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First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some commen

Posted by dazraf80 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 31, 11 at 15:02

Hello all,

Long time reader of this site and finally have my own home to start working on!

I plan on regrading my backyard. I have a significant drop in the back left where a lot of water and an old shed caused sinking and irrigation ( that's my assumption).

My Steps:

-laying out stakes to achieve a proper level (1 foot for every 50 foot going back and tapering off to the sides for drainage)

-cut grass as low as possible and rake up all debris (not sure if its necessary to remove lawn since i am going over it with topsoil?), there are no areas that need to be lowered

-use a vertical mower to soften and loosen surface, there are many bumps that i want to level off with top dressing and the vertical mower should help break up clumps

-I plan on bringing in 20 yards of dirt (hopefully that's enough!), hiring a few guys to distribute it throughout the back

-using a leveling rake to spread the dirt to the marks indicated by the stakes i previously laid out

-use a half filled roller to begin to compact the soil, and leveling as needed. I will eventually fill the roller to full (400 pounds) and create a suitable grade. Might need a tractor to move the roller.

-once the land is properly graded, i will rake in seed for grass and top with straw

-water, water, water

Please critique the above steps and let me know if I am missing something. Thank you! Here is a pic!

Here is a link that might be useful: yard


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Hi, dazraf80. The photo and link are apparently to your Gmail account. However, we can't access your Gmail account (obviously we don't have your password -- and I'm sure you don't want us to know it!), so we can't see the photo and the link doesn't work.

If you're posting a photo on this forum, it needs to be hosted on an accessible internet site (as opposed to a non-accessible site like an email account, or a computer hard drive). That could be your own website or a free photo-hosting site like Photobucket, flickr, etc.

Here are some instructions for posting from Photobucket:
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hosta/msg0513322013993.html?14

When you click on "Preview Message," whatever you see there is what your final post will look like. If you don't see your photo in Preview Message, the photo won't show up in the final post. You need to go back and try again.

Similarly, any link must function in Preview Message, or it won't function in your final post. Click on it to make sure.

Good luck! I probably can't help with your project, but someone will be along soon who can. Just give us some photos to work with.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

I would suggest using a string and line level to determine the current grade and drainage-ways first, and determine the amount of free-board around the foundation before any dirt is delivered.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Sorry about that,

Fwd:


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RE: free-board around the foundation

"I would suggest using a string and line level to determine the current grade and drainage-ways first, and determine the amount of free-board around the foundation before any dirt is delivered."

I plan on using the string as you indicated. Can you tell me a little more about the "free-board around the foundation"? I am not familiar with this.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Congratulations on your first home...and yard. Your plan sounds well researched and viable enough to achieve an expanse of lawn.
What else would you like to see back there? What are your long term goals for the space?


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Daz, you say that "an old shed caused sinking and irrigation." However, old sheds do not cause such things. The only thing that "causes irrigation" is to pay an irrigation contractor some money. While your approach to the grading sounds like you've been pondering this for a while, I am unclear on your goals and objectives for it. Why do you care that the yard is level? (Actually, you would not want it to be level; it must drain somehow.) Basically, you have a flat lot. I can understand wanting it to be smooth, but all of the "leveling" process sounds like a lot of expense and effort for what purpose I'm not sure.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Yardviser, I have a great deal of standing water in the back left of my yard. The three surrounding neighbors are about 6 inches higher than my lot.

The previous owners did a poor job of maintaining the property, but I was not there to see exactly how the property became so much lower.

My goal is to bring my property in line with the neighbors, using the correct grade, and no longer collecting all the runoff from the neighbors.

French drains are an option but I have no experience with them.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Hills and valleys are natural formations. There may not be any big mystery about why that part is lower.

The big question is, if you fill in that part, where is the water going to go? If you can't get it to a storm drain, drainage swale, or somewhere else that is where water belongs, it may be that all your work is going to accomplish is moving the water from one part of the yard to another.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

"free-board around the foundation"

The distance from the ground to the top of your foundation sill plate. Sill plate must be above groundlevel to ensure the house stays dry.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

I agree that it is attention to drainage you need, not to yard level. You could end up with either 6 inches of mud when it rains, or the entire accumulation of water from the yard in your basement. Your photo doesn't give us any sense of the slope of the lot relative to the house. But what we, or rather you, really need to know is where the water should be going. Then you can work on getting it there.

Karin L


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

I feel the need to have more info before offering any suggestions. If neighbors on 3 sides have grade higher than you, I'm wondering how that ties together with your yard. Do you suppose that you could snap shots that look down the fence and give an idea of grade on the other side? (like where the camera is centered on fence and looks down the fence line viewing both sides at the same time.) I agree with Karin, that adding fill (without knowing all the details) might be a worse thing for you. It may bring excess runoff water closer to the house instead of moving it farther away. By what I "think" I know so far, it looks like your lot SHOULD be draining toward the back, not toward the front. Therefore, filling in the drain way would not be a good thing. Can you tell which direction your lot slopes overall?

You should be aware that in most places (probably nearly all urban areas) neighbors cannot do anything to their yard that would prevent water from draining off of your property. For now, that's something to park in the back of your head.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

In one way all you are attempting to do is level a lawn and this is fairly a standard procedure, using a mower and roller is not the way to go. As karin says, if you want to move the water that gathers it has to go somewhere and although this is something your neighbours didn't consider you should.The dip under where the old shed was could be that a slab was removed and this would be fairly easy to correct. Incidentally 20 cubic yards of topsoil is a lot and the only advantage of a totally flat lawn is the eveness of cut how important is this, do you play croquet?


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Thank you everyone for your responses. I will try to address each point, and will also take additional pictures ASAP.

"Your photo doesn't give us any sense of the slope of the lot relative to the house."

The backyard slopes AWAY towards the rear of my house. I plan on maintaining the standard 1 foot for every 50 feet moving to the back.

"But what we, or rather you, really need to know is where the water should be going."

My lawn is about 6 inches lower in the back left corner than all my neighbors. During heavy rain fall, their yard visibly drains into mine and creates a pond in the back. My neighbors over the years have raised their property (openly admit it, however, the original owners of my home never spent a penny doing anything.

The goal would be to still let the water drain to the rear but "fend" off the drainage from the neighbors. If I bring my back level to the neighbors, I still will maintain a slope back.

"You should be aware that in most places (probably nearly all urban areas) neighbors cannot do anything to their yard that would prevent water from draining off of your property."

I filed a complaint with the city inspector. He acknowledged that my neighbors are draining into my yard. The one neighbor brought his property a full foot higher from fill after putting in a pool. The inspector said my only option is to bring my property in line with theirs.

"Incidentally 20 cubic yards of topsoil is a lot and the only advantage of a totally flat lawn is the eveness of cut how important is this, do you play croquet?"

I do not intend to make it totally flat. Please see diagram.

layout

I couldn't get a very good picture from the top but perhaps this pic better shows what I am dealing with.

2011-09-01_18-55-42_593

A last thought, how effective would filling the far back with rocks, about 3 feet deep, and topping with sod as a drainage system do? I have clay soil which may be an issue? Thank you all!


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

dazraf, where is the water going to go if you add all this soil and/or fill the back of the lot with 3' of rocks? What is the level of the lot(s) behind you?

Even if you raise your backyard to the level of the neighbors' lots, rain and run-off still have to go somewhere....


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Some unlawful acts are criminal, others are referred to as a civil tort. The government does not intercede in a civil tort. If necessary, aid is to be found in the courts. This is why your complaint to the city inspector did not produce any result.

Most states now observe some form of the Civil Law of Drainage. If you go forward with your project without understanding what is legal in your area, it's likely you will be guilty of a civil tort against your neighbors.

This type thing happens all the time and few result in litigation. But! Should your neighbors take you to court, you might have to remove all construction and return the grades to the original. You lose the cost of construction, the cost of removal, the cost of any damages suffered by your neighbor, your attorney fees, and in rare cases, your neighbor's attorney fees as well. It can be a very expensive lesson in drainage.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

You might want to add into your initial (pre-construction/fill) survey of existing gradeas, the grades of your neighbors as well.

This might determine if 3-feet of material in the corner is a good idea, and any final grading plan looks like it should consicer what to do with the fences.

Also the difference between your initial survey and the final grading plan elevations will give you a better idea about the soil volume needed.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

For a french drain to be effective if would have to accommodate the volume of water that collected above ground and put it into the spaces formed between rocks below ground. I'm just grabbing a number out of the air, but let's say that in one cubic foot of river type rock, 15 percent is space created by voids and 85% is solid rock. If you were dealing with 100 cu.ft. of surplus water, you would need almost 670 cu.ft. of buried gravel in order to have the capacity to accommodate all the water. (If someone has access to a real number, they could supply it for an actual calculation.) My point being, that solving this problem with a french drain system might grow into much too grand of a project. Also, what happens when later you decide you want to do some landscaping but now there is all this buried rock in the way? I think anything along the lines of buried rock/french drain is not a good solution.

In the most recent picture you posted, I'm taking it that this is taken while standing at the back of your yard facing to the left. It looks like the clear way out for runoff water. If that neighbor (straight ahead in pic) has created a way to pen in your water, I'd consult with a lawyer before I spend $1 on dirt and labor. I agree with the previous poster that city government will not be where legal help lies. You would need to ask what evidence to bring to show a lawyer at a consultation.)

Aside from that, I think I'm beginning to see the thinking behind your project. You want to raise the grade somewhere between 6 and 12 inches at the back, left portion of the yard because you believe it will be high enough to lift the water to where it can continue its normal course of drainage...out through the left neighbor's property. You have already figured out that doing this will not push the water back toward your house. (I think, like myself, many posters have been worried that you'll create a much larger, albeit shallower, area of impondment.) If you're correct, it would probably be a workable solution...solution "B." The bottom line is that the water MUST have a way out. That way out looks to be the above mentioned neighbor. The last photo did not show conditions of the neighbor's yard relative to yours so it's still speculation. But it looks like this is where we're heading. If that neighbor created this problem in the first place, then solution "A" would be to get a lawyer to get after him.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Thank you all for your comments, I feel this conversation is deviating a bit but I am happy to discuss it in order to make sure that I am in fact in the "safe".

"You might want to add into your initial (pre-construction/fill) survey of existing gradeas, the grades of your neighbors as well."

I would like to first state that my goal is not to direct drainage to my neighbors, if that was my goal I would raise the elevation above theirs.

" I'm taking it that this is taken while standing at the back of your yard facing to the left."

This is correct. To clarify, "If that neighbor (straight ahead in pic) has created a way to pen in your water", the neighbor straight ahead has a higher elevation, however, the neighbor to the right of the picture (this would be my back neighbor) is a full 1.5 ft higher. They had an in ground pool built and used the excess dirt to raise their property. The inspector said that had the original owners complained at the time of pool construction, something may have been done.

My goal was to bring my elevation up in the rear to 1 ft for every 50 feet. This will bring me in line with my left neighbor (straight ahead in the lower picture), and about 1/2 foot lower than the rear neighbor. I will not raise my land above a reasonable level and know of no way to keep my neighbors drainage from coming into my yard.

So to clarify, I am NOT looking to drain into my neighbors lawn ( old fashioned idea of respect thy neighbor). Rather, I am trying to prevent my neighbors from draining into my yard. My logic is that, water finds a natural level, and right now I have the lowest point. By raising that point, I will still have some water but not to the degree currently observed.

A lawyer is an option, perhaps I should ask the neighbors to chip in for a sufficient french drain? I appreciate your thoughts and hope I have answered questions. Please continue to analyze the situation and provide your feedback. I will do my best to effectively answer questions.

Maybe this will help clarify.
2011-09-01_18-55-42_593


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

So the water from two neighbors rushes into your yard and find it's lowest point at the back corner with the arrow. That's the corner with the two offending neighbors. You want to raise your ground so it's even with one neighbor but still below the other.

Where does the water go after it pools in the corner? Does it infiltrate after a time?

You'll still get the water from the back neighbor.

It may be worth looking into either a drywell depending on your groundwater table or just putting in a rain garden. The drywell will take all the water but will need permits and other stuff. I don't know how much water you're talking about but the rain garden may be a picturesque way of storing the water while it drains away.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

For process, you've thought this through way better than I would have, so no complaints from me.

I don't like the sound of sod over rocks at all.

For plan, I'm still curious where water from your properties is supposed to drain by civic plan? Isn't there like a - revolutionary thought, I know - storm drain anywhere?

Karin L


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Folks, this guy is not asking what he should do, but telling us what he is going to do; block the water from one or more lots from flowing onto his. It's an unlawful act in most states and he may well pay a large penalty for doing so.

My favorite quote of Will Rogers:

"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

PLS, does that law not apply also to the three neighbours, if the water used to flow from his property onto theirs? So instead of levelling his or her lot, should the OP be looking into taking the neighbour to court before they do it to him?

Sounds like a pretty odd law to me - assumes that any water flowing onto your lot from the neighbours is meant to do so by divine design or something, if blocking it is illegal. Actually quite funny if it is legal to defend your home with firearms but illegal to do so with a shovel :-)

Or is the intent to motivate people to move water to storm sewers rather than onto each others' lots? But if the OP's sewer is at the front of the house.... he's got a lotta diggin' to do. And why should he do it, and not the neighbours?

Finally, there is always the old-fashioned idea of talking to the neighbours about whether they could do something with their own water, I suppose. And if they won't, THEN perhaps you can take them to court :-)

Colour me confused!

Karin L


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Karin, the effect of the Civil Law of Drainage is to maintain the status quo of water flow at the point that it crosses land boundaries. It prevents a landowner from blocking a lawful flow of water from a higher tract onto his land and prevents one from changing the location or character of flow as it exits his property.

Your next question might be "What is a lawful flow of water". It began as that natural flow before man ever played a hand in the matter. A landowner is at liberty to change the flow as it crosses his land so long as the exit of the water is not changed. Where this takes place and then the owner sells part of his land, the water flow across the new boundary at the time of sale is considered the lawful flow between the properties of the buyer and seller. A group of landowners can agree to change the drainage across their aggregate properties and the law will recognize the change as lawful. And lastly, where a landowner has perhaps unlawfully changed drainage and no complaint was made within the time allotted by law, the change is then recognized as the lawful flow to be maintained


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b NC (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 3, 11 at 10:25

It is entirely possible that the neighbors raised the grade of their lots and messed up the drainage. It is equally possible that dazraf80's yard was ALWAYS the drainage basin, and he/she was unaware of that because the property was so overgrown when he/she purchased. (An assumption I am making because of the statement "The previous owners did a poor job of maintaining the property.")

I am not a drainage engineer,or surveyor, but would the plats, as filed with the local government, show the original elevations/drainage? Perhaps Submitter could find out whether or not his neighbors raised their grade? If they changed the grade as significantly as it looks like they did, then THEY may be responsible for ameliorating the problem. If not...a rain-garden (or drywell) might be the best solution to his/her problem...rather than changing the grade of the yard and risking messing up the natural drainage patterns.

melanie/avid gardener


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

I find these periodic discussions of drainage issue and legal responsibilities very interesting. I was curious about what the rules/laws are here so did some searching. All I could find was agricultural related but I assume the same applies anywhere.

'Surface water not flowing in a natural watercourse (i.e.
not having discernible bed and banks) has no right of
drainage. An owner of lower land may, at his or her own
choice, either allow the water from higher land to flow over it or by dams or banks, keep such water off his or her
property. No owner has the right to collect such surface
water by ditches or drains and discharge it on lands of
another. He or she has a responsibility to take this water to a sufficient outlet, i.e., a natural watercourse or a drain constructed under The Drainage Act.'

That is interesting because it seems counter to what most people assume. The neighbour to the north of our property is on slightly higher ground and built an extension on their house. The corner downspout from the eaves discharges water towards us about a foot from the fence. I built a slightly raised bed (~6") at the base of the fence. He got fussed about that because he was afraid it would block the water flow off his property, although the top of the bed is level with or below the level of his land. I was happy to get the water from his property to water my garden! I planted a plant that likes a lot of water directly across from the discharge pipe. It's very happy there.

We also have a 'wet corner' on the SW side of the propery where three adjacent properties slope towards ours. That area is essentially a bog in spring but dries out later in the summer. It's planted with things that thrive in those conditions. So, if I had the OP's problem, a rain garden is definitely the way I'd go. If the volume of water was very high and persisted all summer, I'd consider digging to make a pond if the site was otherwise suitable for one.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Woody: "going with the flow," as it were! I love it.

PLS, thank you; that's very clear and thorough, as you always are. And you've even succeeded in making the seemingly illogical make sense :-)

And in aggregate that's as succinct a list of recommendable options for the OP as s/he is likely to get.

Karin L


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

I felt I had a pretty clear idea of all this and now am even more confused. Just to make clear, "Folks, this guy is not asking what he should do", this is not true, I am asking for peoples opinion and much appreciate everyone's comments.

The neighbors will not take any action to help. I may consult a lawyer to see what options I have. The neighbor in the rear built a pool and raised his property without a permit close to a foot with the dirt that he dug out. He also placed a fence in and made the fence level rather than follow the contour of the property.

There is a storm sewer at the front of the house and a french drain into the storm sewer is an option - a very expensive option considering there is a tree in the way.

What I am confused about is how I am in violation if I raise my property, assuming I do not raise it higher than the neighbors. The natural flow of water was never meant to be my back yard for the three surrounding neighbors. By raising my yard, MY drainage would remain in my yard but THEIRS would stay in their yard. The water would then drain into the ground. Instead, right now I have three neighbors water sitting in my backyard.

The building inspector acknowledged that had I filed a complaint when the pool was going in, I would have been able to do something. He also acknowledged that I have the low land and am collecting the neighbors water. He indicated a civil suit is my only option outside of RAISING my property.

Again, the natural drainage of water was never meant to be my backyard. How am I in violation if I raise my property to the same level as my neighbors? All I am doing is not letting their water into my lawn.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b NC (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 3, 11 at 14:20

Well there you have it. You've already spoken to an inspector...and it seems that you have the right to raise your land. I'd get the town engineer/inspector out to double-check AND I'd get it in writing.

How could you have filed a complaint if you didn't own the property when the pool was put in? That bit confuses me.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Daz, my OPINION is that you will NOT be in danger of breaking a law by raising your level to same or near as neighbor's. But in order to STOP their water you must raise it slightly higher than the elevation of highest neighbor. Seems like this will enable water to flow to other neighbor who is not as high elevation (which might be a legal issue...no opinion here.) (Seeing the elevation rise on your side of the back fence is what made me think the natural flow was to the neighbor to left side of your yard (directly ahead in most recent photo.) If you find a way to raise your yard to prevent other neighbors' water from entering, out of your own water you will create that larger, but shallower pond that I mentioned earlier. (Note that berming would accomplish the original intentions without so much fill. I'm still not thinking it's something to do without visiting lawyer first.)

You're looking at re-establishing the natural flow of water as politeness vs. rudeness. I'm not seeing it this way. I'm seeing it as just how things need to be so that they work. Remember, both neighbors' water is naturally flowing onto some other neighbor, too. It's not being rude to ask that neighbor's don't do harm to you....which in this case, it looks like they are. For $50-$75, a lawyer who knows land issues could tell you the proper way out. If they say you're stuck with what you have, then I'd proceed with whatever plan you think is best.

Again, I say that this is a problem that cannot intelligently be resolved without seeing what is on the OTHER side of the fences. The sketch below shows how your fill could be pointless, or worse, harmful to you. Of course, the sketch is, I'm sure, an exaggeration as I can't see the neighbor's yard, but I'm just trying to illustrate a point. It all depends on how high up the water enter your yard is coming from. (the dashed line represents water level.)

fill


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

What is your long term plan for your fairly large back yard? How you ultimately decide to address the drainage concerns might
just come down to an individual choice between form vs function...

If you are looking for a pleasant but purposeful vignette within a larger planted landscape, you may be attracted to a naturalistic rain garden in that corner. It is environmentally friendly and would be fairly easy to make without becoming a major construction project.

If you have active, playful kids or pets, you are certainly entitled to presume that they can have use of your entire property, right up to the very fence line. Swing sets and soccer pitches do take up a considerable space. In that case, your original, well-considered plan of equalizing the grade of your property with that of your neighbours is certainly the way to go. Personally, I don't see that this will cause a significant off-site water intrusion. Whether or not you opt to seek legal counsel in the quest for financial relief is entirely dependent upon your own personal philosophy.

If you are concerned about mosquitoes etc, and simply want to eliminate the water accumulation in a low-lying area, yes, a french drain can help you to do that. But the stated distance to an outlet, an obstructing tree and your clay soil may prove to be a huge downside to this plan. Good luck in whatever you choose.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

"The water would then drain into the ground"

No. A certain amount will go into the ground. However, if you get more rain than that, the excess water has to go somewhere. That's the drainage issue. If there isn't some sort of natural path for the rainwater to get to a stream, it will just sit there, ponding, until it gets high enough to escape. Adding fill without figuring out that escape route will just make a larger, shallower pond that is more likely to escape into the house.

Just for giggles, imagine what would happen if you got the 7" of rain that we just got from Irene. Where does that quantity of water go?


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

"Again, I say that this is a problem that cannot intelligently be resolved without seeing what is on the OTHER side of the fences." I agree with this POV. You need the as-builts before doing a new plan.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

  • Posted by tibs 5/6 OH (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 3, 11 at 20:28

Drainage laws differ greatly state by state, so what some people state here might not be true in your state. Ohio's drainage laws are all "case" laws, which means there is nothing really in the Ohio Revised code and if you take someone to court, the judge decides it based on past cases. There is different interpretation for agricultural drainage than there is for urban drainage.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Yardviser,

I have tried to take an effective picture of the rear but nothing really shows a clear picture. The rear neighbor has a fence that is against code (too high), not that i care but he created a rift in the rear to make the fence level. The following picture is the best I can do to explain.
6109980104_ac2e06b725_b

I have decided to speak to a lawyer first and make sure I do not put myself at any risk, and perhaps the rear neighbor can be "forced" to help remedy the situation.

I am also going to consult the town engineering department to find out what the drainage is suppose to be, or how it was originally intended. Perhaps they have a suggestion.

I appreciate everyone's comments and look forward to following up with how this was resolved.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

"I have decided to speak to a lawyer first..." Good.

"to find out what the drainage is supposed to be..." I feel like you'll think I'm badgering you about this, but...if I lived there, I would hold my camera above the fence and snap some various shots whether they're pretty or not (when the neighbors were not using their back yard, of course)...maybe, even from a stepladder. That will probably tell you the story better than anything. Moving dirt around...even if it was a long time ago, leaves evidence. I'm just trying to show you the EASY way. If you go to the city, they're not going to tell you squat (they probably won't know this kind of detail) and they're not going to care about your problem. Sorry to sound so cynical about it, but after dealing with various city governments about various issues, I'm pessimistic about their ability and willingness to help.

Go ahead, prove me wrong! No matter what, good luck!


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Also, how did you add printed words to my pictures? What program? I need that.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Yardviser,

I just open the picture in paint and use the "A" symbol to enter text.

Also, tomorrow I will put a ladder up and take some pictures from the corner. I am now a little curious myself to see what comes of it.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

In Paint, with the A selected, click on the drawing to open a Text Box. At that point you'll be able to choose from the various Windows fonts, and also choose a font size (you can change your mind about font or size as long as the Text Box is still open).

The exact procedure varies depending on the version of Windows.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Daz, thanks for tip on text. Unfortunately, MyPaint doesn't have same thing and I like its tools better.

I'm thinking that the most useful pics might be something like from camera views in the sketch below, adjusting for site conditions that I can't tell about, of course.
Camera view


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b NC (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 5, 11 at 10:34

I love this site. Someone comes in with a difficulty/problem/conundrum and we all sit around and brainstorm...and it helps clarify things for the OP. Or not...but WE have fun. ;^)


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

If you save your MyPaint as a JPEG, you can open it in Paint, then add the textboxes described previously.

Good luck on your photo-recon black ops mission... hopefully you won't get arrested for being a peeping Tom ;)


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Isabella, thanks for the suggestion, but I might be too impatient to re-open the photo in another program. But if I really need nice text, I will do it.

You made me laugh out loud with the black ops comment! However, I'm sure there is no prohibition against taking pictures of birds or wildlife in your own back yard...from a ladder, or not.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Well finally managed to take some pics of my situation as suggested.

DSCN1169

DSCN1159

DSCN1161

My neighbor on the left claimed his yard was level with mine but the pictures tell a different story in my opinion. Any additional thoughts would be appreciated.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

For reference my directions are as viewed from the street looking at your house.

The first pic, that's neighbor on L? The scar on R of fence is where your shed used to be?

R half of 2nd pic is neighbor straight back...L half pic your yard (aiming toward neighbor with shed)?

The third pic I know what is but I cannot differentiate levels. Sorry. Looks like that lot high, too?

The neighbor directly straight back (w/2 large trees) looks like he's been high forever as if subd. created that way. The neighbor on you L side looks like his fill might be much newer. His grass has a new-ish look. (would have liked to seen a pic aiming further left...I'm trying to see where the drain path goes.) Aside from the water, he's dumping on you, where's the rest of his water draining? To his front? And the guy next to him (past power pole) where's his water going (other than what he's putting on you)? If the bulk of their water is going to the front...which you might be able to tell from standing in front of their houses, I'd guess one or both of them has blocked your natural flow. Which says that going to a lawyer for a consultation to discover your rights and make a plan is the place to start. Someone pointed out, what will you do with major rain like hurricane Irene type rain...or the hundred year flood? Your original plan will put you in jeopardy if such were to happen. Actually, with your drainage blocked, you're probably already in jeopardy. just won't be able to see it until that monster rain happens.

I'm not trying to be an alarmist, but I think it's important to know where you stand legally...especially, if you can get the cause of your problems to pay for the solution. I would try to find out every last fact about where that water is draining...how it's draining for these neighbors...get out their during the next heavy rain. Take pictures. Make yourself knowledgeable about exactly how all these pieces of the the puzzle fit together...before going to lawyer. You don't want to go with just a few words and a complaint...to which he says, "we'll need to study your issues. That'll be $500 for our next hours worth of work." Go as prepared as you can be.


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RE: First Post! Re-Grading backyard and would appreciate some com

Th lot behind me had a pool put in a number of years ago and raised the property with the dirt they dug out. The neighbor to the left claims he hasn't raised his property..not sure if I buy it.

One thing I forgot to take a picture is the neighbor to my right, his property is also higher than mine and he has acknowledged that their property was raised and crowned, meaning the property drops so that water drains to my property.

All in all, I will def consult a lawyer. I decided to put off any major renovation till next year, so that I can study the problem in more detail.

Thank you to everyone for your input.


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