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Old 01-30-2019, 12:43 PM
 
56 posts, read 19,659 times
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I was just wondering if anyone has a yard with a small brook or stream running through it and how you incorporated it into your design/landscape?

Just looking for ideas, I currently have this and am looking for ways to make it looks nicer. My lot is a little under 1/2 acre and there is a brook that runs across the yard and I own about 25' or so on the far side of the brook until my fence. yard is pretty much rectangular so it cuts completely across, and I have a wooden bridge that was built by a prior owner that crosses it and allows access to both sides. The far side isn't much to look at, just some patchy grass, several trees, and a fence with a few shrubs, and a little fire pit area. The neighbor behind has taken down some trees on his side of the fence so it feels less wooded and more exposed, so I figure would be a good chance to spruce it up a bit.

Looking online, I often see people with landscapes incorporating man made streams, or waterfalls to a water feature or pond, but not much with an actual running body of water.

The drop off is about 8' from the normal yard level to the absolute bottom. The normal running part of the water is about 5-6' across, and the banks slope outward with the entire opening at the yard level being about 20' or so from level yard to level yard. During heavy rain the depth of the water rises up some but never (at least in the time I have seen or any neighbors have seen) has the water threatened to spill over the top. The banks currently are mostly tallish grasses and little tree saplings when in growing season, and i'd love to clean it up some and have it look better. I did build up an area of rocks to make a dam like feature in the water to add sound mostly, now when the brook is running I get some gurgling brook sounds and a little visual interest.

Thanks for any ideas.
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Old 01-30-2019, 02:13 PM
 
5,791 posts, read 6,632,215 times
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This is almost more of a legal or real estate question. With it being a natural body of water, most of which is outside your property, I would think there's laws regulations on what you can do to it. Even the rock dam you made might be a problem.

From a gardening perspective, I don't think I would do much more than the bridge across and maybe some periodic brush clearing. A natural stream seems much more enjoyable than something more planned. Just my personal preference.
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Old 01-30-2019, 03:41 PM
 
1,211 posts, read 366,492 times
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Hmmm. I didn't get that the stream is outside shiver916's property. I'm picturing a beautiful stream across the middle of the back yard. The dam like feature, I'm picturing a few rocks that allows the stream past but gives that gurgle.

Shiver916, please clarify. I'm envisioning a heavenly setting. Do you get a lot of wildlife?
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Old 01-30-2019, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
17,467 posts, read 21,509,969 times
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Can we see a photo? I'm having a hard time visualizing it.

I will add that I think weeping willows next to a stream are so pretty, and if it's away from structures or any underground pipes, it should be fine. They are known for having intrusive roots, if too close to sidewalks, foundations, etc.

https://www.google.com/search?q=smal...w=1440&bih=749
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Old 01-30-2019, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
13,909 posts, read 11,049,730 times
Reputation: 10262
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferraris View Post
This is almost more of a legal or real estate question. With it being a natural body of water, most of which is outside your property, I would think there's laws regulations on what you can do to it. Even the rock dam you made might be a problem.

From a gardening perspective, I don't think I would do much more than the bridge across and maybe some periodic brush clearing. A natural stream seems much more enjoyable than something more planned. Just my personal preference.
The first call should be to the local zoning office and they could probably tell the OP where to call next (probably the DNRC 'Department of Natural Resources and Conservation'). From my limited understanding the government does not want anything that could contaminate the water or runoff water. Neighbors get upset and everybody worries about what one is releasing in the stream. I do not know if it is still possible; but there was a time when one could build a small dam with a permit and following government regulations.

However, with only a half acres, I would be more afraid of flood damage. The OP did state that there is an eight foot drop off to the stream; but I would be interested in what happens with heavy rain? Little streams can sometimes turn into roaring rivers.

The OP stated that they had a bridge going over to the other side. I believe that might even need a permit today?
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Old 01-30-2019, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Maryland
1,190 posts, read 354,124 times
Reputation: 2705
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiver916 View Post
I was just wondering if anyone has a yard with a small brook or stream running through it and how you incorporated it into your design/landscape?

Just looking for ideas, I currently have this and am looking for ways to make it looks nicer. My lot is a little under 1/2 acre and there is a brook that runs across the yard and I own about 25' or so on the far side of the brook until my fence. yard is pretty much rectangular so it cuts completely across, and I have a wooden bridge that was built by a prior owner that crosses it and allows access to both sides. The far side isn't much to look at, just some patchy grass, several trees, and a fence with a few shrubs, and a little fire pit area. The neighbor behind has taken down some trees on his side of the fence so it feels less wooded and more exposed, so I figure would be a good chance to spruce it up a bit.

Looking online, I often see people with landscapes incorporating man made streams, or waterfalls to a water feature or pond, but not much with an actual running body of water.

The drop off is about 8' from the normal yard level to the absolute bottom. The normal running part of the water is about 5-6' across, and the banks slope outward with the entire opening at the yard level being about 20' or so from level yard to level yard. During heavy rain the depth of the water rises up some but never (at least in the time I have seen or any neighbors have seen) has the water threatened to spill over the top. The banks currently are mostly tallish grasses and little tree saplings when in growing season, and i'd love to clean it up some and have it look better. I did build up an area of rocks to make a dam like feature in the water to add sound mostly, now when the brook is running I get some gurgling brook sounds and a little visual interest.

Thanks for any ideas.
I don’t know in what state you reside but be very careful about doing anything without checking state regulations on waterways and wetlands. You can get into major trouble if you’re not careful. Perhaps your local dept. of natural resources or similar could help. Also land surveyors know a lot of this stuff too.
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Old 01-30-2019, 05:19 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,678 posts, read 21,809,341 times
Reputation: 8747
Clearing trees from the riparian zone of a stream is usually a no no, for good reason. Eliminating the trees leads to increased erosion, sedimentation, etc. All streams can flood, you don't want weak banks along the stream when that happens. You don't want lawn extending to the edge of a stream. It doesn't protect the bank as well as natural vegetation and the water gets heated up without shade. What you can do varies by state. In my state I can put a foot bridge over my brook no problem if I construct it right and cause no disturbance. It might be a problem where you live.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:38 PM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
6,475 posts, read 6,094,067 times
Reputation: 11943
OP is in Massachusetts.

OP, you need to find out what the state water rights and regulations are with regard to running water / ground water / wetlands resources on your property. You could start here: https://www.mass.gov/service-details...ces-laws-rules

If by chance the stream passing through your property is considered any kind of freshwater spawning and/or wetland resource you will need to remove the dam of rocks, you may be very heavily fined for erecting it there. (Note - that same law applies all over North America, not just in Massachusetts)

Before you do any cleaning up, planting and other alterations on the property on either side of the brook you need to find out how close to the vicinity of the brook you are allowed to get without it causing interference. The land may be yours but the natural stream bed, banks and the running water and the underground directly below the stream is not yours and you cannot alter or interfere with the stream bed or banks in any way without approval, even if it is not any kind of spawning stream. If it had been a man-made stream the rules might be different, but it sounds like it isn't a man-made stream. So do find out how far you have to stay away from it and what you can do to actually improve the stream. There are lots of things you could do to improve the actual stream and stream bed but you need to get approval for them first.

Check this out to give you an idea of what some of the regulations are like: - Section 40: Removal, fill, dredging or altering of land bordering waters - https://malegislature.gov/Laws/Gener...r131/Section40

.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:51 PM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
6,475 posts, read 6,094,067 times
Reputation: 11943
Quote:
Originally Posted by petsandgardens View Post
Hmmm. I didn't get that the stream is outside shiver916's property. I'm picturing a beautiful stream across the middle of the back yard. The dam like feature, I'm picturing a few rocks that allows the stream past but gives that gurgle.

Shiver916, please clarify. I'm envisioning a heavenly setting. Do you get a lot of wildlife?
Yes, if it's a natural stream then most of it is outside of the OP's property. Only a very small part of the stream passes through the OP's property. The majority of the entire body of water starts at the source it comes from (which might be many miles away) and then all the many other properties that is passes through before and after it passes through OP's property. None of it can be interfered with from beginning to end without acquiring appropriate applications and approvals.


.

Last edited by Zoisite; 01-30-2019 at 10:29 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 12:09 AM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
6,475 posts, read 6,094,067 times
Reputation: 11943
OP, one other thing - if you play your cards right you might even be able to get a grant that pays you and makes it worth your while to spruce up your back yard and improve the natural stream and its banks. Something to think about.


.
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