Making Smarter Landscaping Choices

Turning Off The Tap -- Design Your Landscape To Prevent Flooding

Do you have a problem with basement flooding? Are you using a sump pump way too often? The key to fixing your indoor flooding problem is usually out your yard. Here are 4 ways to prevent flooding in your yard and home. 

Check Your Gutters

Start your yard assessment with the gutters and downspouts. They are probably the easiest and cheapest fix. Go outside while it's raining (or use a garden hose in the gutter) and inspect the gutters' flow and how water is trickling down the downspout. If the gutters are blocked or old, they may be allowing water to run off in places you don't want it.

Another common problem is that the downspouts may be too short to move water away from the house. If the downspout allows water to seep right back toward the house, extend it with some PVC pipe to a short distance away from the house. You can bury the additional pipe if you're worried about aesthetics. 

Add Drainage

If your yard fills with puddles of water that take longer than a couple of hours to disappear, you may need to add drainage to help out Mother Nature. Replace mulch with gravel in flower beds around the house, since mulch can cause water buildup that damages the home's siding. Adding a small retaining wall with gravel in front of it (and perforated piping if necessary) can also help prevent soil from eroding towards the home.

A French drain is a good solution to move larger amounts of excess water away from where it pools up. You can build a French drain -- which is an underground perforated pipe laid in a bed of gravel that collects water and shuttles it to another location -- over a weekend with instructions found on the internet. Meandering French drains can be placed anywhere and can move rain water over a large distance to where it's not going to cause problems. 

Try Permeable Paving

Large amounts of hardscaping -- such as walkways, driveways, sidewalks and patios -- prevent rainwater from soaking into the ground below. Permeable hardscaping helps improve drainage. Permeable concrete and pavers have additional space inside the materials to allow water to pass through while maintaining the look of traditional materials. You could also use individual pavers, bricks or stones, which allow space between them in any layout. Wood slats, flagstone or gravel are also good choices for water-friendly walkways. The less of your yard you cover up, the more water can soak into the ground.   

Level the Area

Grading your yard might be a big job depending on the shape it's in, but it might also just require some elbow grease and a few hand tools. Inspect your yard while it's raining (or with the sprinklers on) to determine where water is pooling and where it drains. If you're unsure where the grading problems might be, use a carpenter's level and a long piece of 2x4 wood. Placing the wood with the level on top will help you determine where high and low spots reside and the direction and angle of any slopes. 

Add good quality soil to low spots. High spots can be evened out by digging a shallow line right down the center of the bump and raking away from the cut. If you don't want to lose existing turf, cut an X-shape, then dig down about 2 inches and fold the turf back like a flap. Remove dirt underneath the flap of grass, then replace the grass. 

Assessing your yard's drainage and working to help water go where it needs to will help you not only enjoy your yard and house more, but will save time and money over many years to come. For professional help with projects like these, contact a company like Rock Solid Services LLC.