Dealing With A Septic Tank In A Garden Bed

There are certain things within a landscape that create challenges for landscape designers.  One of those challenges is the septic tank.  Positioned in lawns, septic tanks are typically the first area to show signs of drought stress when the summer heat arrives.  Then there is the aspect of cleaning.  When the tank is positioned in the lawn, every time you need your septic cleaned, you have to dig a hole in your lawn and reseed it a couple of days later.  When I designed and built our house a while back, I decided to locate my septic tank close enough to the  house so that the tank could be incorporated into the landscape.  The thought at the time was to plant drought tolerant plants on top of the tank where the soil depth would be shallow and other plants around the tank to make it disappear.  At the time, I never really gave much thought to tank cleanings and how I would hide the cleanouts yet have them accessible enough so it would be a big ordeal when it was time to clean.  This is how I solved my problem.  To give the plants more soil, I built the garden area up over the tank with compost to provide a more hospitable environment for the plants.  I then had to raised the cleanout openings up to the new grade.  I chose to do that with 30″ plastic pipe and topped each cleanout with a piece of bluestone. That way, I didn’t have any digging to do whenever the tank needed to be cleaned.  The bluestone that covers each cleanout is quite large so I always hoped to find some garden art to fill the void that each created.   My original thought was something long and narrow to span the two cleanouts, perhaps some type of fiberglass animal.  The garden art needed to be large enough to fill the void yet light enough to be able to lift out of the way when it was time to clean the tank.  I was excited to find these metal orbs recently to accomplish my originally design idea.  Once a garden is created around each piece, I think they will look right at home.  The bluestone on each end is covering the clean out while the piece of bluestone in the middle is there just to support the largest sculpture which worked out perfectly that is the one that never had to be moved.  What do you think?  Did I make the right choice of bringing the septic tank within the garden bed? I think so. Now if I can just get the deer to stop eating my hollies along the front of the house, it would look great.

Garden art

I recently updated the website to a new template and needed to do some housekeeping in regards to the blog.  I noticed how immature this picture looks to what I’ve been used to over the last couple of seasons that I thought you’d like to see an update of the space from the other side so here it is.  This post was originally created in the fall of 2014.  The picture below was taken sometime in the summer of 2015.

New Milford Garden Art
Garden art in the landscape
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Richard Schipul
Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


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