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Erosion Problem...Help needed

Posted by dkahl Indiana (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 29, 06 at 10:36

Hi everyone,

I have an erosion problem in my back yard. I am looking for ideas to either resolve the problem entirely, or design around it. Some non-experts (i.e. parents) have suggested I create some sort of dry creek bed to give the water someplace to go. I'd prefer not to cut my yard in half, since the trench is in the middle of the yard, but I'll happily take any solutions to the problem!

Here is a pic from a distance, looking out my back door. The trench starts before the trees, about where the grass changes color:
[IMG]http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i181/dkahl/Yard/100_0112.jpg[/IMG]

This one is of the problem area:
[IMG]http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i181/dkahl/Yard/100_0116.jpg[/IMG]

These three shots are close-up pics of the erosion. I transplanted some grass there when I created a flower bed, but much of it has washed out.
[IMG]http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i181/dkahl/Yard/100_0115.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i181/dkahl/Yard/100_0119.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i181/dkahl/Yard/100_0114.jpg[/IMG]

This is a shot from the back of the yard. You can see the slope pretty well here.
[IMG]http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i181/dkahl/Yard/100_0118.jpg[/IMG]

This one is of the drainage ditch on the property line. I think the water is suppose to drain here (but it doesn't!). As a side note, I'd like to know how to make it visually appealing, also, but that's another subject!
[IMG]http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i181/dkahl/Yard/100_0117.jpg[/IMG]

The trench basically runs parallel across the yard. It turns a couple of times and splits once or twice, and isn't as deep as the yard flattens. However, when I measured it, it was a good 120 feet long.

Any suggestions? Thanks for any help!

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo link


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Erosion Problem...Help needed

  • Posted by annz PNW (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 30, 06 at 12:06

We have a swale in our front yard and I like how it breaks up the expanse of lawn. Below are photos showing it nearly 4 yrs ago and today. There is a 12" pipe under the driveway that feeds runoff from other parts of the yard.

I suggest you bring in someone to advise you on the best location of such drainage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Drainage


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RE: Erosion Problem...Help needed..ps

  • Posted by annz PNW (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 30, 06 at 12:07

Forgot to mention.........to link photos within the text, copy the 'Tag' url from photobucket.


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RE: Erosion Problem...Help needed

Thanks for the photo tip. First time I did that and wasn't sure how to.

Do you think the swale is the best solution, then? I'll search that here and see what I find. It does look good the way you did it.


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RE: Erosion Problem...Help needed

Your origional post with working pictures
Hi everyone,
I have an erosion problem in my back yard. I am looking for ideas to either resolve the problem entirely, or design around it. Some non-experts (i.e. parents) have suggested I create some sort of dry creek bed to give the water someplace to go. I'd prefer not to cut my yard in half, since the trench is in the middle of the yard, but I'll happily take any solutions to the problem!
Here is a pic from a distance, looking out my back door. The trench starts before the trees, about where the grass changes color:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This one is of the problem area:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
These three shots are close-up pics of the erosion. I transplanted some grass there when I created a flower bed, but much of it has washed out.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This is a shot from the back of the yard. You can see the slope pretty well here.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This one is of the drainage ditch on the property line. I think the water is suppose to drain here (but it doesn't!). As a side note, I'd like to know how to make it visually appealing, also, but that's another subject!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The trench basically runs parallel across the yard. It turns a couple of times and splits once or twice, and isn't as deep as the yard flattens. However, when I measured it, it was a good 120 feet long.
Any suggestions? Thanks for any help!

Alright, my responce, The reason that your yard does not drain into the drainage ditch is because water always goes with the path of least resistance, and thats Down hill, if your yard slopes to the ditch and then has no were else for the water to go it will follow the ditch. Also, Roots help hold soil in place, deep roots more so, if you have a real problem area a tree can really just staple that earth in place, although it will need a while to get itself established, in the mean time sandbags can be used to redirect a little water here and there.

HTH


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RE: Erosion Problem...Help needed

Do you want to keep the grass? Are you opposed to adding shrubbery to the area near the tree line? Do you want to eliminate the run-off or redirect it?
Who put in the rock swale, and was it recent? Does the water pool anywhere, or just keep going? What direction does the swale run, North? Once we know what you would like to achieve, there will probably be more posts.
NN


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RE: Erosion Problem...Help needed

Thank you for the discussion so far.

My only goal is to not have a deep rut running through the middle of my yard. I'm open to any suggestion that would help this, including planting any shrubs or trees. I was afraid that a tree planted at the point where the rut starts would simply redirect the water around it, creating two ruts on either side of the tree or shrub and washing away the soil around it.

Ideally, I would like to keep the grass, but I'm also open to a pathway or dry creek bed or something like that. It might actually be nice to have a garden path of some sort, but I'm not sure that would solve the problem. I'm thinking the water would actually move faster and wash away any river gravel I put down. Then again, I only get water on heavy rains, so maybe that wouldn't be a problem.

As for the run-off, I'm not sure it could be eliminated. The lay of the land, as Brendan mentioned, is too sloped to eliminate it. I was thinking I simply needed to slow it down or redirect the water to the drainage ditch. The water does keep going, eventually to a creek about 1/4 mile away, and into the Ohio river.

Brenan, thanks for fixing the pictures. Nativenut, do these answers help any?

Thanks again,
DK


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RE: Erosion Problem...Help needed

OK, there is no truly easy fix. If you want to keep the grass, you need to create "sheet flow" where the water washes over the ground in an even sheet. However, if the source of the water is your neighbor's gutter and not just rain, it will be more difficult to achieve this. If it is the gutter, you will always have a gulley, because the water is concentrated in that spot. You could run slight berms, terracing really, perpendicular to the flow, to slow it (like speed bumps.) Or, you could create slightly larger bumps to actually collect the water and plant moisture loving plants behind it (spicebush, joe-pye weed, willow, cardinal flower, etc.) My thought would be to plant large (at maturity) shrubs, in that shadowed area to the right in the first picture, to slow the flow and transition from the woods to the grass. Then raise a slight bump around the whole planting area to contain the runoff and plant grasses and flowers that like occasional runoff. (Rain garden) It would draw your eye away from the neighbors' houses and create a focal point in your back yard. It would also suck up the extra moisture and, if done with the correct slope, stop or redirect the erosion back into the swale. There are many plants that like those conditions, but there is nothing you can just stick in the ground to stop the problem.
NN


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RE: Erosion Problem...Help needed

dkahl,
A difficult question to answer on this forum. One has to be on site to study the slope, drainage and how much downspouts are contributing to the problem. It is obvious that the builder took the easy path out of the situation, leaving you with a dilema.

If I were on site I would study your slope to see if it were possible to install the type of rain garden now mandated in CT. This type of garden is not filled with plants. Rather, it is a large, slight depression about 2" deep carved into a lawn, grassed, mowable and barely noticed. Rain water collects in this large depression and slowly seeps into the ground. May not be the answer in this situation. Water and erosion problems are always difficult. Before spending any money on a 'fix' I strongly urge you to consult with a civil engineer. Expertise is what you need and they deal with these situations all the time.


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RE: Erosion Problem...Help needed

I think you might find some useful slope erosion control ideas on my website which is focused on Do it yourself erosion control techniques.

Let me know how you fix it so we can let others know also!

Here is a link that might be useful: Slope Erosion Control Site


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