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Old 03-20-2013, 11:03 PM
theK2 theK2 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Central Virginia
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The ultimate drainage problem (pic + diagram)

My wife and I have owned our home for 8 years but immediately recognized what would eventually become a big problem. Our home sits at the bottom of a small hill (6 feet from foundation to the top of the hill) which slopes down into our backyard on two sides. The water does not drain on either side of our property so we basically have a bowl in our backyard. This has created seriously compacted clay - so much so that there are many areas we cannot get grass to grow. See photo.



I was going to install a french drain but we live in Virginia and have lots of compacted, red clay. I actually started digging it (one day out of frustration) - about 20 feet long, 12" wide, 12" deep. The first rain a few days later, it filled up and took nearly a week to empty. I can't run it down the left side of our property because of the septic leach field and I can't go down the right side of our property because of the buried plant/electrical -- not to mention that is a LONG way to dig to the county drain/ditch. There is a slight slope where the big trees are on the right side of our property - just enough so most of the water pools there. We had considered cutting down those large trees which would allow us to regrade that side of the property and perhaps help some of the problem (or make it my neighbors problem which I don't really want to do) - but it still doesn't solve the other side of the house. Note - the front yard yard does slope down to the ditch but it is a very shallow grade.

Naturally the slope is also eroding quite badly now. We are considering terracing it - but don't know if we can justify that expense for a home we're not going to live in forever.

What can we possibly do here to deal with our small, wet backyard? Thanks from VA!
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:36 PM
theK2 theK2 is offline
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Location: Central Virginia
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Here are some photos I took outside today. You can see where I started digging the french drain here --- and you can see that the rain from this past weekend is still sitting in it. Guess I'll be filling that back in this weekend since its just keeping more stagnate water in my backyard.

The yard has plenty of issues but dealing with the drainage I think is problem #1.







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Old 03-21-2013, 09:23 PM
agrostis agrostis is offline
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Location: Winston-Salem NC
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I can tell you how i would do it.

Starting at the left side of your light blue line, that would be a drain line with a catch basin at beginning, middle and end of that light blue line. I would go through those tree's, and then run beside your utility's toward the street, this is not that big of a deal. Is there 3' between those utility's and your property line ? i would use a motorized trencher with a 8" wide blade, plastic corrugated, perforated wall, 4" pipe and pea gravel for the section that need's to drain. For the section after the tree's i would use solid walled,4", perforated, plastic pipe and 1/2" angular (cheaper) gravel for around the pipe. You could use a little bit of the trenched soil to backfill the upper part of this trench. Losing the rest of the trench spoil's is the biggest problem. I could do this with 3 people in 2 day's.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:48 PM
theK2 theK2 is offline
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Location: Central Virginia
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Thank you Agrostis for the recommendation! Bummer that you're not closer, I might hire you to do it. : ) We're about 2.5 hours north of Winston-Salem. Can you give me an idea of what you may charge for a job of this nature? The scale is a little larger than I had originally anticipated and I may consider bidding this out to local companies.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:54 PM
AllBrad AllBrad is offline
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Dry Well...?
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:09 PM
agrostis agrostis is offline
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I really can't give you a idea on price, i can tell you that the gravel is the most expensive thing and also the most important. You can't cut corner's on drainage. It need's to be done right the first time, don't use amateur's or first timer's. It probably will be expensive so shop around. This is a profile picture of a proper drain line.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:18 PM
theK2 theK2 is offline
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Location: Central Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agrostis View Post
I really can't give you a idea on price... It need's to be done right the first time, don't use amateur's or first timer's. It probably will be expensive so shop around.
I understand. Thank you again for taking the time to give me your opinion. Very helpful.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:35 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
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Location: Central Wisconsin
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I would bring in fill around the house or even bring up the dirt from the edges of the property and bring it up to the foundation of the house, thereby making it the high spot and all the lawn slopes toward the edges of the property...

It will end up looking a bit like a drainage ditch around the edge of a field... but there's no way too alter the flow of the hill...
I would at least run the roof runoff into a hole in the ground, filled with rock...
__________________
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Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
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clay , drainage , french drain , virginia , water

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