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How to fix standing water in yard?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by mordak, May 9, 2013.

  1. mordak

    mordak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    I'm a new home owner with new construction (2012). Almost all flat yard, house is at high point in yard.

    Clay/heavy clay soil.
    Near the property line, on both sides of the house, I have a ~10-15 ft. area that holds water and stays there for 1.5 - 3 days depending on how much it rains. Standing water is covered by my warranty for the new house.

    They came out yesterday to "fix" it.

    Their solution was to dig a swale in a U-shape from both sides of my house around the backyard and connecting with each other.

    My yard that was nicely flat (and it didnt hold water in backyard), now has this ditch in it that I hate because I like to play fetch with my small dog (I'm worried he'll get hurt running across it, and the pics don't show it, but the ditch is nearly 1 ft deep), and I'm allergic to mosquitoes which I think are going to love their ditch.

    They said the ground was wet and hard to do smooth grading today, so it's really bumpy right now. But they also said they are going to come back with dry soil and do fine grading...but they did put seed and straw down, which doesn't make sense at this point.

    I told the builder I'm not happy having a swale and I want them to flatten my backyard like it was before, and just build up the sides where the water is and install a french drain.

    What are my options here? I'm really upset with what they've done to my backyard




  2. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,898

    who wants a ditch in their yard? noone

    this is not an acceptable solution.

    just fill the low spots in with dirt and level the yard out. tell them to bring a drump truck load in if they have to.

    putting the dirt up against the bottom of a wooden fence is another no-no.

    that will make the fence rot at the bottom.
  3. DoubleClutch

    DoubleClutch LawnSite Member
    Posts: 165

    Where does the ditch drain to? If it doesn't drain then all you have is a moat and they may as well put in a draw bridge. The water has to drain away from the house and not pond up in the yard. I had a area in my yard that held water and I put in a French Drain that ran across the yard about 30 yards to the ditch along the road. Did that 4 years ago and haven't had a issue sense.
  4. mordak

    mordak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    The ditch drains to...no where.

    Sorry about the double post, didnt mean to.

    So my solution is to have them level the backyard again by getting rid of the moat/swale, then just building up the sides of the house where the original problem was and put a french drain in on both sides of the house leading out to the street?



  5. DoubleClutch

    DoubleClutch LawnSite Member
    Posts: 165

    That would be the best solution i think. You can also put a french drain from the down spouts and connect it to the french drain going to the street. My need to look into regulation's in your area and see what they allow with water run off.
  6. mordak

    mordak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    I think my downspouts actually are part of the problem of the pooling water on the side of the house too =/

    The builder probably broke some kind of county code or something by building this swale/ditch in my backyard. Maybe I should call the county and ask
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Yes, and they'll probably tell you that you can't run a french drain to the street.

    You need to find someone who can do a good water mitigation plan for you.

    You can do some sort of drain tiles, but they would probably need to be ran to some buried NDS catch basins in the yard.

    Most of your problem comes from the hardpan about 12" or better under the surface. Getting through that hardpan is the key either with catch basins, or even taking a post hole digger and drilling holes in the lawn and filling them with sand or pea gravel.



  8. mordak

    mordak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    Really something as simple as digging holes with a post hole digger in the low spots and filling the holes 1/2 gravel or sand and 1/2 topsoil could fix my problems?

    I want to keep costs to 0 because this is a warranty issue, but if I try to make them do something expensive they're going to try to say no, and I'd rather not go to court and everything...but if I have to I will, maybe...

    They did THIS as their 1st attempt which seems like the cheapest option they could have done.

    Below is a picture of the standing water approx 36 hours after rain stopped. This is BEFORE they tore up my yard yesterday.

  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    When new houses and sub divisions are built, the machines used to grade and strip the area create a hard pan.

    Not to mention the 20+ contractors that use the lot as a parking space when the house is being built.

    On the farm, we used to dig deep post holes in wet spots to help the water drain. It works for about 5-10 years before needing done again.

    In a residential setting, it might be a semi-permanent fix. Especially if you fill the holes with a porous material to aid in draining.

    And, judging by the pics, everyone's yards around you drain into your yard. There is laws against this.

  10. mordak

    mordak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    This last picture is right on the property line between my neighbor and myself.
    My yard and house are on the right side. (You can see the property line where the 2 fence types change.)

    My house actually sits higher than his house.

    Compare the 1st picture right side, and the picture I just put on recently right side.

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