It is vital that homeowners address water drainage issues in their yards as soon as possible. Poor drainage can cause foundation damage. This can lead to foundation cracks, water leaks, flooding basements, and even mold.
You can address water drainage issues in your yard with either underground or above-ground trenches.
It’s important to understand why and how water drainage problems are occurring in your yard in order to better solve them. Poor drainage can be a serious problem. This will help you understand the importance of fixing it on your property.
Why you should install a drainage system for your yard
You may not be a professional landscaper or structural engineer but you might not know why your residential yard requires good drainage. Poor drainage can cause damage to your home, garage, shed, or other outbuildings.
Take note of what water puddles and overly moist soil could mean for your property
- Standing water can attract pests looking for water sources, such as mosquitoes and termites. This could include termites and rodents that might make their way into your home.
- Standing water and soil that is too moist encourages the growth and spread of diseases and fungus, which can kill your lawn and damage mature trees.
- Even for smaller structures, moist soil is not a good foundation. A shed, barn or garage may shift and settle.
- Patio pavers and concrete surfaces can shift when placed on moist soil. This could cause them to crack and chip.
- The soil’s moisture can cause cracks or other damage to a buried tank or in-ground pool.
All of these issues can be annoying and can lead to costly repairs, but the most serious concern for homeowners with poor drainage is the potential damage it can cause to their home’s foundation. Moisture can cause cracks in concrete foundations if it collects near them.
The foundation of a home can crack and become unstable, causing it to settle or shift. Cracks can occur along walls, floors, ceilings, and exterior materials such as brick or aluminum siding.
These cracks are more than just ugly. They allow cold air in winter and warm air in summer, which can increase your utility bills. These cracks can be used to access rodents and insects, as well as other unwanted pests.
To protect your home from the outside humidity, exterior walls and foundations must be strong and well maintained. Mold growth can be dangerous for your health and costly to clean.
These are all reasons homeowners should address drainage issues in their yard as soon as possible.
Landscape drainage problems can be caused by several factors
Understanding the causes of common problems with landscape drainage can help you to understand how to correct them on your own property. Here are some of the reasons:
- Water will flood your lawn if gutters on a house are too small or clogged. Rainwater will run off your roof and behind gutters if gutters are pulled away from the roof eaves.
- Landscape drainage problems can also be caused by poor elevation at the foundation. Your home’s foundation should be elevated slightly so water can run downhill away from it, into a gutter or alleyway.
- Your soil can hold water and moisture by not placing plants too far from your home or in the way that water runoff is affected. Water runoff can be blocked by large landscaping features like border walls or heavy stones.
- Paved surfaces or underground structures like septic tanks or built-in swimming pools can cause soil to retain moisture and not drain away.
- Homeowners who do their own excavation work can often have drainage issues. For example, if you dig a site for an underground water tank or garden, you may compact the soil too much to ensure that water does not seep through. When you fill in the excavated area, it is possible to not properly grade the soil.
- A detached garage or shed can be used to create a dam that traps water and moisture on your property. You should plan these types of structures carefully to ensure proper drainage.
How to fix water drainage issues in your yard
You now know some of the common causes for drainage problems in yards. Now you can identify why drainage problems may be occurring and what you can do to fix them.
You should have your gutters checked if there are water spots on your outside walls or water running down the gutters during rainy weather. Leaf guards can be used to keep your gutters clear of debris so that they don’t clog as often.
You might need trenches or extenders if there is a water puddle near the downspouts. These pieces are placed at the downspout’s end and direct water away from your home and yard to the street or into a nearby gutter. These extenders can be purchased at a local hardware store and placed at the end your downspouts.
To check if your property’s slope is correct, pour some water near your garage or home. If the water runs toward the street, you will notice it. If your property is not inclined toward the street, it may be necessary to grade or slope it. It’s often a good idea to hire a landscaper to do this. A landscaper can apply soil to the area around your home and then press it down well, creating a slope or grade that runs towards the street.
You can add underground drains or trenches to your property. They are typically made from standard PVC pipe, which is then cut in half along its length to form a trench. These trenches can then be used to direct moisture away form your home. Underground trenches can also be used to keep your landscaping features hydrated. They can be directed from your home to nearby flower beds, vegetable gardens, or the like.
You can make your own yard drainage solutions
While it is best to hire a professional landscaper/excavator to address drainage problems in your yard, there are some solutions that you can try to keep your yard’s drainage under control.
- A swale can be described as a dry creek or trench that you create. You will need to dig a shallow trench between your home and the gutter. Make it deeper the closer you get to the street. The slope of the swale should be downward. The swale should be lined with river rocks to make it attractive. It should then direct water away from your home.
- A rain garden is a collection of plants that require large amounts of water. They can be planted in areas with standing water on your lawn. You can use iris, aster and other lilies.
- You may notice that the concrete or stone walkways in your home seem to be shifting out of place and cracking or chipping. This could indicate that they are blocking water from flowing away from your home. You can remove some sections from these walkways and place gravel or river rocks on top. This is a simple DIY fix. Because rocks allow water to drain faster than concrete and stone, water won’t be trapped behind them.
How to avoid making mistakes when installing a drainage system for your yard
You might be tempted to try DIY drainage solutions in your yard. However, there are some things you should avoid. These will help ensure that your chosen solution works and you don’t cause more damage than necessary when trying to fix drainage problems on your property.
- Planting a rain garden requires that you use native plants and plants that can grow in your climate. You shouldn’t assume that any plant that is marshy or needs additional moisture will thrive. Instead, you should consider the sun exposure of your yard, climate, and other factors.
- Extensions to downspouts in your home should be long enough to rest flat on the soil. Extenders pointed at the ground could allow rainwater to pool or be absorbed there, instead of flowing into the street or gutter.
- To address drainage issues in your yard, don’t dig large ditches or trenches. Always start small and monitor the soil condition over time. You can try a smaller trench or swale to address drainage issues in your yard. However, large excavations can lead to soil runoff and drain away excess moisture. Your lawn and landscaping will then become more brittle.
How to avoid water drainage problems in your yard
You can avoid making costly mistakes when fixing water drainage issues in your yard. Here are some things you should avoid to protect your home.
- Do not attempt to install gutters by yourself. This requires some skill and knowledge. Gutter must be slightly angled to ensure water flows to the downspouts of your home, just like your property. To prevent gutters from falling off the roof, they need to be fitted with a specific number and type connector. Professionals can ensure that your gutters are properly installed and the right size for your home.
- A professional should also be responsible for installing underground pipes. If pipes are buried too deep or if the base is not right, they can sink and fall out of their original positions. Don’t install enough pipes, or don’t place them at the right angle. This can lead to standing water and moisture problems in your property. These risks can be avoided by hiring a professional excavator for any underground installation job.
- Installing a rain garden on top of a septic tank is not a good idea. A leaking tank can often be found if your home is filled with standing water or has too much moisture. Before you add any plants to your home, make sure to inspect the equipment for damage.
- Make sure water runoff is directed to the street or to a gutter. Never to neighboring properties. You could be responsible for any damage to their homes caused by your DIY drainage solutions. A professional excavator can help you direct moisture to your garden or landscaping features on your property, rather than to the street. The professional excavator can ensure underground moisture does not get diverted to neighboring properties.
This post was written by Tanner Brown. Tanner is the Owner and operator of Greenbar Excavation. Greenbar Excavation is a fully licensed, insured, and accredited Excavation company based in Prineville, Oregon. Greenbar Excavation is one of the top Excavation companies in Central Oregon. Don’t look further, go with the company with your best interest in mind! Click Here for more information.