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TurnerLawn&Landscape
05-02-2011, 04:01 PM
I have a customer that has some low spots in their backyard where water is pooling up. I attached some pics that she sent me. Can i just come in with topsoil and build these areas up and grade them or does there need to be some type of drainage installed?

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
05-02-2011, 04:18 PM
You might be able to just apply topsoil. Its hard to tell from the pics. More than likley top soil will just make the water not visible but you will still have mushy spots. If so one of your options would be a french drain. It looks like the water has no where to go. So applying topsoil may keep the water from settling in those low spots.
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32vld
05-02-2011, 05:49 PM
Where does the water come from is the first thing you have to find out.

From the roof?

Then rain gutters will have to be reworked so the water no longer fills those low spots.

Is the problem that this property is lower then the road or adjacent properties?

Then drains to divert water flowing towards this plot at the property line.

And drains to remove water from the low spots.

However with the ground level already close to the same height as the sidewalk and driveway the only thing adding soil to the low spots is going to move the floods onto the sidewalk and drive.

vencops
05-02-2011, 07:36 PM
Is the problem that this property is lower then the road or adjacent properties?



The above gentleman asked great questions.

1. Source
2. Where can you divert it to? This is, ultimately, the key question.
3. Is No. 2 (bold) achievable?

You have to look at the big picture. Solving one drainage issue could create more (even bigger) issues.

N.H.BOY
05-02-2011, 09:00 PM
There might be hard clay down under that topsoil and no where for the water to go or soak into. I say dig some out and see what their is and then maybe fill back in with crushed gravel and then top soil.

vencops
05-02-2011, 09:14 PM
^^Where does the water trapped in the gravel go?

TurnerLawn&Landscape
05-02-2011, 09:39 PM
It is not water from any roof overflow or downspout drains, it is in 3 main areas, and two of them are not feasible to have the water drain anywhere if a drain were to be installed.

vencops
05-02-2011, 09:43 PM
So what happens if you build these areas up? Where will the water go, then?

Where's it going, now (when you get a really big occurrence)?

TurnerLawn&Landscape
05-02-2011, 10:05 PM
thats the problemo,

Smallaxe
05-03-2011, 08:41 AM
The only place to go is down... Dig the hole and keep digging till you get through to drainable subsoil... It might be work, but use a shovel...

TurnerLawn&Landscape
05-03-2011, 06:09 PM
Okay if i go with that approach, digging down to "drainable subsoil" how will i know when i reach that layer, and are you recommending digging up the entire areas down to subsoil? Thanks

Smallaxe
05-03-2011, 07:27 PM
Find a lowspot in the yard, that is not loaded with tree roots or something else you don't want to damage. Dif a hole, like a post hole...

When you no longer are dealing with clay... then you are usually in sand, sand with rock or gravel in it, sometimes you run into clay of a different color with rock in it... Small tennis or golball sized rock, but still clay... That is my yard and garden for 2-4 feet in various areas...

Once your past the clay or clay mixes and you think you have sand/gravel that will drain, fill up your hole with water and check the next day for the thickness of sediments, when the water is drained...

The size of that yard should be fine with 4X4 hole in the drainage zone filled with tennis ball size rock, with baseball size rock on top of that finished with 1 1/4" river rock covered with fabric and sand... Grow you grass in the sandy composted material over that hole.

If your clay is less than a foot thick there is no problem correcting the situation... It will be interesting to see what you find as you start digging... :)

vencops
05-03-2011, 10:52 PM
Okay if i go with that approach, digging down to "drainable subsoil" how will i know when i reach that layer, and are you recommending digging up the entire areas down to subsoil? Thanks


Partner.....I've graded probably 50 commercial construction sites. If you have too much water in an area, the goal is to get it out of there. Creating a portal is a completely foreign concept, to me.

johnyredd99
05-04-2011, 01:17 AM
I have run into the same problem. If you dig the hole let us all know if this concept works. in theory it sounds right. almost like running a perk test but instead of house water you will be draining the yard

johnyredd99
05-14-2011, 12:53 AM
dig your hole yet?

TurnerLawn&Landscape
05-14-2011, 11:42 AM
no i havent, i have been trying to get caught up with my grass accounts and it has been literally a monsoon around here.....ill keep ya posted

Groomer
05-14-2011, 03:10 PM
monsoon is indeed the key word here this spring, nonstop rain in the tri-state. This past week was the first week we worked 5 days in a row. Some of my accounts look just like your yard, standing water everywhere this year.

White Gardens
05-14-2011, 03:21 PM
The only place to go is down... Dig the hole and keep digging till you get through to drainable subsoil... It might be work, but use a shovel...

Ditto.

I want to hear the results also. Make sure you update us. When doing general digging I tend to find that layer in lawns that have 2-3 feet of compacted fill and then a more drainable layer underneath.

Farmers where I grew up would go out in the low spots of the fields once ever 4 years or so with a 8 inch post auger and drill down to help the low spots drain past the hard-pan.

vencops
05-16-2011, 07:23 AM
So....are you guys saying that every yard has a drain-able layer hidden somewhere underneath the lawn's surface?

What is your background?

White Gardens
05-16-2011, 07:55 AM
So....are you guys saying that every yard has a drain-able layer hidden somewhere underneath the lawn's surface?

What is your background?

Not every yard. But there is a possibility in certain situations that it could help solve the problem. I'm a fan of trying the simplest solution first, and that's where I would start.

As for experience, like I said, it was a practice used where I grew up before the now common practice of installing field tile to drain away farm fields.

That and whenever I plant larger balled and burlap trees, I always take a 4 inch auger at the bottom of my hole and drill down as far as I can in order to allow water to move freely so that if we go through a wet period, the tree won't drown.

Smallaxe
05-16-2011, 08:57 AM
Most soils seemed to be laid down in layers, with the smallest particle types(clay) settling out at the top layer, known as hydrosorting...
Variations in thicknesses of clay are everywhere, but as, White Gardens said "Start with the simplest solution first"

We are finally at a week, with sunshine, possibly for the entire week... :)

White Gardens
05-16-2011, 05:05 PM
We are finally at a week, with sunshine, possibly for the entire week... :)

Here! Here!!!!!!!!!

Agape
05-29-2011, 03:04 AM
So....are you guys saying that every yard has a drain-able layer hidden somewhere underneath the lawn's surface?

What is your background?

well, yes.- But it could be a hundred feet.

you could try a series of sump wells once you find the source- trash barrel sized holes filled with 2" river rock divert the flow to them.

vencops
05-29-2011, 07:33 AM
you could try a series of sump wells once you find the source- trash barrel sized holes filled with 2" river rock divert the flow to them.


I'd agree with this (as a pseudo last resort). But, I'd also divert the water away from the low spot (and create the wells - away from the low spot, too).

Smallaxe
05-29-2011, 10:10 AM
The idea is to allow the low spot to drain into the possible drainable subsoil. If possible put your drain right under the turf, in the lowest spot of the lawn...

or

What I like to do is remove the clay from the area if it is only a few whellbarrows, and replace with a nice sandy compost and put the turf back down on that...

First thing of course, is to see what your ground is really like...

Agape
05-29-2011, 10:38 AM
well if the middle of the lawn is the lowest point you are screwed. if there is a city drain at the road, you'll want to run drainage to tap into it.

Smallaxe
05-29-2011, 11:06 AM
well if the middle of the lawn is the lowest point you are screwed. if there is a city drain at the road, you'll want to run drainage to tap into it.

That is NOT the objective... Water needs to go DOWN... washing across the surface into a storm sewer is a PROBLEM, not the solution... In a heavy downfall IFall of your granulated topdressings flow toward the street drains, that means you have a very POOR landscape and need to get a PROFFESSIONAL to do it right... :)

White Gardens
05-29-2011, 12:05 PM
I have to agree with AXE. The idea is to keep the water where it is at and get it back into the natural water system, not storm-water drainage systems where the water could travel a long distance away from it's original destination.

Somebody mentioned the KISS method to be the simpliest method and doing a complete drainage project, and to me, that isn't the KISS method.

Even sinking one of these (Catch Basin) (http://www.ndspro.com/images/stories/pdfs/drainage/flo-well-product-information-installation.pdf) in the center of the lawn with a drain on top would be a great idea in itself.



....

PremierT&L
05-29-2011, 01:29 PM
I guess it really depends on what soil type you are dealing with, but here in GA sumps usually don't work.

vencops
05-29-2011, 05:03 PM
That is NOT the objective... Water needs to go DOWN... washing across the surface into a storm sewer is a PROBLEM, not the solution...

I can't see this being a problem.

The object of drainage is to actually have the water not stand in one place. You WANT it to drain.

If you're not using the natural terrain (and/or man-made structures), you're trying to re-invent the wheel.

White Gardens
05-29-2011, 06:07 PM
I can't see this being a problem.

The object of drainage is to actually have the water not stand in one place. You WANT it to drain.

If you're not using the natural terrain (and/or man-made structures), you're trying to re-invent the wheel.

Not so. Water moving across the surface and draining is a problem. It's picking up fertilizers, pollutants and soil along the way and then running it into a sewer system, that then runs into a creek, that then runs into a river, that then.....

Water gardens and small retention ponds are use in low areas to compensate for lack of adequate slope for drainage. This way you are collecting the water and letting it naturally get used by plants in the water garden or to naturally seep into the soil.

Same goes with digging holes and catch basins. Collect the water and let it seep into the ground.

vencops
05-29-2011, 06:22 PM
Retention ponds aren't put in place to allow residual chemicals to seep into the earth.

I don't what else to tell you. IF you don't have a pond on your property (and you have trouble with water collecting in low spots), the LAST thing you want to do is give it an even lower conduit.

You absolutely want it running into a drainage feature (be that man-,made or natural). That's civil engineering 101 (i.e. positive drainage).

White Gardens
05-29-2011, 07:00 PM
Retention ponds aren't put in place to allow residual chemicals to seep into the earth.

I don't what else to tell you. IF you don't have a pond on your property (and you have trouble with water collecting in low spots), the LAST thing you want to do is give it an even lower conduit.

You absolutely want it running into a drainage feature (be that man-,made or natural). That's civil engineering 101 (i.e. positive drainage).

So how do you explain the engineering practice of using permeable pavers in parking lots?????

Is that wrong also?

vencops
05-29-2011, 08:08 PM
I thought we were talking about a low spot in someone's yard that was accumulating water (and, it remaining standing for some time)?

We can talk retention/detention ponds; permeable pavers; leech fields; etc... in another thread if you want to.

Digging a hole under standing water is like someone saying "I've cut this 2x4 several times, now....and it's still too short".

White Gardens
05-29-2011, 09:58 PM
The whole concept between all is to keep the water in the local water table, not flush it down a stream.

If you can get rid of standing water in a lawn by digging a hole, then why not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_garden


....

vencops
05-29-2011, 10:11 PM
IF you can do that....rock on. I stated in post #24 the same thing (except to divert it).

You're making a helluva assumption, though (assuming you can sump at the low spot and solve the problem). I've never heard of it working. Never heard of anyone even attempting it (in commercial construction, you'd get laughed at and then removed from the project).

I wasn't aware there was an environmental issue with the OP's situation. A stream is nothing more than a natural drainage feature. I can assure you the water that runs off my back yard runs into a creek.

Mudly
05-29-2011, 10:14 PM
Water will always search for its level. why is this such a hard concept to understand. Give the water somewhere to go and it will go. cant tell from the pictures what the best route would be to achieve this but digging a hole seems pointless. plants (lawn) grow better in moving water "Well DRAINED" not stagnant water so there is no argument there. Fertilizer considered a pollutant is a fallacy, everything in fertilizer is already in the lawn before the fertilizer was there so you cant make that argument. permeable paver's are porous which allow water to "Drain" and route to a more desirable location, so that was a ridiculous comment. At the end of the day drainage is the solution not digging through to a drain able subsoil water will aways search for its level so why find more by digging deeper.

Agape
05-29-2011, 11:13 PM
natural, man made drains already take excess water from yours and your neighbors property, by tying into it you are simply fast-tracking the water to it.

Agape
05-29-2011, 11:16 PM
The whole concept between all is to keep the water in the local water table, not flush it down a stream.

If you can get rid of standing water in a lawn by digging a hole, then why not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_garden


....

nice link, but the OP was talking about an area where the HO wants lawn. also, you are assuming the hard pan is not 50 feet deep or more befor you get through it.

Kiril
05-29-2011, 11:36 PM
On site storm water management is the preferred method of drainage. The problem here is obviously a low saturated hydraulic conductivity coupled with high precipitation inputs. The solution is to fix the soil on this site. Off-site drainage is the last thing that should ever be considered!.

And for those of you who don't think pollutants can be carried off site via surface flow I give you this ...... :hammerhead:

Agape
05-29-2011, 11:43 PM
no one thinks pollutants can't, but they will anyways without off-site drainage.
I seems that less pollutants would be lifted out of the soil with directed flow if the water is coming from adjacent properties when detoured around the lawn.

vencops
05-29-2011, 11:53 PM
The solution is to fix the soil on this site. Off-site drainage is the last thing that should ever be considered!.

So, you raise the grade at the affected area......and construct a detention pond?

What percentage of homeowners do you suppose have a 90-100% on-site retention feature?

Kiril
05-30-2011, 12:01 AM
So, you raise the grade at the affected area......and construct a detention pond?

What part of "fix the soil" did you not understand? I didn't say anything about raising the grade. Furthermore, why would you need a drainage pond? A properly constructed swale will do the job just fine.

What percentage of homeowners do you suppose have a 90-100% on-site retention feature?

What percentage of home owners need a retention feature?

vencops
05-30-2011, 12:09 AM
What part of "fix the soil" did you not understand? I didn't say anything about raising the grade. Furthermore, why would you need a drainage pond? A properly constructed swale will do the job just fine.



I suppose the part where you stop the low spot (be that due to bad soils or bad grade) from retaining water.

Hey, you're the one that suggested keeping the water on-site. How else did you plan to deal with it?

And, while we're at it......when you construct that swale, where's the water going to flow, then (if not into a retention feature....and...per your instruction....on-site)?

What percentage of home owners need a retention feature?

100% of the ones who wish to keep the water that enters their site ....on their property.

Kiril
05-30-2011, 12:27 AM
I suppose the part where you stop the low spot (be that due to bad soils or bad grade) from retaining water.

Hey, you're the one that suggested keeping the water on-site. How else did you plan to deal with it?

And, while we're at it......when you construct that swale, where's the water going to flow, then (if not into a retention feature....and...per your instruction....on-site)?

The water flows down, assuming we are not dealing with a high water table. Only during rare storm events (50 - 100 year) would water entering a properly design swale ever need leave the site. These are issues that are dealt with during site construction, not on an established site.

If the soils drainage characteristics can be improved without completely destroying the site .... then DO IT! Problems with drainage that develop over time are almost always due to poor soil management.

100% of the ones who wish to keep the water that enters their site ....on their property.

Amusing. And it their soils can handle any given storm volume, why would you need retention features?

White Gardens
05-30-2011, 12:55 AM
nice link, but the OP was talking about an area where the HO wants lawn. also, you are assuming the hard pan is not 50 feet deep or more befor you get through it.

Had nothing to do with the original OP but more to prove my point that it is a practice to contain water on a property and manage it.

It seems some of the arguments against me were saying that basically on-site management was stupid and un-heard of from an engineering aspect.

Kiril
05-30-2011, 12:58 AM
It seems some of the arguments against me were saying that basically on-site management was stupid and un-heard of from an engineering aspect.

If that is the case, then those people are ignorant and uninformed.

vencops
05-30-2011, 06:21 AM
No one said any of that. What I did say was.....Engineering 101 = you want water to utilize either a natural or a man-made drainage feature to achieve positive drainage.

Now...tell all of us uninformed, ignorant people how the OP is gonna get that low spot fixed. And while you're at it.....ask him if that was a 50-100 yr flood that made the water stand (before you build that swale). I still wanna know where the swale directs the runoff.

The water flows down, alright (common ground...we finally agree on something). That's why the OP's where he's at. Now what?

Kiril
05-30-2011, 09:06 AM
Now...tell all of us uninformed, ignorant people how the OP is gonna get that low spot fixed. And while you're at it.....ask him if that was a 50-100 yr flood that made the water stand (before you build that swale). I still wanna know where the swale directs the runoff.

What low spot? Per pic 1 it appears the backyard was graded to drain to that corner, of course it is going to be low. Certainly you aren't suggesting regrading the entire lot .... are you? With an established site such as this, you deal with what you have, regrading the lot(s) isn't an option.

A properly designed swale will handle your typical storm water without needing to drain to some other location off site. A swale first collects water, then directs it if the capacity of the swale is exceeded. Where does it direct it to? Where the grade of the lot or land dictates.

The water flows down, alright (common ground...we finally agree on something). That's why the OP's where he's at. Now what?

Again, what part of fix the soil didn't you understand? Given the condition of the lawn, I would say some proper soil management is desperately needed. The OP should start with a soil test and survey of soil conditions. Only then can he make an informed decision on the proper way to proceed.

Smallaxe
05-30-2011, 11:17 AM
Wow, a simple thing like creating a perculating soil/subsoil in a heavy compacted puddle... No wonder most attempts at a rational conversation fails, when we are engineering drains, pumps, ditches or tiles to the storm sewers, rather than help the water perculate through the root zone and water the grass...

Is that the same blind spot that has scapers levelling out clay soil with a bobcat, before sodding? :laugh:

32vld
05-30-2011, 11:21 AM
The problem is never buy land that is the lowest in the area as did my FIL. Corner 7,500 sf lot where the neighbors land is all higher then his and both roads are above his land. His own personal sump.

All water drainage problems are due to natural terrain, bad grading buy the builder, poor rain water gutter run off system, anyone, anyone combination or all three will sink the property.

tuney443
05-30-2011, 10:55 PM
To the OP: Your client's lot appears very level to me so it should be obvious the storm water will collect in those slight low spots--regrading isn't going to do squat.Unless you can pipe[with a curtain drain and /or a catch basin]either out to daylite or into the town's storm sewer,you're left with on site management meaning a drywell or 2.BEFORE you propose that to the client,explain fully that you need to dig a test pit to see where the water table lies.If you get to 6' and she's a dry hole--STOP,no need to go any deeper.For that little bird bath you pictured up,I wouldn't be afraid to install a DW if the table was even at 4'.Just remember however--you can not put water into water on a gravity fed system,meaning you need somewhat of dryness and gravelly type subsoil will always be welcome also.For the DW,the sky's the limit,you can go precast concrete to a redneck style just fill the excavation in with tailings.I'm NOT a landscaper,I'm an excavator,I do this every day.Any questions feel free to PM me.

Mallen Excavating
Poughkeepsie,NY