justink
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PLEASE HELP!! Flooding and drainage problems in back yard.

I have a major flooding problem in my back yard. My yard is lower than the surrounding yards and so when it rains it all sits in my yard. As you can see in the pictures, i have a middle spot that is particularly low and becomes a giant pool of water 2-6 inches that’s takes about 2 days to drain depending on the weather. I am wanting to build some type of drainage system to help alleviate this big problem . I think the best bet so far is to construct a French drain and try and move the water out through the gate down the side of the house and out into the edge of lawn beside my front drive way. The distance from the large low spot to the front spans roughly 60ft. The rest of the yard gets fairly wet also. What king of system can I build to help with this problem? Will the ditches look like a tree branches converging on a main drain which then goes out to the front of the house?? I am very handy but I am a little clueless with this problem. I don’t want to break my back digging and then have the drainage not work. Also the yard has poor exposure to sunlight and lots of mossdue to the water. When i fix the drainage problem ,how do i get rid of the moss so i can get some grass growing? Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated. Oh, please note the frustrated wife in the window, Thanks Justin ,Memphis Tn

https://www.flickr.com/photos/26420411@N06/2476366584/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26420411@N06/2475550687/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26420411@N06/2475549483/[/url]

MaineDesigner
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The usual methods are either a herringbone configuration or a series of parallel pipes. Generally the perf-pipe in a fabric sock is laid in trenches lined with porous landscape/geotextile fabric and backfilled with gravel. A layer of the same fabric on top covered with soil.
Caution! This is just a very general comment. Anyone who tells you they can give you good advice on this subject without actually seeing the site is either naive or less-than-truthful. You have to know something about the soil profiles you are working with to do this properly and there often are legal and permitting issues. I know this isn't what you want to hear but I would recommend hiring a civil engineer with demonstrated experience in small scale drainage projects to design it and guide you through any legal hurdles.

If you have considerable shade you aren't going to have much luck getting traditional lawn grasses to grow even if the drainage is fixed.

bullthistle
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I bet your children have fun after it rains. I second what the previous poster said however those in the business won't want to screw around with such a small problem so you might need to find someone that does this as a sideline that will not charge you up the *ss, possibly a home inspector. I can see from the brick on the house that you have a big problem and it is unfortunate that hindsight can be our greatest asset and I beleive you are on the right path so listen carefully to what someone tells you to figure out if they have a clue. Good luck!

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claregirl
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Boy oh boy, I could have written your post. We've lived here three years in July and or back yard floods all the time. My boyfriend has done dozens of things to try to fix the problem. I finally went to our local nursery and had the landscape architect come out to look it over. They are going to be here in two weeks to dig the herringbone configuration that MaineDesigner mentioned. They are also fixing the existing drainage system that was inadequate. We had two trees taken out and we found Scott's fertilizer with moss control.

Hopefully by July we will have a real back lawn and not a pool. Try what we did. It might help.

pete28
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Maine designer hit the nail on the head with their advice. the other thing you may possibly be able to do is to drain that water to your advantage. Perhaps lay the drainage pipe to empty into a rain barrel or something of that nature? Just throwing out ideas.
Begin again before you end and start the process over again.

timbo90
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flooded back yard

I have the same problem when it rains long and hard, and on many occasions the flood water ruined our vegetable garden,but what bothers me even more is my neighbor dumps his nasty left over pool water onto the ground and since my yard is a little lower than his all that crap water runs into my yard and garden, which make me very angry and has me looking for someway to stop this,so far I have been thinking about sand bagging my fence that seperates our yards so that I could at least stop the pool water but Ive also thought about building a 2ft. cement wall around the base of my property line and having a dump truck of black dirt dumped and spread to raise my yard to a equal or higher level of that of my neigbors,but i worry would that may cause someone basement to flood?

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rainbowgardener
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rain garden?

timbo - you have a whole different issue with the neighbor and the pool water, which would be highly chlorinated and bad for your garden. You might want to post your own topic, instead of tagging along on this one.

justink - when I clicked on the links it says your pictures have been deleted, so I can't see it. But as noted, if the area is shady, it's not going to be a good lawn area, no matter what you do. So instead of spending a whole ton of money trying to make it something different, why not work with what you have? Make it a rain garden, full of plants that are adapted to flooding conditions and will help soak up excess water. It could be a beautiful little wildflower garden.

Here's a couple articles about rain garden design, but just google that and you will find tons of info out there:

https://www.aces.edu/waterquality/nemo/Fact%20Sheets/rain%20garden,%20mg,%20final.pdf

https://www.appliedeco.com/Marketing/RainGardendesign.pdf

Here's a listing of native plants (for the TN, OH, KY area) that are good for rain gardens:

https://www.bluegrassraingardenalliance.org/?q=node/37

many but not all of the plants listed there are suitable for shady areas. You can look them up if you aren't sure, but here's a list of native plants for shady rain gardens:

https://dnr.wi.gov/runoff/rg/plants/shady/shady.htm
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The Helpful Gardener
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Doobie may be on to something there...

The first year I was in this house I didn't garden; I drainaged... :roll:

It is the most important and overlooked part of landscaping and is often the difference between success and failure. It is in your best interest to get this right before you tackle anything else...

Rainbow's idea is my favorite for dealing with this issue; it turns a problem into a benefit. Perhaps a bit of doobie, a bit of RBG; the two ideas are not mutually exclusive...

HG
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rainbowgardener
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I just realized that the post from timbo was tacked on to a thread from 2008; I hadn't looked at the date the first time around. Justink never made any other posts than that one, so probably is long gone and not seeing our great advice! :)

So I hope timbo takes the suggestion and starts a new thread for that question.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

The Helpful Gardener
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Ya never know; he was probably actually notified as I was... thinking "Wow, a blast from the past..."

HG
Scott Reil

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PLEASE HELP! Flooding and Drainage Problem

I realize that this posting is old but after reading it , I just had to comment. I could not see the pictures posted because they were long gone. However, after years of experience in this line of work, I see time and time again people being led to believe that the answer to the standing water in their yards is an elaborate french drain system that costs a great deal of money and lots of back breaking work when (in many cases) all that is needed is some topsoil to fill in some low areas that cause the water to pond. If there is a low spot in the yard, it will trap water. Filling in this low spot will allow the rain water to flow across this area instead of being trapped. So many times a landscaper or so called drainage specialist will convince a home owner that pipes and drains are the only solution (and sometimes it is) when all that is needed is a wheel barrel full of dirt, a rake and a shovel, some grass seed and some straw. I truly hope I didn't offend anybody but I wish I had the money that I have seen people needlessly spend on french drain systems.

StephenH
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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Flooding and drainage problems in back yar

I realize this post is several years old, but I'm wondering if this problem was ever solved for justink. I have almost the same problem. All of our neighbors have built up their land to build large machine sheds. Mind you the city gave building permits for these sheds. Our backyard is lower than all these buildings as well as lower than our street. We have consulted an attorney briefly and there answer is "you can't obstruct the natural flow of water" so as a result our backyard floods every Spring and anytime we get any type of "heavy" rain. It has made our backyard useless. My children can't use their playhouse and we can't use our fire pit. We have brought this to the attention of the City and they tell us "its a civil matter." they even issued another building permit to one of the neighbors to ADD onto their machine shed AFTER we showed them the pictures of the mess it has created in our yard. We have consulted companies but since our backyard is lower than the street they don't seem to think there is a solution. We are considering digging a hole and installing an outdoor sump pump with a line out to the street. I am wondering if this system worked for the original poster.

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applestar
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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Flooding and drainage problems in back yar

I guess the fact that this thread is revived every so often means it's not entirely an uncommon problem. So sorry to hear that you are not getting any positive feedback from ofiicial channels.

I can't claim to know much about it, but let's just explore the situation.

- You say your BACKYARD is lower tons the street and other properties, does this mean your land slopes from the front to the back?

- Is there anywhere for the water to go beyond your backyard if directed, or is your backyard the lowest spot around, period?

- If you simply pump the water back up to the street, won't it just drain back down? Does your street have a storm drain? It seems like that would be the proper destination if the city will permit it.

- or... is your backyard big enough to make a drainage pond/fire emergency reservoir like at shopping centers, minimalls, apartment complexes? -- then it could be turned into a garden feature. Turn the question around -- how big if a pond can be accommodated?
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imafan26
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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Flooding and drainage problems in back yar

When houses are built in new developments the contractors are obliged to grade the properties to allow water to flow out to the street and not onto other properties. Water flowing from one property to another on purpose should be granted a fluid easement.

Unfortunately the first thing people do when they move in is 'level the yard and build walls destroying the swale.

We ran into the problem when we built a wall to replace a wooden fence in the back. The extra dirt got piled on top because it was easier than trying to dig it out after the bearcat was done packing it down. Everytime it rains hard enough to flood the grass, it floods the patio.

At our other house we were careful not to destroy the swale. Our house was actually had a little hill that rolled down to the yard. The neighbor though did build a fortress around the house and when it rained they had a swimming pool in the back yard and the water fountained through the tile wall into our yard. Which by the way was illegal. When they built their wall they ended up throwing dirt on our side and partially blocked the swale. We also build a small 2x4 foot garden partially into the swale. It took a while and some trial and error to properly dig the swale out again to allow the surface water to go back to the street. We did end up with a puddle because of the neighbor's fountains but because we made sure the ground was higher by the house the puddle stayed in the yard.
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StephenH
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Re: PLEASE HELP!! Flooding and drainage problems in back yar

Nicely defined imafan26. Thumbs up.

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