5 Landscape Drainage Problems and Solutions
By Steven De Nazareth
Updated: January 24th, 2019
Most homeowners have a serious problem with landscape drainage problems. This could be caused due to soil composition, land grading and other factors. Drainage systems are needed to effectively help remove excess water from flooded or over saturated areas. If there is poor drainage then you can connect with a reputed professional to resolve the issue.
By installing the right drainage system plan, you will be able to shift water away from your home to areas where flooding is a not an issue. There are several techniques that you can use to accomplish this and the best way of completing this is by ensuring that a particular area of the landscaping has a drainage system.
But, how can you tell if there is a problem at hand? Some signs are quite obvious while others are well disguised. You should immediately find a way to fix these problems when you discover them.
Some obvious signs include giant puddles that do not evaporate in a few hours after rain, water on your driveway and a flooded basement. Other faint signs include water stains in the basement, large cracks in the foundation or in the concrete patio.
You should consider that these minor inconveniences can build up to be a large issue which can prove costly and dangerous. This is why you should not ignore drainage problems that can be a much bigger problem in time.
What kind of problems, you ask?
From excessive water that can damage your home’s foundation, to eroding of sidewalks, patios, retaining walls and driveways. If there is a lot of water then it can overwork your sump pump, cause cracks, create mold and destroy interior walls and exterior surfaces. It’s also the perfect breeding ground for insects and rodents.
The Drainage Problem
When it comes to drainage issues, it is primarily based on two types of water sources:
Surface water occurs when there is excess water that collects in pools on your driveway or on the lawn. This collects a lot of surface water because there is no place for it to go.
Subsurface water collects underground and gets trapped when there is poor drainage. Even excess water is bad, it can still freeze and expand and the damage can increase much more. The frozen water pushes against your foundation and paved surfaces, causing heaving, cracking, and structural damage.
Though water is absolutely essential for life. It can prove to be invasive when it flows. This can cause several drainage issues and cause a considerable amount of damage. There are several drainage problems from puddling, saturated soil, pooling and even undirected downspout water. This can destroy landscaping and turn a backyard into a swamp. It is usually created by mold and moisture problems that can damage a home’s foundation and cause a serious drainage problem. You should improve or install a drainage system or you would have to deal with worse problems with time.
5 Most Common Landscape Drainage Problems
Poor Elevation at the Foundation
The most common issue that homeowners face is when water is being held at the foundation. This can be disastrous to the home’s interior and contributes to foundation failures. There are several major issues but this can be avoided if the initial construction of the house is elevated over a house slab. This will ensure that the house slab is high enough to get a proper slope away from the house. You can solve this problem but grading around your home to create another place for water to flow. This can allow you to keep water away from building up around the foundation. Install a subsurface drainage system with a basin and pipe to completely sort out this issue.
Plant Bed Designs
When you come to think about it, it’s not just the type of plants that you planted near the home but also the bed’s layout and if you need to find a way to prevent another common drainage issue. If there is an improper bed design then it can prevent the natural flow of water. This can cause the water to remain in beds and this way it will cause damage to area and kill your plants in the process. You can solve this by creating a drainage solution which will require a site level and a calculator to get the proper slope to move water down hill.
If there is improper grading in your yard then it will create depressions that are filled with water. In time, this excessive water can destroy your turf and plant material. It will also make the entire area marshy if this problem persists. You can fix this problem by installing creek beds that help move the stormwater on the surface. These creeks will also add some aesthetic value. In the worse cases, there is no way to move water based on gravity and hence you will have to use a sump pump to move excess water.
You should know that a proper grade is all you need to sort out your drainage problem and it works well not just for your yard but also for hard surfaces. This means that it can be done for solid surfaces like driveways, pool decks, terraces and walkways that need a proper slope. You should look at also installing retaining walls to sort out drainage issues.
The other hurdle that needs to be passed is when gutter spout exits are not properly addressed. In case the gutter is emptying into a bed area or an over saturated plant material or there is dumping of concentrated amounts of water on paved surfaces then you will have issues. In order to sort this out, you need to figure out where your gutters will pour out water and how you can redirect them so that the water can down hill and out of your property.
Factors that Determine Drainage Systems
There is no one straightforward way to approach a drainage problem. This means that you will need to consider different circumstances to ensure that you can determine the right approach. You need to know exactly what works and what is allowed in an area and what should be allowed in another. Those that experience drainage problems can work with reputed professionals that will help you understand the problem and give you the best possible solution.
Usually, a drainage problem is based factors like land grading, soil composition and other factors like what is the current drainage system used. Also, you need to know what is the best way to protect your home and landscape from drainage problems. You can learn about these five solutions to improve drainage:
Improve Soil Permeability
Soil permeability should be one of the most important priorities when you deal with drainage problems that plague your home. This could involve understand the water penetration based on tree roots, shoots,shrub roots and grassroots. Also, this will allow for compaction of yard soil and makes it impenetrable to water. You can reduce this by compaction and this can be used to aerate the landscape. To do this, simply add compost, manure or other organic matter.
Divert Excess Water
There are times that it can be hard for your yard to absorb excess water. This is usually the case if your lawn is surrounded by large roofs, driveways and their spillage is directed to your yard. You should make sure that the water that collects does not create more problems for you and your neighbors. You can get rid of this problem with French Drains and if installed property, it can remove excess water falling from the roof that can be directed to the sewer.
Improve Your Yard Topography
Normally, the general approach is to drive water away from your home. A lawn with a slope will be able to move away excess water. This would cause the rain water to naturally flow away from the home. Drainage problems can be solved by adjusting your yard topography and reshaping it. All you need to do is make the slop small but defined so that there would be no depression for water to collect.
Yard and Drains
A common drainage method is by making trenches that holds the perforated pipes that are filled with gravel and buried. All the excess rainwater seeps into the ground via the gravel and then into the underground pipes which evacuate it elsewhere with the sewer system. The buried tubes will work as slopes to allow water to flow towards the escape route and not in the reverse.
Nature of Your Landscape’s Soil
Usually, most drainage problems are based on the type of soil composition. Based on the presence of sand and organic matter in soil, you will be able to promote landscape drainage. On the contrary, clay makes the soil less permeable. In case, you find that your soil is almost impermeable then you should consider adding limestone and gypsum to break up the soil. You can also add organic matter to the soil to break it up and make it richer.
Different Solutions to Drainage Problems
Drainage solutions usually don’t work in every situation. This makes it absolutely necessary to know which drains you should use and its purpose. There are several ways that you can divert water away from your home. With the right drainage system, you will be able to stay in control over drainage issues and eliminate them.
- French Drain: The most popular drainage method consists of trenches with perforated pipes with gravel and buried under a layer of soil. With this, water seeps into the ground through the gravel and into the pipes which is then diverted to public sewers. This type of drainage system is used in public sewers. This is the most common type of drainage for residential complexes and homes. It is an intricate method of controlling water flow around the building or property. This allows water to be guided and flow in a particular direction and this is the best way to prevent basements from flooding.
- Dry Well: Like the French Drain, water is not diverted to the sewer but to an underground well where it can be dispersed back to the soil. Companies that offer drainage systems that are environmental friendly will ensure that this method helps conserve water and put it directly back in the soil. You can then build a dry well or a reservoir on the surface to move excess water and reuse it for your home.
- Corrugated Tubes: Usually these tubes are either above the ground or buried to direct the downspout water away from your home. When you use tubing, the diversion is usually to a particular area that needs a lot of water or where excess water will be harmful to the region.
- Grassy Swale: Companies that use other natural means of diverting water away from homes work with a single or several methods to solve the flooding problem. This involves a slight hill or grade that diverts water from one side to roll down to another or to disperse water in a more absorbent soil to create bog area for water collection.
- Planned Bog: In this method, you can use different methods to divert water away from the house and allow it to pool in one area with water-loving species. This is the best environmental friendly way to deal with poor drainage.
- Dry Creeks: There is a subtle but creative solution with backyard drainage issues. You can do this with a shallow trough that is lined with rocks and stones and offers excess water a place to flow.
- Trench Drains: A novel way to get rid of excess water is heavily paved areas that are walkways or parking lots. These trench drains are lined with concrete channels to help direct the water flow. This helps filter the debris by using filters and gates in order to reduce the clog.
- Site Grading: Use site grading to change the landscape and encourage water to flow in the desired direction which is away from the home. There are several drainage issues that stem from improper grading techniques for your home.
Landscape Drainage Professionals and Companies
You should ensure you connect with a landscaping company to fix all drainage issues and have the problem sorted at the earliest. Based on the complexity of the issue, you would have to employ even a landscaping specialist to sort out minor problems. A few inches here and there can make a significant difference when it comes to solving an issue rather than spending a lot of money to repeatedly fix the drainage. Based on your approach, you should connect with your home warranty company and sort out issues that could cause water leakages like the pool and you should also determine what things are covered. Also, your claims on insurance can go a long way on helping you saving a lot of money from damages. But, you should know the difference between a home warranty and home insurance. Based on corrective drainage measures, you should select the type of property and the most important thing that determines and identifies the water patterns and ensures that they know exactly what to do when they design and implement the new drainage system and fixes.
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