Mastering Backyard Drainage Solutions for a Beautiful Landscape

Author: Touré Foster

Posted in: Drainage

Mastering Backyard Drainage Solutions for a Beautiful Landscape

Mastering backyard drainage solutions is important so you can maintain its health and beauty. Without proper drainage, standing water will form and can ruin your yard by killing grass, other plants and even trees. It can also be a hazard to you and your family’s health, by giving mosquito larvae and other pests a cozy place to breed. If water runs towards your home’s foundation, it can leak into your basement and cause cracking.

Read on for some important tips.

Assess your yard

There many different solutions to backyard drainage problems, depending on their cause. The first step in finding the best drainage solution is to assess your yard.

  • Are the downspouts properly draining rainwater from your roof and gutters away from your home?
  • Is runoff damaging one specific part of your landscaping?
  • Is water collecting on or next to hard impermeable surfaces like paved driveways, walkways and patios?
  • Are you finding all the water in one low point in your yard?
  • Is the soil in your yard comprised of clay, which doesn’t allow water to percolate through it?

First, you’ll want to carefully evaluate your lawn. This includes identifying areas prone to water accumulation or poor drainage. And also looking for low spots and places where water tends to pool after rain.

Choose drainage solutions that solve your problem

This step is critical, as you need to take the information you’ve gleaned from the evaluation and apply a solution.

Ensure proper grading

One of the most important reasons for grading is that it encourages drainage. Make sure there’s a slope to your yard so that water drains in the opposite direction from your home’s foundation. Proper land grading will solve the problem by forcing water away from your structure and not allowing it to pool on your property in the first place. This prevents water from seeping into your basement or causing erosion.

If you need to regrade your yard, you could include a swale. A swale is an area of the lawn which is carefully graded to dissipate water over a larger area, or direct the water to a drain. A swale doesn’t have to be obvious. Enough water can flow to be effective yard drainage with as little as a 1 inch drop every 10 feet. In most cases, regrading your lawn requires a professional excavator or expensive rental equipment.

Install a French drain

You can set a perforated pipe into the ground as part of a French drain system, running from the problem area to the safe zone. The pipe draws in water through holes along its length and the force of gravity carries the water away from your home.

A properly designed and installed French drain system does not require an outlet. The water will simply soak into the soil as it flows along the perforated pipe, which is surrounded by gravel. Because French drains handle water that is moving not just over the soil but through it, they’re the best solution for keeping water out of a basement. A French drain system can be used alone or in conjunction with a dry well.

Plant a Rain Garden

If you find water collecting in one small area, consider planting a rain garden. You can do this by planting native, water-loving vegetation to enhance absorption. You lighten the soil by adding lots of organic matter, or you can build raised beds on top of the wet ground. Fill them with a fertile soil mix and add moisture-loving plants, such as marsh marigoldjoe-pye weed, Siberian iris, ostrich fern or cardinal flower. Plant shrubbery and trees that thrive in wet environments, like weeping willow. The trees, shrubs and perennials that you plant can greatly improve drainage by absorbing rain, runoff and snow melt. Landscaping that has deep root systems can also mitigate and prevent erosion, especially on sloped areas and hills.

Extend your downspout

If rainwater from your roof is causing damage where it exits your gutter system, you may only need to extend the downspout farther from your foundation. Installing a drainage pan at the end will also help disperse the water.

Install a Dry Well

A dry well is a large, fairly deep hole that either contains a holding tank or is filled with aggregate. It stores the excess water underground and slowly allows it to infiltrate the surrounding soil over a period of days. In general, a dry well should be large enough to collect the first 10 or 15 minutes of a large rainstorm.

Replace impermeable surfaces

Surfaces such as concrete or asphalt don’t have the drainage properties that can resolve standing water issues. By replacing them with gravel or permeable pavers, you can increase the drainage in these areas. The pavers can be used for walkways and patios and will add an aesthetically pleasing hardscape to your lawn. This can be expensive, but it’s worth considering if you’re already replacing deteriorated asphalt or concrete.

Consult a professional

Before you begin a drainage project, know that many localities are enacting strict rules about landscape modifications that affect groundwater, even on a small scale. While these regulations are more likely to apply if your house is close to a lake, stream, or seashore, it pays to check permit requirements and wetlands regulations no matter where you live.

By mastering these drainage solutions, you’ll create a healthier, more beautiful backyard that can withstand heavy rains and maintain its appeal throughout the seasons. Contact New England Enterprises for a consultation. Our experts will recommend the best yard drainage solution for your property and your budget.