With the constant development of our surrounding lands, surface water run-off and its drainage from impervious surfaces are becoming increasingly important. For many of us, our homes are our best and most valuable investment. Poor drainage can cause property damage, make some parts of your property unusable and can even be unhealthy by harboring mold and mosquitoes. By letting these issues persist, they will only become worse. Below, I’ve detailed some potential drainage issues with their solutions.
1. Rain spouting flow – The roof of your home sheds gallons of rain water through your rain spouts and down to your foundation area. Nobody needs a wet basement. By getting water away from the foundation of your home, you can avoid these types of situations. There are a few of ways to accomplish this.
- Maintain a positive grade. This is simply making sure that the surrounding soil is pitched away from your home. Water runs downhill.
- Utilize a drainage “system” to channel water away from your home. There are many products available to accomplish this task. By the use of different types of catch basins, drainage pipe and/or even underground dry wells your drainage issue can be solved. Storm water can be conveyed off of the property, into a surrounding off-site drainage system or even to a rain garden where water can percolate into the ground slowly and naturally.
- Rain barrels can also be a way to keep rain water away from your foundation. By collecting the water from your rain spouts, this water can be put to later use in your garden. Be sure that the excess water from the rain barrel is kept away from your home by either method 1 or 2 above.
2. Surface water from a low spot – Low spots on your property can be in many places. Low areas can be along your foundation, driveway, patio, walkways or simply in the middle of your lawn. They can allow water to invade your home, make areas unusable through messy puddling or even create a liability through an icy spot in colder conditions. More times than not these problems can be remedied as follows.
Alleviate pooling by providing a positive grade. This can sometimes be accomplished by pitching soil away from your home and/or creating a swale system to convey surface water as needed. A swale is simply an above ground channel to move surface water to its intended destination.
- If a positive grade is impossible, it may be necessary to drain water away from your problem areas with channel drains, catch basins, drainage pipe, dry wells and/or rain gardens.
3. Surface water flow from off-site – Sometimes your drainage problem comes from a neighboring property. Again, water runs downhill. If you reside on a low lying property, water from surrounding properties uphill equates to potential trouble. Typically, these problems will fall squarely on your lap. Try to keep this off-site run-off from damaging your property by implementing one of the following.
- Intercept this water by creating a swale to convey the water safely off of your lot or into an on-site rain garden.
- If a swale is impossible, you may need to shield your property with French drains, channel drains, catch basins, drainage pipe, dry wells and/or rain gardens.
As you can see, all is not lost when encountering a drainage problem. There are a number of solutions. However, most homeowners are not going to be capable of solving these issues on their own. In most cases a qualified landscape contractor can be a great help in the situations detailed above. The last thing you want to do is create a greater problem by trying to solve the problem in the wrong way. Challenge your drainage problems head on and use these tips to get started.
Note: Look for my next blog post, as I will go into more details related to a similar topic of limiting your impervious surfaces by the use of alternative paving.
Project Designer/ Manager