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Soil retention/drainage issue

Posted by Bighobert1 Kentucky (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 20:47

This area is where my gutter empties and my neighbor's water runoff. It all goes down this pathway to a drainage ditch behind the fence (see pic). The problem is that it is increasingly wet there and muddy and some erosion near the foundation of the garage has occurred. Should I try to plant something there for soil retention or lay down some gravel? Any alternative suggestions?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Soil retention/drainage issue

  • Posted by SC77 6b (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 22:34

Your situation appears much better than most that post on here. Is there enough of a slope to the ground that you could just run an underground PVC pipe to the fenceline and then just connect the downspout to the inlet?

If you can't do that, at a minimum, you should be able to get the water 3/4 the way to its destination, just by running an additional downspout along the wall with a flextube to make the bend

RE: Soil retention/drainage issue

" ... run an underground PVC pipe to the fenceline and then just connect the downspout to the inlet?" No disrespect, SC77, but that this is a good solution is highly questionable and I would advise against it. If water is put into an underground pipe and that water must again rise to the surface in order to be expelled from the pipe, sediment will settle out at the rising portion, and eventually, the pipe will clog, not as a possibility, but as a certainty.

BigH, your photo shows part of the condition that affects this issue, but with drainage, it is necessary to know not just what is in the immediate area, but also the condition of those areas that surround it ... such as how the land lies on the other side of the fence, on your neighbor's property. I would add a photo, stepping farther back (than the first photo ... toward the street) showing this side of both properties. And then, another photo of your neighbor's property taken from the corner where the side and back fences meet, facing toward the front (street.) This would give a more complete picture of what the constraints are. For sure, you do not want to fix your problem, but in the doing so create a drainage problem for the next door neighbor. It might be possible that you both have the same problem and need to work together to fix this.

The grade is definitely lower than it should be next to the downspout. You could add soil there, making certain it pitches the water correctly in the direction of draining, and blend the soil to the existing grade as you approach the fence. (New soil must be protected with new sod.) After the grade is fixed, there needs to be an elbow on the downspout and a tail piece extension added to it that directs the water toward the back. The water should exit the tail piece onto a splash block. From that point, it is plants (grass) that will protect the soil from erosion, not gravel. If grass doesn't work out, then some type of groundcover will work. If I were maintaining this, I would prefer groundcover over grass as it looks like an unpleasant place to have to mow and likely too shady for good grass growth.

RE: Soil retention/drainage issue

  • Posted by SC77 6b (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 10:49

Yard, if the PVC has to rise up again, then the underground solution does not work. That's why I asked if there is enough slope, basically you run the pipe underground and then have it pop out of the hill? on the other side of the fence. When my house was build in the 50's they installed these using cast iron and routed them directly into the sewer system. Nearly 60 years later all but one of them is still working and never have been clogged. I do nothing other than have gutter filters on and clean gutters annually. The one that failed did so because Cast Iron is prone to cracking and once they crack the roots can infiltrate the space. That's what happened with that one.

This is what I would expect to see on the other side of the fence. With a continuous slope, the pipe stays just below ground level until it reaches the fence, then pops out to drain. If that can't be done, then this option won't work for the OP

This post was edited by SC77 on Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 10:53

RE: Soil retention/drainage issue

Then we are on the same page, SC. I didn't get the impression that there was a drop in grade beyond the fence that would allow the pipe to run out straight, but that it must turn upward in order for water to exit, which is how I interpreted your solution. Still, if there is no buried pipe, then there is no pipe to clog and no flooding on account of it. Many times, a 4" pipe (what everyone uses) simply cannot handle what comes off of a roof in a heavy storm, and then there is overspillage where the pipe enters the ground. Nearly everywhere, municipalities are frowning on stormwater in pipes in favor of surface drainage for the fact of it meaning more water percolates through the ground before, or instead of, entering built drainage systems which oft-times are stressed to the limit or cannot handle the flow.

RE: Soil retention/drainage issue

Thanks for the help everyone. I will certainly consider all the ideas.I think before I try the underground pipe, I will do as SC77 suggested and ad a flex pipe to the downspout and see how much that helps. In addition, I have considered planting Hosta there because I know they would do well in the shady, damp area and spread to cover that area since I have such a problem with grass growing there.

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