How to Line a Ditch With Rock

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A rock-lined ditch with water flowing in it is aesthetically pleasing.
A rock-lined ditch with water flowing in it is aesthetically pleasing. (Image: Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Lining a ditch with rock enhances any ditch. It improves water flow through the ditch, can trap trash and sediment and can reduce erosion. A properly maintained ditch lined with rock can even improve the property value of a piece of land. With a little work and some quality materials, any land owner can maintain a ditch lined with rock that will stand the test of time.

Things You'll Need

  • Riprap rock, large and medium size
  • Shovel for smaller ditch projects
  • Tractor with attachments for larger projects
  • Filter fabric

Check the shape of the ditch. A good drainage ditch is rounded or flat on the bottom. The sides of the ditch should have a slope instead of being vertical. If the ditch doesn't meet these requirements, the ditch can be shaped using a shovel for smaller ditches or a tractor with attachments to dig -- such as an excavator -- for larger ditches.

Place a filter fabric in the ditch, anchoring it with landscaping stakes. This protects the ground, prevents vegetation from growing through the rocks and prepares the ditch for the installation of the rock. Ensure that the fabric covers the entire area that will be lined with rock.

Place riprap rocks into the ditch, building in layers and ensuring that larger rocks are lower than smaller ones in the ditch. Ensure that rocks are placed in the ditch in such a way that the filter fabric is covered. Also ensure that the flow of water through the ditch is not completely stopped, which will cause flooding and erosion.

Build riprap rock dams, called check dams, at regular intervals to trap dirt and sediment from floating downstream and into the water supply. These dams consist of riprap rock that has been placed across the ditch to slow but not completely stop water flow, so dirt and sediment is trapped by the dam.

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