A meandering path through the yard, rocks in various sizes and shapes, and complementary plants can all contribute to a creative dry creek landscaping project. A well-designed dry creek is low maintenance, diverts water run-off during heavy rains, and reduces the need for watering a garden.
A design that winds throughout the yard provides a natural look and prevents erosion. A creek bed that narrows on slopes and widens around bends mimics the shape of creeks in nature. Local creeks and streams can provide examples of how to shape a creek bed in the backyard.
Placing larger rocks along the edges of the creek bed and smaller rocks towards the center also provides a natural appearance. Landscapers should arrange them so the placement appears random. Boulders can mark bends, and gravel along the edges softens the visual transition between the creek bed and surrounding lawn and garden.
A variety of low-maintenance plants complement a dry creek bed, including trees, grasses and perennials. Slender shade trees, such as birch, provide vertical structure and privacy. Creeping groundcover plants, such as false heather, fill in gaps in the rocks and crowd out weeds. Ornamental grasses provide soft texture along the borders of the bed, and flowering perennials, such as iris, daylily and sedum, provide color.