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Garth Ruffner Landscape Architect


Coordination of swale locations should occur as early in the design process as possible. If you need to add or change the location of a swale, please call or e-mail right away.

Water quality swales located in larger planters along street frontages are often good locations for mowed turf grass. Most landscape contractors under-stand turf maintenance and the grass will be kept at optimum heights and densities.


Cross slopes should not be greater than 5:1 to allow for safe mowing and soils in the swale should be reasonably permeable.


Bio-swale at Technology Business Park in Livermore
Landscaping in Oakley, California

Water quality swales are frequently located between streets and parking. From a landscape perspective, extend-ing the swales to run near the back of sidewalk allows the use of  shrubs to screen parked cars.

Water Quality Swale at West Yost Associates in Davis, California

West Yost Associates

Holt Rentals, Vacaville

Swales that split parking areas provide excellent rooting area for shade trees if there is adequate room to plant the trees on the side slopes. To keep trees out of the flow lines, it is preferable to have the swale bottoms off center where possible.


The grass at left, an Asian species of Sedge, tolerates frequent mowing, standing water and even some drought.



Water Quality Swales

Technology Business Park

Oakley Civic Park