How to spruce up 20' by 40' swamp caused by natural spring?

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We want to give up on French drains which plug after a few years and just make it look attractive. Too wet for any planting, even bamboo.

  5 answers
  • Kc Kc on Jun 14, 2018
    Hhuummmm....grow rice? Kidding.
    You could dig channels to move the water where you want it. Make them an attractive feature by using river rock and plantings to resemble small steams.

    • Linda Edwards Bouley Linda Edwards Bouley on Jun 14, 2018
      Your comment is funnier than you realize, my daughter-in-law grew up on a rice farm. Maybe I should ask her for a consultation. lol It looks like I will have to resort to trying channels, I was hoping for an easier way. When we had the first french drain put in in 1969 the contractor got a full size back hoe stuck in out backyard.

  • Christy D. Assid Christy D. Assid on Jun 14, 2018
    Without seeing the area, I'm not sure this would work, but my thought is to dig a couple of ponds, and add some water lilies and a few ferns. If you've got the time and the desire, contact the ponds with a stream, and add a water pump. If you want to make the birds happy, keep most of it shallow, so that they can drink and bathe in it. Mosquito dunks would be recommended, and they won'the hurt the birds.

    • Linda Edwards Bouley Linda Edwards Bouley on Jun 14, 2018
      I was thinking I would probably need to go along the line of your suggestion but, thought I'd see if there was an easier solution like something that would grow in a swamp. lol Thanks for the mosquito dunks reminder, I had completely forgotten that issue.

  • Regina and Brian Regina and Brian on Jun 16, 2018
    Barley balls work on mosquitoes too, and are not harmful to fish or birds. I would make a water feature... What growing zone are you?
    I can think of several plants for a bog.

    • Linda Edwards Bouley Linda Edwards Bouley on Jun 17, 2018
      Thank You for your reply. We would love to find something we can plant and something that discourages Mosquitoes what a huge plus! We are in Bucks County just north of Philadelphia, I got different answers looking the growing zone up in different places but I think it is 7a/7b. We no longer have an agricultural agent for Bucks since farming has been pushed out by housing. I will have to look into Barley Balls at the local garden center.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jun 17, 2018
    I understand and empathize with your issues. I have lived adjacent to wetlands and in flood areas. I suggest contacting your local cooperative extension, the expert master gardeners there might have a viable solution to meet your needs.

    Here in Virginia there a specific options —your region might have similar or more options.


    In Virginia for example -we have a rain garden program that one can apply for —that 75% funds to a max of $3500.00 would be reimbursed for the landscaping. I wasnt previously aware of this program until a gueest lecturers presentation.


    Try the cooperative extension you can call the local office ( our rural unit is open one day a week) or google up for a email response.

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    • Linda Edwards Bouley Linda Edwards Bouley on Jun 19, 2018
      Thank You for all of the information! I would love to be able to make proper use of the wet land rather than changing it all. I will start working with your information today. The portion of the springs that we have left running across our backyard and on to Neshaminy Creek are visited by all sorts of wildlife

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jun 19, 2018
    I hope you can find your answer.
    I hope your local support coop extension- can guide you to a acceptable resolution.

    I’m not sure how programs vary from state to state —but I would’ve never heard about the rain garden design/reimbursement program ==if it wasn’t for master gardeners class. Certainly programs like this are helpful for the homewoners to correct improve and remediate the situation in a thoughtful and natural way.
    75% reimbursement also is a terrific motivator!

    Best wishes in your search for the solution!