How To Build A Creek Bed

I’ve blogged about plans for it, tweeted about it and teased with facebook updates on its progress.  And though it still isn’t quite finished, I think it’s time to show you what we’ve done with our dry creek bed!

We started by digging out the path for the creek to follow.  We worked with the natural slope of the land and chose a spot for our creek to tumble over the rock wall at the bottom.

We decided lining our dry creek with pond liner would help the creek to “run” in wet weather (and also prevent weeds from springing up through it).  The liner wasn’t cheap, but we think the kids will have more fun with it.  Once the liner was down it was time to start bringing in the rocks.  Did I mention we live on a steep hill?!  It took my husband quite some time to wheelbarrow up a ute load of rocks!!

Once rocks were in we could take a trip to the nursery to choose some native grasses.  We chose some established plants from a larger nursery, and smaller (cheaper!) tube stock from our local Greening Australia nursery.  The kids loved helping to decide which grasses would look best in our backyard.

Our final addition (for the moment) was a bridge to cross over!  I was content to plonk two sleepers across, but my wiser other half made a simple bridge which is much sturdier.  The kids love trip-trapping over the bridge, and jumping off it into the sandpit.

And here’s the whole yard as it is at the moment!!  We’d like to add some smaller rocks in a similar colour to completely cover the pond liner, and mulch up to the rocks.  We’ll add more plants gradually.  I’d also like to add another wider “bridge” right at the top of the hill with a small water tank on it.  I can just see the kids turning the tap on from the tank of their own rainwater to run down the creek!  We’re pretty proud of it so far though.

We roughly spent:

  • $130 pondliner
  • $100 rocks
  • $100 plants
  • $40 sleepers
  • $10 on snacks for hardworking Dad
  • Total = $380 :-)

(You can also check out the costings for another dry creek bed over at Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning).

28 thoughts on “How To Build A Creek Bed

  1. Cath your creek bed is FAN-TAS-TIC! I love it to bits. What a wonderful addition to your children’s play space and it looks so natural you’d think it had been there for ever and isn’t that the beauty of creating natural play spaces for children! I LOVE the idea of putting a water tank at the top of the hill. Wouldn’t it me cool if water really did run over your rock wall!! I would still like to add a water pump to our creek bed … but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve noticed with ours, just ten weeks old, that all the rocks and pebbles have settled into the dirt and the plants have grown like crazy. Visitors are amazed that it hasn’t been there for years. Clearly it is going to improve over time.
    I will be watching with interest at your creeks evolution. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
    Donna :) :)
    .-= Sherry and Donna´s last blog ..little purple aliens – part #2 =-.

  2. Your creek bed looks awesome, Cath!

    It’s made me miss the creek system my hubby built in our old house. We also lived on a slope so it was perfect for a creek bed with a pond at the bottom. Our yard now is small and flat and while hubby had created a pond with a little fake waterfall, I do miss seeing the water run down the creek bed after heavy rains.

    I’m sure your kids will LOVE the extra addition to their yard :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Tina´s last blog ..Quick Quesadillas for lunch =-.

  3. This looks fabulous! Incredible how real is already looks when it’s still so fresh. Well done! I’m sure your kids will have a ball out there. Now all you need is a really cool deck – if only your sister wasn’t so slack!!

  4. Whenever we visit DH’s parents down near Grafton, we swim in the fresh rivers there and always end up bringing some rocks home — not for us, but for DH’s parents.
    So if you’re ever near a rocky stream, fill the boot of the car with those nice, smooth river rocks.

  5. Fantastic addition to the backyard. The kids, you and Damon will all love it. I can see you and Damon (or Nan and Pa) sitting back on chairs watching the kids play. It’s wonderful!! Good Job

  6. Hi Cath! I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I really enjoy it. I love reading other Christian Mum’s blogs, makes me feel less alone in the Christian blogging world! I have started a new weekly post called Friday Focus. Basically I write on Fridays a brief post about something the Lord has been teaching me that week. I’ve made it a blog hop with the linky tool and am inviting other Christian bloggers to join in if they want to. I have a banner on the post which you are free to use if you wanted to. Of course ignore this if you want, just thought I’d let you know. : )

  7. great work guys cant wait to see it after a good Brissy downpour (complete with the kids out there in there gumbies)
    Tank at the top icing on the cake! Hours of fun to be had there and so nice you could all work on it together as a family

  8. Wonderful post. What a beautiful natural addition to your garden. What fun for the kids. I love creating natural play spaces for children. Our garden looks a bit like a jungle right now but I’m cool with that. It’s not a show garden, it’s a playground for my kids and their friends.

  9. This is fantastic! I am in the process of completing our creek and so how many people just don’t get it. This serves as validation that I am heading in the right direction. I love your blog!

  10. Hi Cath, We’re in the process of investigating dry creek beds and up popped your site. FANTASTIC. The price breakdown is a great help – though I think would probably be different in WA – still, a ballpark figure is a big help. Love the idea to have the creek finish at a stone wall – we have one of those!!! My kids are going to have a ball, they’re a little older but still into playing and constructing – AND getting wet and muddy!
    Thanks

  11. Hello Cath,

    I hope all is well in your garden.

    I’m considering doing just what you have done in your garden with the creek bed. How has it faired over the past few years?

    1. Hi! The creek bed has faired pretty well over the years.The black pond liner underneath meant that weeds were kept to a minimum, although some weeding was required if leaf litter from overhanging branches built up. As the kids played around the area we did find that rocks “slipped” down from the edges into the centre of the creek bed, so every few months or so I did a little maintenance moving them back out to the edges. The planting around the creek bed looked more natural over time too. Hope that helps! Cath.

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