Lawn Drainage

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Jimmy, Mar 24, 2001.

  1. Jimmy

    Jimmy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    A customer called me today and told me every time it rains heavy his back yard floods. The back yard is almost perfectly flat and so is the rest of the yard, so there is no where to send the water. Does any one have any ideas on how to solve this water problem? Thanks
  2. Eric Mortilla

    Eric Mortilla LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    is there grass in his back yard? what is the soil like underneath? maybe you rip out the old lawn loosen up the soil and add some fill to soak up some of the water. you can also try putting in dry wells in some of the problmed area`s. my guess is he got hard pan underneath.
  3. lawnboy82

    lawnboy82 Banned
    Messages: 957

    yeah best i can think of would be to run curtain drains or french drains out to the sewers or something. or out into the woods. i mean i have wanted to try this for a while now, but you would need constant wet to do it.
    go in and rip out all the soil. put in gravel at the base. with some pipes. then go on top of that gravel and put in course sand. then on top of that put in some fine sand. then if you want to put some soil on top of that. and seed. there is another way to do it though. get rid of the lawn in that area, and put in a garden with some water loving plants.
  4. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Thats what I would do, french drain around the perimeter of the yard. It will work if you can get enough slope out the the edge of the yard or street, or drainage/sewer pipe.

    Good Luck!

    Hope this helped!
  5. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    In over 20 years in the green industry, I only met one man who could eyeball a drainage situation and suggest a viable cause. And while he would suggest possible remedies, he would insist that no remedy could be gauranteed until it was tried and succeeded. While many drainage problems will be corrected by common modifications, to state that a certain process will cure a problem that one has not investigated personally, in detail, is a gross disservice to the party asking for assistance.

    I have seen drainage problems where solutions were attempted by 2 or 3 contractors, each using his favorite remedy, and these attempts were total failures. Then another contractor is hired, implements his favorite solution, and it works. Lo! Behold! - this person is a true magician, and he is referred to others for his expertise. Alas, his favorite fix does not fix the next 3 jobs he tries, so now he is an also ran.

    To begin to solve a drainage problem, you must look to the makeup of soils on the site. Go to your county cooperative extension office, and get a copy of your county soil survey. This is a good resource for anyone in the business, because the makeup of the soil will determine the amount of work necessary to have a successful landscape on any site.

    No sense doing anything about drainage unless you are designing a system to handle a 100-year rainfall - what is the statistical 100-year event for your area? And what if you can really figure out the problem, but are stumped for a solution? Check with your soil conservation district office. They should be able to refer you to the appropriate state agency that deals in drainage - yes, drainage problems are not just an issue for one lot, or a community, they are regional problems, and states hire people for water management. In IN, this falls under DNR, and they will come out to site to criticize - no fee, of course, paid by taxes already.
  6. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    GroundKpr, your right with out seeing the lot or a topo of the lot and surrounding lots there is no way to tell what would work, Now fixing a drainage problem can be done, it depends on what the problem is and is it going to effect other people or buildings farther down the line?

    On to the problem, how long does water sit there?
    more than 24 hrs, more than 48 hrs, more than 72 hrs?
    Is he getting water in his home?
    Has someone lower than him blocked a swale?
    Or is it just a low spot in the lawn that holds water for a day? Is it because he has a sump pump that is pumping water from his basement?

    Lots of questions that need to be answered before any one can tell you what to do.
    You might want to check with the city or county for grading plans that might have been drawn to see if the problem lies on other property.

  7. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Instead of trying to send the water anywhere, here is a different way to look at solving the problem. Create a bog or rain garden in the area that holds water. Utilize lots of organic mulch, amend the soil with organic matter and plant water-friendly shrubs, plants, flowers, even trees. This will 'soak up' a considerable amount of water and make a mud hole into an attractive garden area. Of course, I like French drains, too. :)
  8. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Go ahead and give me that choice between planting "pretty flowers" and bringing an excavator in and trenching around a property to build a french drain!! LOL

    Guess which one I'd go with! ;)


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