Help with drainage on side yard

cmhcoop(8)February 2, 2006

I just purchased a home in the Central Texas area and I have a problem with drainage on the side of my yard, commonly referred to as the dog run. I have standing water near the slabs holding my air conditioners. There is no problem with it getting near the foundation, but because it sits on the shady side, it never really dries up. I use this as a pathway to my back yard and a place to store my garbage can. Because of the texas limestone underneath my yard, I would like to avoid digging a trench to move the water away. Does someone have a cost-effective option? Can I just cover it with gravel and some crushed stone? Help!!!!!!!!!!

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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Yep limestone can be a major pain in the butt.

Can you drain the water away to the street or something. You probably can go with gravel or similiar. You could build french drain to help drain it away but that would mean digging so i don't know. You can always rent a machine from Home Depot or Lowes to do that job for you! :)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 11:23AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I cannot imagine a solution that won't involve digging at least a little bit.

Crushed rock does not absorb water; the water will still be there if you put rock down (and slightly higher, as the rock will displace it) though at least you won't get your feet wet. Maybe that wouldn't bother you, though if it was my foundation it would bug me.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 12:47PM
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nativenut(z7B GA)

What is the water source? Is it gutter runoff or from the yard? If it is from the gutter, get extenders and move the water past the area to a lower spot. If it is from the yard, you could add a berm (dam) to redirect the water or a swale to redirect it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 4:10PM
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Currently, the water is from rain runoff. The house didn't come with gutters, so I am about to install those as well.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 7:02PM
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nativenut(z7B GA)

Definitely do the gutters and extend the downspots as far away from the area as possible. See if that helps first, then if not, explore the other options, it may be a fill-in issue to get the water to flow away from that spot.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 12:24PM
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We bought new construction in November here in N.C. and since then we've had pools of water in the yard on either side of our house and in the beds in front too.

The landscaping contractor hired by the developer did the bare minimum to make the yards look OK to sell the homes--lay sod right on top of clay, no leveling or clean-up whatsoever, and no soil put down to hold it.

In areas that are reasonably flat, the sod took, but drainage is terrible. After it rains, water stands about 1" deep in the low points of the grass and if you try to walk around the yard you sink into several inches of mud. We're already having a mosquito problem too.

Additionally, there are bed areas that routinely flood when it rains. One is located directly in front of the house. There is a stand of mature cedar trees there which were untouched during construction due to "tree save" requirements by the country zoning commission. The house is at a slightly higher elevation than where the trees are in this front bed, so each time it rains, water collects in there like a pond, submerging the trunks of the cedars under a few inches of water for up to 24 hours.

To the side of the house (behind the cedar bed) is a patch of sod-lawn that appears level, but is actually a few inches higher than the cedar bed, but lower than the next-door neighbor's yard a mere 15 feet away. When water comes out of their downspouts, it pours directly onto my flat area of lawn. Additionally, I have two downspouts emptying into the same area. The consequence is that this area is always wet, muddy, swampy, and nothing I plant in the bed close to the foundation survives. In fact, I discovered the problem at first when shrubs were showing symptoms of drowning despite drought and a broken irrigation system!

Builder is responsible because warranty stipulates standing water that lasts more than 36 hours is his fault. He wants to come in and re-grade the lawn area to include a ditch that would run between my yard and the neighbor's yard. He calls this a "mowable slope," but I think it will be hard to mow and we do our own lawn care.

He does not plan to re-grade the area of the tree bed, so I'm not sure how the water from that lowest point will even make it to the trench he plans to dig to the side of the house.

Aside from not liking the look of a "V" shaped side yard, I'm worried about erosion. On the other side of the house where there is already more of a "V" configuration between our house and the next house, no grass will grow, and there's a canyon forming from the rain we've been having. I asked builder about this, and about how digging a trench will only make erosion problem bigger, but he says we have to "work harder" to prevent erosion on our nickel!

We've heard a better option would be to install french drains around the problem areas and piped to the lowest point of the yard,ultimtely draining into the road below (house is built into side of a hill, with rear-entry garage/basement at ground level below ground level of front door).

Who's right? Builder says surface drainage "never fails," drainage "expert" says surface drainage will cause erosion and unsightly shape to yard.

Money is tight, builder doesn't want to pay for anything other than his regrading plan.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 11:28PM
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nativenut(z7B GA)

If the builder puts in the swale, there are better options than grass for erosion. You could treat it like a "rain garden," which is what we did. It has "pockets" where the water pools that are planted with native plants that thrive in these conditions. If you have any good sized rocks lying around, you could use them in the swale to slow the water and give it a waterfall effect. Plants are your best bet for the erosion since your builder won't put in the french drain. As for the pond behind the cedars, is there any way to raise the dirt around your foundation to run all that water away from the house? Water will always follow the path of least resistance, take a look at it from down slope in front of the cedars and see if a length of black drain pipe or narrow trench, like around a flower bed, would channel that water away. It might surprise you how much water a one inch deep, 5 inch wide trench would take away.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 12:14PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

It's best to start a new thread if you have a new question.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 9:44PM
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