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yard swale maintenance

long story short ... I had/have drainage issues in my yard through a state program I had a swale (drainge ditch) installed. Works fairly well but eventually there isn't enough water so the flow stops. This leave some spots of the swale wet and grass won't grow (its o.k really, better a few spots in the swale than my whole stinking yard!)the part of the swale in my front yard was planted with grass seed and it never grew, it looks Horrible and is a pain to mow. I thought about putting rocks in it and trying to incorporate it into a garden, state guy says i can't put anything in the bottom of the swale. so that got me to thinking... if the swale can be planted with grass, which i know it can cause they put sod in the back yard swale, then can i get away with planting a ground cover type plant? I think i'm leaning towards creeping thyme. Can i mow that occasionally to make sure it doesn't get too tall? I would ask the guy from the state but he isn't much help, just tells me what i can't do and doesn't tell me what i might be able to do. I do appreciate the swale, but i have so many issues with my house it would just make me feel a little bit better if i could pull into my driveway and see a pretty front yard instead of a weed filled mess. And i might hate my house a little less if i didn't have to struggle with the mower on the slopes of the swale:(.

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