Common Yard Drainage Issues

Water drainage issues can cause water to enter your home’s basement, eat its foundation, kill grass and flower beds, and even cause whole areas of your landscape to wash out if rains are heavy and frequent enough. There are a number of causes of drainage issues, but some of the most common ones are:

  1. Hardscape Run-Off
  2. Garden Grading Mistakes
  3. Gutter Spout Directional Flaws

But, as with many landscaping problems, drainage issues may be complex and caused by a combination of things.

Hardscape Surfaces

For example, you may have installed a new patio, and the grading on the patio is causing run-off to a new area of the yard — like towards your home or flowerbeds.

A combination of issues is at play here, and therefore, there are a number of ways to correct the situation. Ideally, patios should be designed to let water flow out into a good drainage area in your yard, away from your home and nearby flowerbeds. If your patio is graded incorrectly, the ultimate and permanent solution is to regrade it. This may be a headache but it’s best for the structural integrity of your home and yard. Yet, even well designed hardscapes can create new run-off into areas that previously didn’t have so much water. Take a look at the next section for addressing this issue.

Directing Run-Off and Grading

What we see more commonly is when a landscape design is installed and it results in more water flowing to an area of the yard that isn’t used to handling that much. One way to fix this is to install a French drain that collects and disperses water into the ground so it doesn’t pool into one area, killing your turf. French drains involve building a trench and filling it with gravel, rock, or a perforated hollow pipe, that will quickly redirect water that collects in it. Another way to redirect these trapped water is to install a dry creek bed, which looks similar to a pebble path, at a slope that will carry the water away from the area where it’s pooling. Either way, the idea is the same, to redirect and disperse standing water to another area of the yard.

Ideally, French drains and dry creek beds can take care of drainage issues your yard my experience, but sometimes grading work is the only solution. As ground from new construction projects settles over time the grading in your yard may change, requiring additional grading work to correct the flow of water. A professional landscape contractor can help determine if this needs to be done, or if drains and dry creeks will readily handle your drainage needs.

Gutter Spouts

You can also see drainage issues when gutter downspouts aren’t properly placed. You need to make sure they’re routed to help the water go downhill. Where you run into problems is when they empty an undesirable amount of water into your plant beds or paved surfaces. Follow these two simple tips to avoid issues:

  1. Inspect the Wear & Tear. Inspect the outsides of your gutters and downspouts for erosion, streaks, or watermarks, since those are signs that the gutters are overflowing when it rains. They likely just need cleaned in order to drain correctly.
  2. Check Their Discharge Point. Where do they empty? Generally, the further away from the house, the better. If they empty right along your foundation, or into depressed areas that don’t flow away from your home, it can cause major issues.

You can attempt to make these fixes yourself but to avoid further drainage complications, hire a trusted landscape drainage company. They’ll use their experience and expertise to propose a well thought out solution that will fix your lawn’s drainage for good. Trust us, you will never regret hiring a professional and getting the job done right.

Too much Rain and Other Issues

The seasons can be wild here in Iowa, and sometimes no matter how well designed a landscape and home is heavy rains take their toll. In the cases of severe rain, it’s good to have a sump pump installed in your basement in case water seeps in.

Another issue may include standing water even though you have French drains installed, which may be a result of the amount of rain overflowing the capacity of your drainage system.

In rare cases, your drain pipe may be damaged. This can happen if you’ve recently had construction work done near your yard. If you’re worried, contact a landscaping company who can test your system and determine what’s going on.

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