voorheisb
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Drainage Problem...

I, like many other people I've seen in these forums, am having a problem with drainage. I live on a hill so my yard when looking at my house from the street slopes from left to right. In fact, the hill is steep enough that it allows me to have a walk-in basement door. The problem is that the water comes down the hill through the woods and turns my backyard into a muddy stream. I've traced the source and it appears to just come out of the ground just before it reaches my property. I'm wondering if I can channel it toward the street and away from my house since there is a drainage grate there already. If anyone can help me I'd greatly appreciate it. My house is only 5 years old and my foundation already has a crack and began leaking I'm sure due to the hydrostatic pressure. I'd be happy to include some pictures. Just let me know.

Thanks,
Brian
Brian Voorheis

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rainbowgardener
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drainage problem

My property is like that, except it slopes down from front to back, so I also have a walkout basement door, in the back. The driveway goes alongside the house from front to back and then across the back to basement door, so water was just pouring down the driveway and pooling in front of basement door. So we put a drainage grate into the driveway, right where it (and the water) start to curve around the back of the house and put in irrigation pipe going back from there through the back yard. The pipe has little holes in it (in the bottom) and goes right past flowerbeds, eight inches or so underground. So now instead of flooding the basement all that rainwater is carried into the back yard and waters my flowerbeds. Works great. Because the holes are little, all the water doesn't just go out at the beginning, it gets carried along the length of the pipe, dropping a little bit at a time.

MaineDesigner
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At the risk of being depressing I don't think this is an issue you are going to able to resolve via web forums. Water and drainage can be quite complicated. In addition to the purely technical matters of topography, soils and hydrology, legal and liability issues can come into play. In some municipalities it is illegal to direct water into storm drains in the manner you are describing.
I would start by making inquiries at your town planning office or city engineers office.

The Helpful Gardener
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I think pics would help a lot, Brian...before we involve the authorities (who can hinder as well as help) let's take a look and see if there is a homegrown solution we can come up with... we'll be the first to tell you if this is beyond your scope, but retaining water on site is best for your gardens and best for the environment, and there are ways to do that that don't involve city hall...

[url]https://raingardens.org/Index.php[/url]

HG
Scott Reil

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drainage

right THG... that was sort of my point re what I did. Why throw the water in the storm drain (even if they would allow it) when you can keep it and use it for your garden!?

The Helpful Gardener
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First thing I did in the yard when I bought this house was rearrange the drainage (previous owner failed to mention the occasional flooding I found signs of later, after our first wet basement). Now I have come through some gully whompers since and no wet anymore. If it isn't caught in a rainbarrel, then it goes into the paths of my veggie garden (the backyard) or into the perf pipe that runs in front of the foundation plantings (that has a french drain that runs out into the front yard).

I have bermed in back a little to catch the sheeting action off of the backyard, before it makes the street back there, so no water escapes my yard. I keep it all here and what doesn't make it into my plants makes it into our local water table. With water restrictions becoming more frequent and stringent, it just makes sense...

HG
Scott Reil

voorheisb
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I wanted to first thank everyone for taking the time to give me your thoughts. HG, I'll take some pictures today and post them. I'm very interested in seeing if you can, as you said, devise a "home grown" solution.

Thanks again,
Brian
Brian Voorheis

voorheisb
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Drainage Problem...

THG, sorry for just now sending the pictures. I had some personal matters to attend to. Here are a few pictures of the problem areas.

I hope I'm posting these right. I did read the thread on how to post images.

View from the street to show slope of yard:
[img]https://img301.imageshack.us/img301/2581/fromstreet.jpg[/img]

View from front yard:
[img]https://img186.imageshack.us/img186/4930/frontyard.jpg[/img]

View of hill to the left of the house. This is where the water comes from:
[img]https://img383.imageshack.us/img383/8039/woods.jpg[/img]

View from the woods looking down toward my house:
[img]https://img383.imageshack.us/img383/6489/fromhill.jpg[/img]

Another question. This is the water that comes from the hill. Is this iron that makes the water look like this? Is it dangerous? I have blueberry bushes over there and also I have a dog that may or may not drink it.
[img]https://img222.imageshack.us/img222/219/ironc.jpg[/img]

This is a shot of the left of the house. The water comes from the left and pools on the edge of my yard and also makes it's way across my entire back yard.
[img]https://img301.imageshack.us/img301/7271/sideyard.jpg[/img]

Source of water looking up the hill into the woods. It just kind of comes out of the ground:
[img]https://img152.imageshack.us/img152/2297/source.jpg[/img]

Sorry if the pictures are confusing. A friend borrowed the lens I needed.
Brian Voorheis

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It appears you have a mineral spring (with extra iron) in your back yard. This has to be a plus if we can keep it out of your basement...

It looks like they actually piled up around your foundation and created a high spot in the yard; is your septic system in the front? Need to know before we go much further; are you on city lines or septic system?

The mix of plants right along the water flow are a lot of wetland obligates; is this designated wetland area? Need to know that as well...

Even if it is, we can still redirect water in the yard; I am thinking a daisy chain of boulders around the outside of the yard (to divert flow) and raise the grade some on the house side (to facilitate drainage and hide boulders). But lets get some other answers before we set off down that road...

HG
Scott Reil

voorheisb
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1. No, it is not designated wetland.
2. Yes, that is in fact where my septic is.
Brian Voorheis

The Helpful Gardener
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Thought I recognized the building style; they do that when they can't get perc tests to pass... which means you, my friend, are close to the water table...

Could you do this yourself? Yeah, and I gave you some ideas for starters, but the more I look, the more I am starting to agree with MD. This really impinges on the whole yard, and you might well get some relief from the steps I outlined, but will it handle the 100 year rain? The 500 year rain? Keep in mind with global wierding the northern plains have gotten back to back years of 200 year floods; who knows what the new "norm" is? Long story short you should at least get some estimates for some sitework, and I would include just about everything we talked about so far. At least find out what the sticker looks like so you can weigh it against the DIY costs, but much like lawyering, the site engineer that hires himself can have a fool for a client, too, you just won't know until that first historic event...

HG
Scott Reil

voorheisb
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HG,

Yeah, you're basically confirming my worst fears. I only plan to be in this house for another 5 or 6 years and want to minimize any damage to the landscape and house foundation. Thank you for your suggestions. I'll get the estimates and go from there.

Thanks again for all your help.

- Brian
Brian Voorheis

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