tackling yard drainage

c2g(6)March 7, 2011

Hi. A couple of years ago, the side of my house and backyard was mostly concrete, all designed to get a car back into the garage. The garage was the highest point of the slope which ran down towards the house and out the driveway. I had two drains at each back corner of the house that water runoff was directed into.

A year ago, I had it all ripped out, since I prefer trees/ground cover to all that space designed for a car, and park the car on the street out front. I also have a master plan to go entirely native, but that is a few year plan.

The concrete was about 4" thick with a 2" layer of ash beneath it, so now the two back drains sit well above the soil line, but I wanted that rainwater to go back into the earth anyway. I brought a few tons of topsoil in, tilled everything up, last spring and got right to the patio, leaving the backyard project for this spring, not really paying much attention to the grading.

We are just finishing up finishing our basement, which included trenching the foundation, cement patching, and rubberized coating. Now I need to address my yard drainage.

We got a few inches of rain yesterday and I noted all the areas where water pooled up. There was an especially large puddle at the high point of the patio and my backyard is essentially a mud pit these days (grass never took last year due to an extended drought). It's almost time to start planting a temporary ground cover, so I'm trying to look into addressing the drainage. I've had some people mention the flexible yard drains, but there's nowhere I could just let the water run off to, aside from the neighbor's yard, and the patio is built on a bed of gravel and sand.

Just wondering if a series of lawn drains and dry wells would be a good solution to start looking into. I planted 5 b & b trees, but I'm guessing they're too young for their roots to have much of an impact. I should also mention my soil is mostly clay. I'm sure I left out a lot of info, but just looking for a place to start.


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Here are some pics from last year if they help you get an idea of my property:

Late summer 2010, looking from top of flagstone patio (old drain at bottom of ladder)

Ignore the tree ideas in this one:

After fall planting 2010 (the weeping cypress is temporary until I find someone who wants it)

Another veiw, late summer, from the top of the slope in my backyard (again, ignore the tree plans):

PS - I should also note that since the rest of our foreseeable budget is going into fixing the roof gutters, I don't have $ to bring a landscape architect and have to pull this off myself.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 11:18AM
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And finally, some BEFORE shots from 2009 before the pavement was ripped up:

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 11:29AM
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