Drainage issue

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by spitfire3416, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    My guess is that loose dirt will just start washing into the mulch, so it may take several tries through the summer for it to settle and then plant the permanent lawn, in the Fall... you might even go with AR for the season this year...

    Just watch what is going on and communicate with the client... never let him feel like he made a poor decision and he'll agree that your ideas were his thoughts originally... :)
  2. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    Then it's going to flood the mulch bed. Dump it into a big ass drywell back there. You like to dig, right? :)
  3. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    well yea that's what i meant, run it to the back and install a drywell. now my main concern is pricing it right haha
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,670

    I see no downspout on the left, but rather eves troughs seem to send the rainwater to the right and a downspout releases the water on the far right--near the neighbor's downspout. That area seems to be lower, so does the downspout water drain to the street or to the back? Along the property line? Fix that.
    Back area does not seem low to me. In fact, the soil appears to be sandy. No cracks like might form in clay. Also I think I see several yew bushes along the house and in the circular garden in the center. Yew bushes hate bad drainage--if you can grow yew--the drainage is fine. Why are there bark chips along the back? Why is is underlain with black plastic? Did the bark job block the normal drainage? Why would he build a shed in a flood-prone spot? If the area floods...it should be muddy; where are the high water lines on the shed? Have you actually witnessed standing water in that area?
    It is odd that the bad drainage only seems to occur in the shade. You would expect water-loving weeds and sedges in a wet spot...along with green algal slime and black algae.
    If he insists on drainage, rent a trencher and install a French drain.
    Or recontour the area to carry off the water in a surface swale channel and fill it with medium-size rocks. Use smaller stone in the bare area near the main channel. Which--by the way--solves the bare soil problem. Allow for stones for dry foot traffic to the shed...which probably contains a big lawn tractor(allow for that).Flat stepping stones coud lead to the shed, with plenty of room for drainage under the stones.
    Get a level and string to show the exact grade--or rent a laser level to establish how much slope you really have.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  5. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    No, man...

    Read between the lines.

    When the customer called, chances are all they wanted was a grass cut?
    Or what it is they asked for, maybe something simple, and perhaps you might have gotten a little "pro-active" on them and started suggesting they do this, that, and the other... And then again maybe they did ask for it, maybe they wanted "suggestions" and you gave them that.

    Not sure what the deal is if it wasn't one of the above, but that's the general outline, when they come off with that BS drainage issue that CAN'T be fixed I know that's my STOP sign, halt right there, need go no further. Because this customer is saying they are not going to spend any more money than what they asked for, and if they did or did not ask for it that is what all that hokey pokeing around the backyard drainage issue means, they are telling you that if you are thinking of doing anything around that property they did not specifically ask for you might as well dream of fixing their drainage issues, that is what they're saying.

    And maybe they did ask for all that on the original call, I don't know, but they definitely gave it away, these folks are not going to spend it, so...
    Maybe they wasted your time or you wasted your own time, hard to say...
    Just stick with their original plan.
    Like if all they wanted was a grass cut, then that's all you do.

    It's not beyond hope, but these folks either wanted something simple and done.
    Or they're tire kickers.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  6. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    i honestly have no idea what you just said..

    i was trying to figure out if this was a drainage issue or lack of sunlight causing the grass not to grow...
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    There is one on the left (red arrow). It looks to me like the property is sloping to the back. The combination of the downspout, hardscape and grade would appear to at least generate a wet area in the blue area during storm events. Double arrows indicate potential surface flow direction based on what you can tell from the pic.

    Downspouts should never be dumped next to the house. General recommendation is to move the water a minimum of 10-15 feet away from the house on a falling grade. Start with moving the downspout water away from the house and wet areas.

  8. rootytalbot

    rootytalbot LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    I did home inspections for 5 years during the boom and I would have had to write up that downspout. Water dumping that close to the house can, and many times does, lead to foundation issues. We have red clay soil down here and it loves to swell when wet and shrink when it dries out - this reeks havoc on foundations.
    If they don't want to pay you to re-direct that down spout you could suggest it anyway for their benefit.
    But one thing I have learned about giving away freebies (even simple advice) is that if you do it once they think that you will do it again and again and again...it's like feeding a stray dog. Its a good way to see what type character the client has - if you tell them you will re-direct it and they pass on giving you the job, but you come back later and they did it themselves - well, there you go.

    The way I look at it is this - I crawled under and on houses, beat my fingers flat, fell off ladders, froze, overheated, got shocked a million times, lumber fell on me, blocks smashed my hands, I crashed bobcats, got concrete burns, ect... to learn what I know - there aint no way I'm giving it away for free to someone that learned their job in a comfortable college classroom.
  9. Vanderhoff Landscaping

    Vanderhoff Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    I have a similar issue with one of my customers lawns. There's standing water on one part of his lawn and he's had nutsedge growing in that same spot for the 3 years I've been servicing him. He's also too cheap to have it thoroughly looked at. I keep bringing it up to him and its like no big deal to him. He's a weekly client but holy hell it's high as hell when I go back the next week as compared to the rest of the lawn.
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