Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I have a border running cross contour up the hill with my neighbour at a gentle angle. I want to fence it ..... and have been pondering how to effect a living fence but still harvest downhill rain water while accomodating the water pipes along this border that carry our water to the house. (One thing I must add is underground is bedrock at different rising levels so need to get the land flat as it slopes down for the pipes to lie well.)

This is what I have come up with:

Dig pits along the upward sloping border to trap rain water coming down hill. This is off contour and so I need to dig intermittent pits and not swales.

Fill with rocks until flat. This should also hold the water long enough to sink into the earth.

Lay house water supply pipework flat on top.

Cover with serpentine shaped Talus (pile of rocks sloped as a mound) wall - the wider and higher I can manage the better. This will look like a serpentine wall climbing up the slope at a +/- 30 degree angle. This will collect dew, act as windbreak, protect pipes from extremes of temperature, create microclimates in the curves, and give edge. The one negative I am trying to think through is if a pipe should leak somewhere I need easy access. Might have to buy really long strips of new pipe to lay this way and then where it joins... the point it gives in season changes due to expansion and contraction..... have an easy access point. The hope is that this talus wall covering the pipes will protect from all extremes of temperature anyway - but I would rather prepare in case.

I have seen Chinaberry grow through piles of rock and so could probably get them to grow at the top of the talus wall... They are pest resistant and I have tons of seed so an easy choice - thus turning a pest into a blessing. Once they achieve a good thick post height I will pollard them off and rub salt into the cut in hopes of preventing further growth.

The plan is then to grow honeysuckle, which grows like a weed here, in between and weave into a living fence on top. The trimmings are good fodder. To get the honeysuckle to grow I might have to offer the rootings a bit of soil base laid over some thick mulch. I don't want to build the living fence inside of this whole talus wall because it will block off the micro-climates created in the curves. On the back side will be well shaded and watered and on the front a warm micro-climate. A lovely thick living wall.... well that is the plan anyway!

Until next time,

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