Drainage advice?

What are some good web sites etc... for drainage of yards and gardens. In Vancouver BC it is so wet all winter my lawn and garden of my 'new' house (new to us, it is 70 years old and the garden was negelcted the past ten years easy) is a lake after a rain. I think the soil is very compacted and I will spike it in the spring. The soil is very thick and quite clay-like. I tried to dig a dry well and that didn't go over well when it rained for a week before I could get any gravel to fill it, it mike make nice pond now.... I will fill it when the rains stop. Any ideas about soil admendments to improve drainage? Sand? Gypsum? I don't want to do drainage tile unless it is absolutley necessary.
jc
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If your soil truly won't allow sufficient percolation for average rainfalls, changing the tilth within the first few inches of depth really won't affect much... plus without sufficient vegatative cover your newly amended soil will just wash away on top of the clay layer.
You should try to get a soil test as soon as possible in order to find out what's going on... perhaps even a boring.
A Landscape Architect or other qualified professional can advise you on changes to the site elevations to promote positive flow away from your house and the elimination of standing pools of water.
Dave

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Sometimes by taking the problem and making it the solution, you can end up with an efficient way to handkle the situation. "Rain gardens" are a good concept and fairly easy to make.
http://www.epa.gov/OWOW/info/NewsNotes/issue42/urbrnf.html http://www.nhg.com/db/iwatnam.htm
I tok a constantly "wet" area and made a "rain garden".
http://www.hal-pc.org/~garden/boggardenjuly.jpg
http://www.hal-pc.org/~garden/boggarden1.jpg
http://www.hal-pc.org/~garden/streetview.jpg
Every yard is a unique scenario to study.
JK

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Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
2003 Honorable Mention Award, Keep Houston Beautiful
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On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 04:18:23 +0000, Joseph Chong wrote:

One thing that affects drainage is topography. Does water naturally drain toward the garden? If so, then change the topography by building up the garden beds so water slopes away or move your garden to an area where the water does drain.
The best way to amend clayey soil is to add organic matter. Sand is not on the recommended list of amendments. Gypsum would add lime. This you don't need.
Get a soil test done and ask for the lab's advice on how to amend the soil.
Another solution might be to try raised bed gardens.
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A website is not going to do it for you. If you have standing water after a good rainstorm, you need to think about some professional intervention - soil amendment is not the answer. Drainage issues are complicated and if improperly done can result in further damage to your property, erosion and leakage in your home. A good system of french drains leading to a catch basin and storm drains is the way to go and you need a professional for that.
Amending soil to improve drainage in planting areas can be done, but unless topography and other drainage issues are addressed first, you will not have much success. Heavy soil can be lightened by adding quantities of organic matter and coarse sand or small gravel. But you run the risk of complicating drainage if the amending is not widespread - selected areas of improved soil surrounded by areas of the heavy clay soil will only create 'bathtubs' or pockets which will fill with water after a good rain. If you correctly address the drainage in the unplanted or lawn areas of your garden, then raised beds or berms may be the easiest route.
pam - gardengal
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I sympathize with your problem. The water stays all around my patio. There is a large maple tree there and I can't do much planting or digging there because of the shallow roots. I will have to read more about rain gardens. I am seriously looking into dry creek beds as a way to channel the water.
Marilyn in Ohio
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A dry creek bed is a great idea. I've built several over the years for clients. Here's some tips... Make sure it drains away from your house or existing wet area (when it rains) The larger rocks should be darkest in color and furthest from the middle. The smaller rocks, lighter in color, will accent the center line. Avoid any straight lines or sharp bends. The creek should flow naturally. Be careful of what you plant along the edge. Some plants will cross the bed and eventually clog it. Use porous weed barrier on the bottom to keep the rocks from sinking into the soil.
Neat trick - scatter a small bag of marbles amongst the rocks. The sun will make them sparkle like diamonds.
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These are terrific tips. I have filed them. Do you have any pictures that you could send to me privately? I have one big question. I know where to drain it from but where do I drain it to? Maybe dig a gravel filled hole behind a bush somewhere?
Marilyn
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Without seeing the area it's hard to say. Can you drain it to a road that would have, hopefully, proper drainage? What about a lake, pond or a canal? Failing that, how about letting it drain out into a large field?
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