Posted by: pennyinparadise | February 23, 2012

Control That Water!

Check on the rainfall where you live and compare it to Boquete, which gets over 200 inches every year….all within about 6 months between May and December.   When I moved into the new condo and put in the beautiful landscaping, I didn’t know that the ground was a clay pack full of rocks and sandy soil.   When the rains started the plants began to die and the back yard became a swimming pool.

Our October rains destroyed the gardens

I asked the developer about gutters and he said “Gutters…they are an American thing.   Here in Panama we don’t bother with gutters”!!!!!!!   Of course not… why would you need gutters when it only rains 300 inches a year???   But he was kind enough to allow me to PAY FOR GUTTERS myself!   So…I had them put 4 stories above me on the roof.

Scaffolding 4 stories high in my yard putting in gutters

Well, the gutters couldn’t cope with the amount of rain we get here so I went to Plan B, and had the garden torn apart and a honeycomb of drainage pipes and catch basins installed.  This meant tearing out the expensive landscaping and, of course, ALL materials, wheelbarrows and workers had to trek through my condo to get to the work, since there is no access to my yard except through my house.

The digging into the clay pack begins

8 catch basins were constructed and connected with irrigation tubes

Curbs were built to raise the flower beds

Raised flower bed with catch basin

My garden backs up onto a very steep canyon.   To avoid erosion of the canyon wall, the drain pipes carrying the water from the catch basins and tubes had to be installed far out, away from the canyon wall…..these guys are like goats…they sure can climb on the steep sides.

Digging to the edge of the canyon

Protecting from erosion…the pipes went way out and down

Here’s how it all looked from up above

From the 4th floor balcony, looking down at the work

Here’s how it looked when finished


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