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Mulch Drainage Issue

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Roachy, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    One of my customers is having drainage issues in his backyard. I am looking for advice on the best way to alleviate this problem. I have drawn a pretty rough looking picture of his backyard. The bottom of the picture is where his deck is, the olive green is his fence, the ring in the middle is patio pavers, and the brown is all mulch. His backyard is sloped on a slight angle towards the fence, and during a heavy rainfall, all that rain washes the mulch against the fence making a big mess. One storm pushed part of the fence apart. THe arrows show the direction of water flow, and the red circle I made shows where most of the rain and mulch drain to.

    Any advice on allowing for better drainage. The mulch and dirt is about 6in thick along the back side of the fence.



    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
  2. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Problem is not that the water does not drain the problem is where is all the water coming from?

    How steep is the grade?
  3. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    What is the soil type? How long does the water remain in the area? What is the slope towards the fence and beyond the fence?

    I am guessing the dirt and much are creating a dam along the fence. If cleaning up that area of the dirt and much to remediate the pooling.

    If that doesn't work there are two options would be a dry well. The second is making sure the grade slopes all the way away from the area where is pools.
  4. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    The backyard only has a slight slope, maybe 5 degrees. And the water just runs off the patio area and just flows toward the fence and then the mulch starts to pile up which pushes out the bottom of the fence. The backyard slopes so I cant change the grade, and I have shoveled everything away and it just dams up again a few storms later. Not sure what a dry well is.
  5. Procut lawn expert

    Procut lawn expert LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    i would just put a french drain in front of the mulch and on the side it mostly goes to make a french drain under the mulch and fence to were it will not wash the mulch away it will be under ground when it gets to the mulch . with the drain you can put mulch back over the drain and never be able to see it there . just put a thin layer of creek rock over the french drain in front of the mulch and it will look like a boarder you could even do it up to the fence and some more somewhere else to make it look like some designing in the mulch with creek rock to make it match not just be in the one place .
  6. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    Thanks procut, hope that might work. How big are the holes you typically make in a drainage pipe for something like this, and should I wrap it in landscape fabric before I cover it with gravel?
  7. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    Sigh... I'd say it could be a learning experience. However drainage is nothing you want to *mess* around with if you have no clue.
    A french drain would also work.

    Details like soil type. Slope is usally measure rise (or fall) over run. For every 10 feet the grade drops 4 inches. If there is slope away from the house it sounds like mulch and dirt are causing a dam. So the mulch seems to be the problem. So either remove the much and create a dry stream bed or something along those lines. River rock would work. Or a better ground cover that doesn't wash away any time there is a rain.

    A better ground cover would be best IMO. French drains and dry wells have a purpose, they can plug or fail from time to time.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The rain needs to be stopped before it reaches the fence... right off the pavers would be the place to modify drainage...

    Is that a 'ring of pavers' or 'solid circle' of pavers??
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I was thinking the same thing.

    Put a small rock bed or bed of some sort at the edge of the patio to slow the water down and try to direct it to the sub-soil.

    Problem with a french drain is where to make an exit point. if there is one, I'd put in a small drainage system and two dry wells buried in there somewhere.

    Here is a link to a down-spout drainage project on a back-yard, It has a catch basin it in to slow the water down as much as possible before exiting.


    Here is also a link to a french drain system I installed. I call the HO from time to time and he says he's pretty much eliminated water getting into the basement. No catch basin as I was able to exit the drain on the backside of the house.


    Roachy, can you post any photos of the property?

  10. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    You can start by putting in a culvert or two.

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