Drainage Systems for Yards

Let's discuss drainage systems for yards and how you can constructed a drainage system to removed water from your wet yard. What are the best drainage systems for yards?

Wet yards devalue your home value and are a nuisance. The good news is that they are fixable. I will explain the simplest systems and the ones that work best in 98 percent of the time.

It is estimated that 60 percent of homeowners have some type of water problem in their yard. The easy solution is to sell your house and buy one of the 40 percent. Yes, I agree with you. That is a "Crazy Idea," so throw that suggestion out the window.

There is a better solution. I have been advising homeowners for years about their water problems and drainage systems for yards. Let's take a look at some of the ways you can solve 90 percent of your drainage problems.

The best water system isn't a system at all, it is a grass swale. Let me explain:

Ground Settlement Against the
Foundation of  Your Home

One of the most common problems I have investigated in the past 19 years is water pooling next to the house. This solution doesn't require a drainage system for yards. First, identify the problem... be able to describe it.

Why does this problem exist for so many homeowners?

It starts with the grading of the yard during construction of the house.

The contractor digs footing and foundations around the perimeter of the house. Once the concrete footing and foundation is poured, he backfills the cavity with loose soil. Rarely, have I ever seen a contractor compact the soil used around the foundation. And over time the soil settles and often becomes the lowest area in the yard.

To make matters worse, the perimeter of the house has been landscaped with beautiful shrubbery. This makes correcting the sunken soil around the foundation very difficult.

Even properly graded lots will settle if grading contractors do not compact the soil around the foundation. Over time, the ground around the foundation settles and low areas are created next to the foundation. Water flow to the low areas and collects against to the house foundation.

Every lot should be graded to drain water away from the house. The elevation of the home should be set to direct water away from the building foundation. Good grading contractors always provide for adequate drainage.

Topography of Your Lot

Lots come in all sizes, shapes and configurations. The original topography of the lot dictates how the lot should be graded to best protect the home from water damage.

Some lots are at a higher elevation in the front, some are higher at the rear of the lot and others higher on the sides of the lot. The grading contractor grades the lot for the house site.

Some lots require cutting into a hillside to level the lot. Others lots require fill material to raise a portion of the lot.

An example would be of a lot that slopes from the rear of the lot to the front. The grader cuts into the hill at the rear of the lot to level the ground for the building pad. He grades the area in the rear of the house footprint to drain the water around the house and to the street.

No matter what type of grading is required, the building pad should be elevated six inches or more on all side for proper drainage.

How to Construct Grass Swales

Grass swales are shallow ditches. They are constructed to carry water around the house to a lower elevation. Storm drainage water directed to the grass swale and the swale carries the water away from the house.

A drainage swale is a shallow, U-shaped grassland depression that is constructed to direct water from the ground surface to a discharge point. 

Swales are usually grassed...some are lined with stone. They should be constructed with sufficient capacity and slope to carry the storm water away from the structure. The discharge point should not create drainage issues with neighbors. Always be aware of where the water discharges. Insure that the discharge location will not affect the downstream neighbor.

Drainage systems for yards also include the stone swale. Stone swales are very popular with homeowners. 

Protect Your Foundation

Water is an enemy of building foundations and any measure you can do to prevent water from reaching the foundation will help protect your home. Drainage systems for yards are recommended by water damage experts to drain water away from house foundations.

Gutters and downspouts serve an important function for carrying water from the roof to the ground. Never allow water from a downspout to directly splash onto the ground. The velocity of water from the downspout will erode the ground and create pockets in which water will stand. Standing water will seep into the ground and will saturate the soil around the foundation.

Standing water around your home is never a welcome sign. Standing water can also be a habitat for mosquitoes.

Drainage Systems for Yards
by Atlanta Engineering Services

Atlanta Engineering Services' water damage experts are engineers with years of experience in hydrology. We have been designing drainage systems for yards and evaluating drainage problems for more than 24 years. We are Experts in storm water drainage systems, what causes drainage problems and how to fix drainage problems.

We are certified by the American Institute of Hydrology.

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