Tag Archives: drain


If you’ve been here before, you know my field is in Donegal where, I recently discovered, it rains about 1,600 to 1,800 mm a year. That means, without drainage, my land would be covered 4 or 5 feet deep, except for the fact that I am the proud owner of a fine sloping field, (up to 20% in spots) and the rain runs off, but the ground gets bloody wet too!!

Permaculture videos and books and talks all seem to spend lots of time on swales, hence Patrick Whitefield refers to them as something of a ‘Holy Cow’.


But in our wet climate in NW Ireland, they’re hardly appropriate. However, how much is enough, when it comes to water? If I put in drains, the water runs away. If I put in swales, too much water hangs around. How do I decide? I can imagine a high pond, catching run-off from the road and from my house and the cement drive opposite,  with an overflow arrangement into a lower pond perhaps, but is 2 ponds too much in 2/3rds of an acre (circa 2600 sq. metres)?

Problems, problems. Any suggestions, anyone?

While I have a problem, it’s good to have it discussed online. I’d appreciate any help I can get. Tll next time. Byeee.

Oh yeah, any suggestions for the best PDC around these islands? R

see Book Review “How to Makea Forest Garden” by PW

What to do first? Hard landscaping.

I’ve already said I will begin by cutting down / cutting back the old willow hedge, and so I shall. However one group of things I need to place, in my head, at least, is the structures and similar ‘hard’ landscaping elements. I need / want a shed and space we can use for storage of tools and also as a seating, or workspace, where perhaps, of a summer’s evening, one might watch the sun go down and sip a glass of wine. (Relax: I’m 40 years married next month!) This space might also facilitate the making of a cup of tea and perhaps a loo … “A man has to do etc etc.” Although the permaculture writers do extol the value of human urine as a nitrogen rich fertilizer.

I’m thinking a 20 foot container, or an old caravan. The latter scares me as caravans are mentioned specifically on the county council website as undesirable for more than a brief period. I need a shed and workspace. My wife paints and will need a studio space. I’ll be in the garden and would appreciate somewhere to get out of the sun/rain from time to time. I’m also fond of a cup of tea, when the humour takes me. So I’m looking to have it all and have it now, as the young folk say.

If anyone out there in internet world has any ideas, I’d appreciate some input here. I’ve no skills around welding, or converting a steel container into a suitable space. I’ve done ‘YouTube’ videos on insulating and converting containers into classrooms and the like but that’s all very fine … on YouTube! Very different thing in my field, with my container. Oops. My daughter says you can find everything online: used double glazed doors and windows, drainpipes … ‘whatever’. Maybe it IS possible on a shoestring.

That’s one problem.

Another is there’s a very wet segment in the bottom of my field. I’m wondering if there’s a spring there. I plan to dig a fairly big hole and see if it fills up and develops a flow. Any thoughts on that one? It would be BRILLIANT if there was. Then I could begin to develop a system to harvest some this water flow for the house and eliminate some of my water charges, Any surplus could be diverted into the pond already mentioned. (Permaculture again: one function provided by multiple elements.) We currently have no charges for drinking or toilet water for our homes in Ireland. This however is about to change, later this year, when our ‘beloved’ government is to introduce water charges. So water harvest becomes a deliberate and money-saving requirement.

I have plenty of water harvesting opportunities around the house and garage. Both are higher than the garden, so it should be easy enough to redirect roof water into tanks, through filters, so we can pump it into the house for use in toilets and for showers. Surplus run-off can be directed into pipes under the road and into the garden steam / pond system. A grey water system, perhaps using reed beds is also a possibility.

Another plan is to divert a drain that passes along my boundary with my (higher) neighbour, into my property when it first enters the site below the road. Then I can take it away from the boundary into the property on a meandering path and into a proposed pond. Finally I hope to allow it curve its way down to the existing low point, where it exits my field. it’s what might be called a ‘seasonal stream’, as it tends to become almost totally dry in summer, even in Ireland!

So, plenty of plans and thoughts. But what will I be  ABLE to do? i.e. allowed to do? Aaaaghhhhhh.

There’s a contact form on my last post. feel free to come back to me with your ideas. Thanks.

Catch you later.