I still remember get a call and text message at 10:30 at night 2 years ago when we had our monsoon rains in May. 

I got a picture of a driveway and patio next to the house covered in 3-4″ of standing water. It was ready to start coming into the front door and house. I felt so bad for this customer that I had to go over there and check it out. So I threw on my rain jacket and made the drive over to see how we could help solve this problem.

This is just one of a dozen stories that I’ve had about issues with water in yards. What causes bad drainage on properties anyway.

There are a few main factors involved. 

  1. Poor slope and grading around a home.
  2. Highly compacted soil and high amounts of clay in the soil.
  3. To much runoff from roofs and hardscape surfaces.
  4. Clogged gutters

Prevention is the best way to avoid serious issues with water damage. You don’t want to have an entire basement ruined because it has flooded due to poor drainage in your yard. I always tell customers it is better to spend a few thousand dollars installing french drains or downspout extensions than tens of thousands on redoing a basement or losing irreplaceable family memorabilia from water damage.

What are the keys to installing a proper drainage system? french-drain-1

  1. Always insist on PVC drain pipe being used. The black 4″ corrugated pipe is cheap but it does not last! It cannot be cleaned out with a drain snake if it gets clogged. It gets crushed easily when backfilling over it. PVC is much stronger and it can be cleaned out just like a normal drain line.
  2. Install catch basins at your downspouts and along the drain line so you can inspect the system. Catch basins are a small plastic box, typically 9×9″ or 12×12″ that has a grated cover on it. By putting these below each downspout that you are catching water in you eliminate debris getting into your drain system. This is the most common cause of drain failure in yards. Catch basins now have fabric filters that go inside of them that can be easily removed and cleaned periodically. We also install catch basins every 20-30 feet in our systems. This allows us to have a visual of the entire drain line and see if there are any blockages developing. If one does occur it is much easier to clean out through one of these access points.
  3. French drain versus closed drain system which one is right for me? A french drain is a 12-18″ deep trench that is then filled with filter fabric, 1″ clean grave, 4″ or 6″ PVC pipe that is perforated, then another layer of clean gravel, and finally you wrap the top with the filter fabric and backfill. A close drain system only allows water to come in at certain points (catch basins) and then has solid pipe from those leading to the drain area. French drains are very good in low spots in a yard or where you need to slowly gather water from the soil and carry it away from a house. A closed system is best for taking higher volumes of water away from the house like from downspouts or a driveway drain.  The purpose in having the system closed is to not overload it. Only allowing water to come in at certain points allows you to control the flow and rate that water enters the system.

In extreme circumstances an unground containment and filtration system may be necessary. We have experience designing and installing those water containment systems as well. Underground Drainage

Dynamic Earth Lawn & Landscape provides comprehensive design and install on drainage systems. We even have a Professional Engineer that is available to do extensive site studies and reports if needed. Whether you need a 20 foot french drain or a 500 cubic foot underground water storage system we have you covered. Call or email today for a consultation.

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