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Drainage Issue...is this my problem?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Georgiehopper, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Georgiehopper

    Georgiehopper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    We were contracted to install a patio with some addtional small garden walls and plantings. Part of the job included addressing a drainage problem coming from one small part of the property. We addressed the drainage problem by installing a drainage system...

    Well, we recently had flash flood warnings and torrential downpours and this customers house is situated such that all of his neighbors' runoff comes into his yard. When we first looked at the job and discussed things, the customer only mentioned the section of the property that we corrected...he NEVER mentioned any other parts of the property flooding.

    So after the flooding rains, he called us and told us the patio was under water from his neighbors runoff coming in. We looked it over and could see that the neighbor needs to install a drainage system or else the problem will continue. This customer feels we are responsible and we said we are not responsible for designing the neighborhood and that it wasnt our fault that everyones runoff goes into this guys yard. The area that we did fix per contract, was not flooding and was working out beautifully. But this guy insists that we better fix the rest of his yard too.

    I say no and would like some opinions.
  2. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Messages: 1,878

    Charge his neighbors and fix their yard, therefore correcting the problem for the first guy.
  3. polecat63

    polecat63 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,655

    Just send him a copy of the contract, underline the part about drainage and circle his signature in red. As long as you did what the contracr states you are not legaly, or morally, bound to do anything. If you think he'll pay you to fix his drainage problem then give him a small discount or something. People are a pain, aren't they?
  4. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    you should only be responsable for the cotracted work BUT when designing landscape/hardscape projects, you must look at how off site prblems will affect the project. You should have noted that the neighbors drainage comes thru that area and made arrangements to handle this problem so you don't end up in this situation.
    You may be able to create a swale around the patio to divert the runoff if elevations allow you too. Or create a swale in the lawn to totally move the water. Just depends on the lay of the land.
    Hope it all works out well.
  5. stxkyboy

    stxkyboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    At the end of ur post u state that the guy wants u to fix the rest of his yard. If there is a fixable drainage problem in his yard sounds like u should have delt with it even if the water originated from another yard.
  6. NYRookie

    NYRookie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 240

    I had a similar situation last year, but the guy told me ahead of time that he got huge runoff from his neighbor. I had to install a stone trench at the beginning of the tile line to handle all the neighbors runoff.
  7. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    When designing drainage systems, you have to factor in all sources of water. That means you should have spotted where the water was coming from - neighbors yards, street/driveway, roof(no gutters) etc., and allowed for it.
  8. Peach

    Peach LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    I'm thinkin the same as the rest..... the professional should spot the potential drainage problem.

    We've all been there.

    BUT.... I get the hint that the guy may have been aware in advance and could have communicated.

    Try the contracted work angle someone else suggested. Maybe compromise. Fix it at cost. Don't forget that we are a referal business. Our company doesn't advertise and hasn't Ever advertised and we're booked all the time.

  9. battags

    battags LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    I'm a cop full time and just took a report of the EXACT same type of incident. In this case, the neighbors were in a full fledged fight when I arrived. Knock out, thow down, butt whoopin's going on!

    Neighbor #1 calls a contractor last fall to install drainage in his back yard and has it run to a low area that runs from the back yard down the prop line to the street. The contractor, a friend of mine, suggested running the pipe all the way to the curb. Neighbor #1 said no due to cost. Well, with the heavy rain, neighbor #2 had 300 feet of his gravel drive washed out! #2's driveway is a natural run off as it is, but #1's drainage has made it worse. #2 has had several visits by the City for gravel washing into the road. Their both ticked off and now the City Zoning Dept. is taking them both to court. City vs. #1 for improper drainage, City vs. #2 for blocking public roadway with gravel.

    Bottom line....The contractor has been summoned to both court cases to testify that the problem for #2 was pre-existing and that he suggested running the line for #1 all the way to the street.

    Oh, both are going to criminal trials as well......assault and resisting arrest. "Fences make good neighbors" is the theory here, right?
  10. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    There are very few drainage systems out there either in commercial or residential that will handle torrential rain and runoff. Even municipalities often cannot provide adequate drainage to the road. If it only occurs during the heaviest rain then short of surrounding the patio with a moat what can be done? I would bet there is a lot of water running at that point. Even major work may not fix the problem.

    Whenever I do any work that involves grades, drainage, etc I always state that it shoulds solve or handle the problem in most cases or something like that. Kind of like a blizzard clause in snowplowing. You never know what mother nature is going to send.

    I would bet that the condition existed long before you did any work and that it would continue even if you do make some attempts to prevent it. I live in a hilly area where homes are uphill from each other, there is often little that can be done to prevent runoff from one home entering the yard of another.

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