for more updates and helpful tips, and don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterestYoutube, and Houzz!

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