How Do I Manage My Drainage?

Let’s be real – no one likes drainage problems near their house.  Stormwater management is critical to resolving drainage issues in your lawn and near your house.  To accomplish this task, consider where the stormwater originates and how to manage the flow on the ground.

So, it rains – on your roof, on your lawn, on your neighbor’s lawn – and the water flows toward your house.  If left near your house, bad outcomes like erosion or standing water develop.  If you have a basement, ground water may enter your basement creating a nightmare of a condition.  In traditional neighborhoods, larger lawns allow for opportunities to manage the water.  In many newer, metropolitan neighborhoods, lawn availability is limited so physical improvements to the lawn are often necessary.  Here are a few tips to collect and get rid of water near your house.

  • Install roof gutters to collect roof water and channel the water to select locations.
  • Install pipes at the bottom of gutter downspouts to a minimum of 5 feet away from the house.
  • Properly slope the ground away from your house with a slope of 2% (minimum) for 5 feet from the house.
  • Grade or slope the ground of the lawn to channel water away from the house.
  • Exercise caution when installing landscape beds around the house so that water is not trapped in the bed or near the house.
  • Install a drainage system (pipes and catch basins) to collect water near the house.  The system should be designed by qualified landscape professionals for proper function.
  • Connect gutter downspouts to drainage systems.

If stormwater enters your lawn from a neighbor’s property, consider the opportunity to plant a carefully placed landscape bed to add a pleasing lawn feature and guide the neighbor’s water away from your house.

Something else to consider. Many times, sidewalks are installed at incorrect heights that trap water against the house.  Study your landscape for this condition.  If it exists, modifications to the sidewalk, landscape, or both may be necessary to fix your problem.  Lastly, as you develop your plan, think about ALL the conditions creating the problem.  Managing one localized condition without a fully developed plan may create additional problems.  If managing drainage problems seems overwhelming, consider consultation with a professional landscape architect or engineer. These professionals are trained to manage such problems.  Request references from the professionals so you can feel comfortable with their approach to managing your drainage problem.

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