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6 ways to boost your yard drainage

Sep 14, 2017 | Services

With 2017 shaping up to be a very wet year, many homeowners now realize that their landscapes have areas of poor yard drainage, leading to “standing” water. Those who live on the bottom of hills will wind up getting a deluge from their neighbors’ storm water runoff. Standing water can damage lawns, trees, and shrubs and provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes. To keep your basements and low-lying areas dry and to maintain a healthy landscape that is bug-free, you must address yard drainage issues as soon as possible.

At Johnson’s Landscaping Service Inc., we know all about yard drainage and have great options to keep your lawn dry. These solutions include dry wells, Flo-Wells, piping the water to the street and water gardens.

 

Install a dry well

A dry well is a gravel pit below ground where water enters the pit and leaches into the subsoil. Allowing storm water from your property to run onto the street is damaging to our environment because of the fertilizer, animal feces, silt, and other things that mix with water runoff that enter the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Oftentimes, the dry well is covered with soil and sod, so it is not apparent in the landscape.

A word of caution: Dry wells can become clogged with silt, sediment and gutter debris that will cut the life of the dry well to five to six years, so you will need to clear it from time to time.

 

Install a Flo-Well

We can also install the Flo-Well, which is a storm water leaching system. This is a 49-gallon container with perforated holes throughout, and it is installed below ground with 1 foot of drainage gravel surrounding the unit. This can be used in a variety of ways, including collecting water from low areas, downspouts, catch basins, and French drains. The top has an optional drain grate to capture surface water in low areas. The system allows the water in the Flo-Well to leach into the soil and prevents harmful contaminants from entering local creeks and streams.

Dry wells and Flo-Wells work well for yard drainage issues. Water in your basement may need a different solution. Many times, water in your basement can be solved by grading and yard drainage work along your foundation.

 

Install More Drains

Prevention is the best method of controlling yard drainage problems. Installing channel drains to catch the running water and direct it to connecting pipes running underground and away from the house. This allows you to target critical areas around your home rather than use a catch-all system. Moving water away from the foundation will reduce hydrostatic pressure there. The soil will expand unevenly against the foundation, and you won’t get cracks that can lead to foundation damage or leaky basements.

You can also use more drains to redirect water before it causes yard drainage problems. Perhaps the most effective technique is to connect your current gutter system to new drainpipes running underneath the ground and away from the house.

 

Install a water garden

The landscape designers at Johnson’s can design and install a water garden for the space where your yard currently has standing water. Water gardens solve your yard drainage problems by holding excess water in an aesthetically pleasing basin that supports water-loving plants. A water garden gives your excess water a better place to go than unappealing puddles or the soil near your foundation.

 

Install a dry creek river rock bed

Another helpful landscaping feature in the fight against poor yard drainage is a creek bed. These look so great, even when it’s not raining, that people likely won’t notice that it’s functional rather than decorative.

The creek bed acts as a drain pipe would, directing storm water runoff away from low areas and into places that can handle more water.

Another common issue when your yard won’t drain is flooding on your patio.

 

Install ‘permeable’ concrete patio pavers

Imagine looking out your back window during a heavy rain one day, you’re shocked to discover that instead of gazing upon your nice patio, you’re staring at a small lake. Water is ponding 2 inches deep already — and the storm is far from over.

It’s a sight many D.C.-area homeowners have seen, whether during a long deluge like the one we got from Hurricane Sandy, or simply from a brief but powerful summer thunderstorm. But you don’t have to settle for standing water on your patio.

We recommend looking at two issues to address the problem. One is proper grading. If your patio has been around a good many years, the soil underneath it is bound to become uneven over time. Tree roots, normal wear and tear, and other factors will cause the soil beneath your patio to shift. Those changes will likely not be uniform, either, with some spots sinking while others get pushed up.

One solution: re-grading the patio. This involves removing the pavers — bricks, flagstones, etc. — and excavating the soil from your patio down to a certain depth. The depth will depend on what types of soil you have, what types of pavers you’re using, your yard’s drainage patterns, and other issues.

After the area is evaluated and excavated, new soil — or a combination of aggregates, sand and gravel or top soil — gets layered in, leveled, compacted, and graded to allow for efficient vertical and horizontal drainage.

Another solution: “permeable” concrete patio pavers. These are pavement systems that — together with very specific paver joint widths, sublevels of prescribed bedding material, and specialized construction methods — allow water to infiltrate between the pavers, filter down into courses of bedding, base and subbase material, and drain down into natural groundwater flows.

The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute offers a good basic video about permeable paver systems on YouTube. Of course, Johnson’s Landscaping Service Inc., an ICPI trained and certified firm, is always available to consult with you when you’re ready to reclaim your patio from Mother Nature.

 

Enjoy your yard again

Once we’ve got your yard drainage figured out, we can talk about what you’d do in your yard if you could hang out there in comfort. Would you like a nice patio platform for a grill or perhaps a complete outdoor kitchen with a bar which would allow for neighbors and friends to hang out while you cook? We can make sure that most of that area (except for the grill itself) is under a nice solid roof so that you can entertain even when it’s raining.

Perhaps, now that you no longer feel like water is the enemy, we could even construct a pond on your property, so that you, your children, and even the neighborhood cats can enjoy watching some beautiful golden fish swim underneath blossoming lily pads.

So if you’re sitting indoors and watching your backyard drown this summer, contact us today to discuss how we can design a water-wise yard landscape.

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With 2017 shaping up to be a very wet year, many homeowners now realize that their landscapes have areas of poor yard drainage, leading to “standing” water. Those who live on the bottom of hills will wind up getting a deluge from their neighbors’ storm water runoff. Standing water can damage lawns, trees, and shrubs and provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes. To keep your basements and low-lying areas dry and to maintain a healthy landscape that is bug-free, you must address yard drainage issues as soon as possible.

At Johnson’s Landscaping Service Inc., we know all about yard drainage and have great options to keep your lawn dry. These solutions include dry wells, Flo-Wells, piping the water to the street and water gardens.

Install a dry well

A dry well is a gravel pit below ground where water enters the pit and leaches into the subsoil. Allowing storm water from your property to run onto the street is damaging to our environment because of the fertilizer, animal feces, silt, and other things that mix with water runoff that enter the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Oftentimes, the dry well is covered with soil and sod, so it is not apparent in the landscape.

A word of caution: Dry wells can become clogged with silt, sediment and gutter debris that will cut the life of the dry well to five to six years, so you will need to clear it from time to time.

Install a Flo-Well

We can also install the Flo-Well, which is a storm water leaching system. This is a 49-gallon container with perforated holes throughout, and it is installed below ground with 1 foot of drainage gravel surrounding the unit. This can be used in a variety of ways, including collecting water from low areas, downspouts, catch basins, and French drains. The top has an optional drain grate to capture surface water in low areas. The system allows the water in the Flo-Well to leach into the soil and prevents harmful contaminants from entering local creeks and streams.

Dry wells and Flo-Wells work well for yard drainage issues. Water in your basement may need a different solution. Many times, water in your basement can be solved by grading and yard drainage work along your foundation.

Install More Drains

Prevention is the best method of controlling yard drainage problems. Installing channel drains to catch the running water and direct it to connecting pipes running underground and away from the house. This allows you to target critical areas around your home rather than use a catch-all system. Moving water away from the foundation will reduce hydrostatic pressure there. The soil will expand unevenly against the foundation, and you won’t get cracks that can lead to foundation damage or leaky basements.

You can also use more drains to redirect water before it causes yard drainage problems. Perhaps the most effective technique is to connect your current gutter system to new drainpipes running underneath the ground and away from the house.

Install a water garden

The landscape designers at Johnson’s can design and install a water garden for the space where your yard currently has standing water. Water gardens solve your yard drainage problems by holding excess water in an aesthetically pleasing basin that supports water-loving plants. A water garden gives your excess water a better place to go than unappealing puddles or the soil near your foundation.

Install a dry creek river rock bed

Another helpful landscaping feature in the fight against poor yard drainage is a creek bed. These look so great, even when it’s not raining, that people likely won’t notice that it’s functional rather than decorative.

The creek bed acts as a drain pipe would, directing storm water runoff away from low areas and into places that can handle more water.

Another common issue when your yard won’t drain is flooding on your patio.

Install ‘permeable’ concrete patio pavers

Imagine looking out your back window during a heavy rain one day, you’re shocked to discover that instead of gazing upon your nice patio, you’re staring at a small lake. Water is ponding 2 inches deep already — and the storm is far from over.

It’s a sight many D.C.-area homeowners have seen, whether during a long deluge like the one we got from Hurricane Sandy, or simply from a brief but powerful summer thunderstorm. But you don’t have to settle for standing water on your patio.

We recommend looking at two issues to address the problem. One is proper grading. If your patio has been around a good many years, the soil underneath it is bound to become uneven over time. Tree roots, normal wear and tear, and other factors will cause the soil beneath your patio to shift. Those changes will likely not be uniform, either, with some spots sinking while others get pushed up.

One solution: re-grading the patio. This involves removing the pavers — bricks, flagstones, etc. — and excavating the soil from your patio down to a certain depth. The depth will depend on what types of soil you have, what types of pavers you’re using, your yard’s drainage patterns, and other issues.

After the area is evaluated and excavated, new soil — or a combination of aggregates, sand and gravel or top soil — gets layered in, leveled, compacted, and graded to allow for efficient vertical and horizontal drainage.

Another solution: “permeable” concrete patio pavers. These are pavement systems that — together with very specific paver joint widths, sublevels of prescribed bedding material, and specialized construction methods — allow water to infiltrate between the pavers, filter down into courses of bedding, base and subbase material, and drain down into natural groundwater flows.

The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute offers a good basic video about permeable paver systems on YouTube. Of course, Johnson’s Landscaping Service Inc., an ICPI trained and certified firm, is always available to consult with you when you’re ready to reclaim your patio from Mother Nature.

Enjoy your yard again

Once we’ve got your yard drainage figured out, we can talk about what you’d do in your yard if you could hang out there in comfort. Would you like a nice patio platform for a grill or perhaps a complete outdoor kitchen with a bar which would allow for neighbors and friends to hang out while you cook? We can make sure that most of that area (except for the grill itself) is under a nice solid roof so that you can entertain even when it’s raining.

Perhaps, now that you no longer feel like water is the enemy, we could even construct a pond on your property, so that you, your children, and even the neighborhood cats can enjoy watching some beautiful golden fish swim underneath blossoming lily pads.

So if you’re sitting indoors and watching your backyard drown this summer, contact us today to discuss how we can design a water-wise yard landscape.