Dry swales are essentially bioretention cells that are shallower, configured as linear channels, and covered with turf or other surface material (other than mulch and ornamental plants).
The dry swale is a soil filter system that temporarily stores and then filters the desired Treatment Volume (Tv). Dry swales rely on a pre-mixed soil media filter below the channel that is similar to that used for bioretention. If soils are extremely permeable, runoff infiltrates into underlying soils. In most cases, however, the runoff treated by the soil media flows into an underdrain, which conveys treated runoff back to the conveyance system further downstream. The underdrain system consists of a perforated pipe within a gravel layer on the bottom of the swale, beneath the filter media. Dry swales may appear as simple grass channels with the same shape and turf cover, while others may have more elaborate landscaping. Swales can be planted with turf grass, tall meadow grasses, decorative herbaceous cover, or trees.