Help! Gazebo set in front of pier --hill drainage questions PICS

kimbery35042August 24, 2010

Hi all. I need some help and really appreciate any info. I have very good pictures on photobucket and via email but can't get them to upload. I'll try again tonight.

Basically, we have a one acre runoff pond that was dugout to 20 ft. at end of pier. We just leveled a spot and put a gazebo at the entrance/dry end of the pier but now need to address the sloping hill that leads to the "sunken" type patio with gazebo. I have not consructed the patio yet and could even go with a wood floor which may or may not present a whole new set of problems.

My neighbor has a large loader and moved the gazebo into place and leveled with lazer level. I thought a french drain with pipe draining into pond would be best but he wants to use a "swell" and change the level of ground surrounding gazebo and slope toward the water.

Do you guys have any thoughts or suggestions?

Anybody have a great hint on uploading these dang pics??

Thanks so much!


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Maybe these will work!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 12:14PM
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you maybe select some ideas from my pic's designing.

Here is a link that might be useful: if need more ideas

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 12:29PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Here are working links to the OP's photos:

I think your neighbor is talking about a swale to re-direct the water. Here's some info on swales:

The swales I'm most familiar with are quite shallow and only a few feet wide, built to slow and re-direct run-off to prevent erosion of non-turf areas (in one case, a sloping woodland; in another, a gravel driveway). Swales can also re-direct water for other purposes: your swale would keep the gazebo floor dry; others channel water to rain gardens.

Here are the site's instructions for uploading pics:

I don't post photos, I just know the link. I use a free Firefox add-on (BBCodeXtra) which makes addresses into links, lets me underline, etc. Eternal thanks to justaguy2 from the Tomatoes board for the tip! [This site apparently uses xhtml, or so I assume from what I need to click on.]

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 1:40PM
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Thank you missingtheobvious! The swale info was very helpful. Although in our case, I feel he intends to make the swale semicircled in front of the gazebo and then slant the edge toward the water. Do you think a swale would work if we laid sod? The article mentioned keeping the grass cut so I guess somebody has done it that way before.

Thanks for the fix on the links. I finally got the code right and posted the pictures (actual pics, not links) into someone else's post! What a day...

Check out the person meeting with the garden designer for my pics!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 3:21PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I'm most familiar with two swales:

= My parents' former property sloped perhaps 12' from the street to a small lake (glorified dairy pond) which was the back boundary of their property (and other neighbors' properties). There were two underground drain pipes (probably from downspouts) which emerged into beds a few feet from the swale and fed into it, but most of the water that reached the swale would have been run-off from the yard.

The swale itself was downhill from the small back lawn and flowerbeds, parallel to the lake. It was maybe 3' wide from high point to high point, perhaps 6" deep. It was not planted, but from what I remember, it was covered only by leaves, pine needles, and other tree debris (probably natural mulch from the woods rather than purchased pine needle mulch).

Unlike your proposed swale, which will channel water away from the gazebo, my parents' swale gathered the run-off and allowed it to settle into the water table. That also prevented erosion of the sloping woods at the edge of the lake. I don't remember the swale itself showing any erosion, but I never saw it in a downpour.

My parents dumped leaves in the swale at one side of the property. Wonderful compost!

= I have a swale along the north side of my backyard, though perhaps it's more accurate to call it a low area.

The backyard is about 10-15' below the street; the slope of the land continues eastward to a small creek about 300' away. The north side of the backyard is lower than the south side. Beyond the northern property line is a ditch on the south side of the neighborÂs property -- but in-between the low side of my property and the neighborÂs driveway ditch is a berm.

So run-off flows east (from the front yard) and north (from the higher part of the backyard and the southern neighbor), comes to the berm, and goes east to the pasture and eventually the creek. This prevents the run-off from flowing into and eroding my neighbor's gravel driveway. The neighbor gets a good bit of run-off down the driveway from the street, as well as from his pasture on the other side of the driveway, so he doesn't want more run-off from my property.

= My front lawn also has a swale, I suppose. It's very gentle and dozens of feet wide, so I think of it more as a great job of grading rather than a swale! The first several feet of the front yard slopes pretty steeply down about 24" or so below the road, and then the yard slopes another several inches to the low point of the swale, before rising to the shade trees and the front of the house. The first floor of the house is probably 12-15" above the swale.

This swale ensures that water from the street and the front yard goes around the house rather than to the house's foundation and into the basement.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 2:04AM
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