Landscape for drainage - narrow lot
Here's a diagram of my house and lot: From August 20, 2011
The house was built in the 1880s in an urban setting with little land. In the 1980s, the entire backyard was set as a brick patio. The brick patio is above the wood framing of the house (for the frame portion, shown in yellow). Because water doesn't drain off easily from our land locked lot, this has slowly caused the sill plate in the wood frame portion to rot. Unfortunately, our home inspector missed this, so we are going to have to take care of the foundation work in the next few years.
When we do the foundation work, we would like to address the water as well. It's our understanding that, if we did nothing for the water but were diligent about keeping the area sealed, the problem might not require additional remediation in our lifetime. But, if we can come up with some modifications that are livable and beautiful solutions as well, we want to explore them.
One suggestion made was a trench drain along the west wall (the wall adjoining the patio) of the house. The problem with this is that it would require permission from our neighbors (running through their planter bed) and permission from our City to run the pipe through the sidewalk to drain at curb (otherwise it would daylight on the neighbor's driveway - not a workable result).
Another suggestion made was a french drain tied into a sump pump, although it's still not clear how we would drain it. (our sewer line runs in the alley on the east side of our property). We have a very shallow crawl space and no basement.
We would be willing to consider a more permiable patio material, particularly on the more narrow area by the frame portion of the house. But I'm not sure if this would help or hurt (if water permiates, where will it go?). For the main part of the patio (approc. 24' long by 7' wide), we would be open to some changes there as well if it would help the situation but would want to make sure we had a stable surface for a small bistro table as well as good pathway out the door, to the back gate, and to the tool shed.
Any creative ideas?