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12th April 2009
More than half of homeowners have to deal with some sort of yard drainage problem. The good news is that most of these issues are generally easy to fix without having to call in a professional. If you are one of those homeowners who is plagued with drainage problems, you’ll be happy to know that there is hope for your soggy basement or backyard.
Water Drainage Problems
The first thing to do is assess the problem. Identify where the water is coming from and where it tends to collect. Many problems occur simply from a clogged gutter or drain. Over time, blocked gutters can create water drainage problems such as moisture in the foundation of your home. This can lead to a damp basement and possible mold or mildew issues. Gutters and downspouts should be checked and cleaned out regularly to avoid the build-up of leaves, twigs, seeds, and other particles. Be sure to also keep storm drains and streets free of leaves, trash, or other debris that may be creating blockages in your drainage system. Making drainage system maintenance a priority will save you from costly water damage repairs in the future.
If your home does not have a proper drainage system, or if the one you have is currently in disrepair, installing a simple gutter and downspout may easily solve your drainage problems. The gutters of a home should run from the highest point of your roof to the lowest point. They should then empty into a downspout, which channels the rainwater away from the foundation of your home. Downspouts should empty out about 6 feet away from your home. This will ensure that the water will not find its way back to your home’s foundation. Also, make sure not to empty your rainwater onto your neighbor’s property. Lastly, when installing any drainage system, pay attention to the slope of your yard. A slight downward slope away from your home is necessary for water to flow in the proper direction and to avoid stagnant water from collecting in the pipes.
Yard Drainage Problems
If the problem does not reside in your gutters or downspout, then it could be a problem of gradation. Most building regulations require that yards have a downward slope of about 6 inches per every few feet of run. However, erosion can level out your yard over time. The result is soggy areas throughout your yard every time it rains. These low-lying patches of lawn can also be made worse if you are in a region with a shallow water table. If this occurs, you have a few different options.
Clay is generally filtration resistant. If the top soil of your lawn is mostly clay, try spreading some compost, sand, or other organic material. You can use a rototiller to mix the soil in. This will make your top soil more absorbent. If you have a soggy garden, try raising your flower beds to keep them from drowning. Installing a drainage system in your garden may make them too dry. If you do install a drainage system in your yard, pay attention to the type of pipes you use. Most are made of plastic; some have perforations and some are solid. Solid pipes are used to carry water past wet or low-lying areas. Perforated pipes have tiny holes in them, through which water can flow into or out of. Perforations should always face downward or they may be ineffective.
In all drain problems, always remember that water flows from areas of greater resistance to areas of less resistance. For example, aside from always flowing downhill, water flows through gravel easier than soil and through a pipe easier than gravel. Sticking to this rule of thumb will help you make sense of your lawn drainage problems and hopefully lead to a drier yard.