Guide to Lawn Drainage Systems – Best Option to Choose
Grading and drainage are the primary concerns of any homeowner, especially in rainy climates. However, people in areas with little rainfall should also consider these issues to warn a range of problems starting from draining towards house foundation and up to water puddling in the landscape. Fortunately, with the development of modern technologies you have an opportunity to select from several variants and gain the optimal variant suiting all your preferences.
To determine the exact type of the drainage system you need to install, you can invite foundation experts to evaluate your property. Despite surface drains can be appreciated by the vast majority of homeowners, French drains may suit your lawn or yard more. Besides, you can contact the local foundation repair contractor to learn the pros and cons of every system available. Consider all the factors that can contribute to the effectiveness of the outside drain you have chosen.
Apart from the quality drainage system, you need to follow simple tips to keep your lawn or yard orderly without excess water. Prevent the occurrence of soggy areas within your yard:
- Extend the downspout. A basin for water can appear if the lawn is close to the house. However, this problem can be effectively solved by extending the downspout. Before you start working to get rid of the wet spot, you need to survey the situation and find the source of water. Downspout that area and redirect the water flow to an exact area you need.
- Drawing a drainage plan is a great tip on how to eliminate the risk of soggy yard areas appearance. Make a sketch of the property you have, determine high and low spots, draw the directions of the water flow and make a plan how to manage the problem and direct water outside your garden. Make sure your drainage system will not cause your neighbors to start worrying about the soggy yard.
- Creek bed as another effective tool to channel water away or redirect it. Make a shallow drainage ditch, lining it with stones or gravel and add some attractive items, like plantings, boulders or a bridge.
- Rain garden as a special area in the yard or garden, designed specifically to catch water. It cannot deal with soggy ground completely, but it is a great way to transform a mud hole into a nice-looking area.
- Add a drainpipe. The underground pipe is an exceptionally beneficial and convenient way to get rid of unnecessary water.
- Install the drain system you have chosen and enjoy an attractive landscape without excess water and related problems.
Types of Lawn & Yard Drainage Systems
If you are on the stage of planning the installation of a drainage system, you need to revise its types, considering the advantages and drawbacks of each. Discuss the issue with a specialist to take maximal advantage out of the experience. All the drainage systems are classified into four main types, with numerous effective and widely spread subtypes or extra options. Here are the key types of the system you can install:
- French drain is the most widely used type of the drainage system used by homeowners. It features a high convenience level and ultimate effectiveness in the water drain off. The method consists of a perforated pipe, which is installed mainly in flat yards to eliminate standing water. The facility involves a special trench that slopes away from the house and other property. When the pipe is installed, a homeowner can cover the trench with gravel. Standing water takes the easiest escape route, which means it seeps down to the tile and drains away. Forget about problems with standing water and related complications with appreciated and time-tested outdoor drainage system for yard.
- Grading drainage is another beneficial technique, which is exceptionally simple and still effective. To get a quality system, you need to rework grading to slope away from the house. At this point, it is essential to ask the contractor to assess the gradient required to redirect the water from your house.
- Footing drain is an approved and highly effective system. The main issue about the technology is the pipe, which is installed around the house foundation walls. The equipment is installed on the footing level. The pipe collects water that leaks through the top of the footing into the basement. The key function of the system similar to other ones is to drain water away from the house, peculiarly from the foundation walls. It is preferable to cover the system with gravel up to the surface of the soil.
- Gutter drainage system is a special technique that prevents possible damage to the roof water. Havoc and other complications can appear in case water is not properly drained. The downspout and gutter help to fulfill the main purpose of the technique, draining away roof water. The downspout directs that water into the catch basin, storm sewer or other items aimed at collecting water.
Apart from the main types of the drainage systems, there are numerous other options, which can be effective alternatives:
- Dry good system is an innovative and revolutionary alternative to French drain. The option features environment-friendly nature that helps to get rid of the water without any harm to nature. The equipment discharges the stormwater effectively, as the drains are directed to the underground storage well. According to numerous studies, a dry well system is a cost-effective option that is exceptionally successful and widely recommended.
- Corrugated plastic tubes. This is an ultimately inexpensive solution that directs water to downspouts. The corrugated plastic tube that sits over the end of the installed downspout or stays underground is aimed at directing water within the yard or garden to drain or disburse.
- Bog area. If the area with excess water is not big, you can plant willows, red-twig dogwoods or other plants that are well-adapted to bog conditions.
With so many options available, it is easy to choose drains for water that will be both inexpensive and effective. Discuss the issues with a specialist in case you are not confident in the choice.
Possible Drainage Problems and Their Solutions
Before the installation of any drain system, you need to consider all the factors that can contribute to its functioning. Specific problems can appear if the system is installed wrong or the preparatory stage has been omitted.
Primarily to making the final decision, you need to estimate the whole picture of the garden or yard to make sure the selected drainage system can cope with the existing tasks and possible problems. There are many factors that can contribute drastically to soggy garden, waterlogged yard, and other complications. Here are top 10 problems you need to bear in mind while opting for effective drainage for the grass:
- Compacted soil, which is the combination of topsoil and subsoil, that usually results in a spongy and soggy lawn;
- Sustained rainfall is a dangerous thing that can make underground springs change the direction;
- The garden, which is lower than the neighboring one. Such a situation will result in the water flow to your area so that you need to find effective ways to redirect the water and fight the problem.
- Home extensions, swimming pools and other structures can cause gardens and yards to flood.
- Water tables.
- Clay soil that does not allow easy water drainage. The issue is possible to overcome, but it is exceptionally difficult.
- Uneven lawn surface. The water flow is ultimately slow on certain soil types, which allows water to flood and puddle during rain.
- Diverting water from the property. Once the neighbors have recently installed a new drainage system, make sure they did not direct the drain to your garden or yard.
- Hard landscaping can cause serious drainage-related problems. Instead of soaking into the ground, rainwater runs across the impermeable surface into the garden, yard or property below it.
Despite all the existing problems and complications, each of them has an effective solution. The most important thing here is timely reaction and improvement of the situation. For example, if the downspout has no place to drain, you can put the item into corrugated drain tile, sending water to the water-loving plants. If you have grade changes, you can discuss the issue with your neighbors and share the underground system to avoid any problems and misconceptions. Choose an appropriate location to direct water, which will suit both parties.
In addition, to convince the homeowner of the importance of the quality drainage system, it is vital to specify possible complications of constant floods, including:
- Basement leaks, flooding, and damaging property;
- Spoiled landscape;
- Decreased home value, due to the existing water damage;
- Health concerns, triggered by mold and similar problems in the basement;
- Foundation may crack.
Installing DIY Drainage System
Hiring a professional to install a trustworthy and appreciated drainage system is definitely a good idea, but, in fact, you can do it on your own, saving a considerable part of the family budget. A gravel drain trench system, which is installed below the surface can solve a great number of garden drainage complications. For so many years the system has been widely used to deal with the issue of soggy lawn and garden. The only things you need are proper equipment, time and desire. Trench shovel, trench hoe and trench spade are the tools you will need during the process. Generally, installing the French drain is not rocket science, so simple following DIY recommendations will help you get a proper drainage system and eliminate excess water within the garden:
- Walk around your property to mark the places where your yard or lawn retains too much water. Pay ultimate attention to the areas, where the water keeps standing on the soil after a heavy rain.
- Find spots for dry drainage holes. You can use some gravel or rock to mark these areas. 3 to 6 feet holes located from the center of the problematic area is enough.
- Dig holes at drainage locations. Scoop off the sod and set it aside before digging the drainage hole. Make sure you have removed all the roots of the plants and grass.
- Start at the center and work towards every drainage hole, scooping the surface grass. Make a line, which will be one foot wide. Repeat the procedure with each wet area.
- Form the trenches, excavating soil along the line.
- Scoop some more soil out of the trench to form a slope from a problematic soggy area to the drainage hole. The slope should be one-quarter inch lower for every 4 feet.
- Add 2 inches of sand-gravel mix to the bottom of the trench, since these materials allow a free water flow. Moreover, the sand will fill larger gaps in the soil, making the area flatter.
- Locate a 4-inch diameter perforated pipe into the trench and ensure the holes are down. Slip mesh sleeves over the installed pipes to guarantee no soil, sand or debris can clog the hole.
- Fill the sides of the pipe and its top with more sand-gravel mix and add more material to the height of two inches above the pipe.
- Add more sand to the top of the gravel. Bring the trench to the surface level and place the sod back over the sand.
- Add more sand-gravel mix to the drainage holes until you feel it completely.
This is an easy and convenient way to make a real drainage system on your own without spending extra money on professional assistance. Keep in mind all the possible problems and complications before you start the installation process. Choose the best strategy suiting your area and the condition of your property.