A terraced garden we made in Hawai’i. The foreground shows the final terraced and banana, coconut mulched garden.
Swales and terracing are used to catch water. Swales are when ditches following the contour of a hill are dug and the dirt is mounded downhill. Often ally cropping is done on top of the swale to lock the mounded dirt into place. The ditch catches water allowing it more time to seep into the ground instead of running off downhill. Terracing is combined with the swales flattening out sections of the land. This increases surface area and makes working on the land much easier. Living terraces can be made by growing plants such as moringa horizontally forming a small wall or ally cropping to stabilize a swale. Other terraces can be made by stones or tires though tires need to be covered because they release toxic compounds when hot. We also made a water barrel terrace that stores water and stabilizes the slope.