Backyard floods

When it rains, my backyard floods. I believe the house (recently purchased) has the subpump pushing the water out to the back of the yard, and this is where it floods. The ground does slope inwards to this spot (both sides, so its like a v, but not too steep). Any ideas on how to prevent the flooding/fix it? Remove the pipe is probably not realistic, and I am assuming there is a way to fix this with dirt. I have a buddy who offered me red dirt to fill the area to level it off. Will this work/help? Any ideas?
Thanks.
Marc
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

To keep water away from the foundation and basement you need 3 things:
1 - The ground should slope away from the house, not towards it. You want it 2 -3 inchs lower at 10 ft out from the house.
2 - The sump pump should discharge a reasonable distance from the house, 15ft minimum.
3 - Rain from downspouts should be directed away with a long splash block as a minimum and if that doesn't work well, then a short length of 4" flex pipe.
Pooling may still occur if you have a low spot. That can usually be fixed by proper grading. Sometimes you may have to put in some type of underground drain system, depending on what you actually have to work with there.
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On 27 Dec 2006 05:07:57 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Trader probably knows more about this than I do, but he was ansering the wrong question!
It's the yard that's wet, not the foudation or basement.
I can only tell stories.
We had a corner of the yard that was wet all spring. It was 50 feet from the house and every spring it would take me by surprise when I tried to mow the lawn. The self-propelled lawnmower would actually leave ruts in the ground. But being Indiana, it dried out by August.
Oh, our crawlspace, 3 or 4 feet high, was wet all year long, but I was 10 when we moved there, and I this was normal. Our previous house had a basement with a drain in the middle of the floor and it was wet a lot too.
I too have thought one could just put in dirt until the land was higher than the water table, but I've never been able to verify this myself, nor have I asked anyone reliable.
The house 3 doors down from us had a back yard where the whole thing, 100x60 feet, was wet most of the time. One day I was looking at the map of Indianapolis, and I realized that it indicated there was a stream on our block, but I didn't know the stream. Suddenly I realized the stream was in his back yard. I don't know what it looked like when the builder got there, but it was as if they added dirt until it was dry, or they built in August. Still I think if they had added more dirt, it would have been made dry eventually, although I suppose capillary action brings the water higher than it is now. Maybe you will end up with a hill in the middle of your yard.
Post this question to alt.home.repair.

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mm wrote:

If you guys read my reply, I addressed the yard area, as well as the area immediately around the house. Yes, I told him what to consider close to the house FIRST, because that area is most important. Who knows what's going on there, which way it's graded, etc. It would be pretty stupid to fix a low spot 20 ft out in the yard by adding fill and not look at what is most important first. Without considering that, he could just add fill and wind up with it graded sloping towards the house.
In reality, there isn't a lot that anyone can tell him about how to fix this without knowing more about the situation, most importantly the grading possibilities, given what he has as boundary parameters.

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I caught your drift and I agree with you. There's no way to give specific advice without actually seeing the problem first hand. Years ago, I worked for a contractor who made a great living fixing these problems. The solutions were mostly low-tech and labor intensive. They often involved moving massive amounts of dirt, digging up around foundations and installing water-proofing, gravel and French drains, resloping the entire yard, building heavy-duty retaining walls, etc. It was neither cheap or easy, but when we were done, the job was done right. You could take that to the bank.
A lot of our customers finally called us after they had tried the quick fixes and cheap-o solutions. One of my favorites was the water-proof paints applied to the inside of the basements. Think about it. By the time the water has infiltrated into the blocks you have a huge problem. You're asking for cracked walls and a collapsed foundation. Painting the walls with water-proof paint was like putting a band-aid on cancer.

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wrote:

He never said his basement was wet. If it were, I think he would have mentioned it prominently. At least that is the way I take it.
He also didnt' say how big his yard was. If it were my yard, the wet part was centered 60 feet from the house and a pile of dirt 10 or 15 feet wide would have had no effect on how wet it was in my crawlspace, especially since this part of the yard was downhilll from our house.

Well, that worked for us, in the house my mother lived in before she married my father. She kept it to store possessions of her late first husband, and as a rental. A tenant who was supposed to fix the place up and get paid for it instead fell behind on his rent** and called the building department. It was the head of the building department who suggested waterproof paint, and I was 12 years old and got the job of painting it, amidst cobwebs iirc. I didn't really think it would work, but it did. My mother was surprised a bit too. IIRC, we got no more complaints the rest of the time my mother managed the property. When she was moved to another city she disposed of all her husband's property, and sold the house.
I put that paint on in 1959. Surely they have even better paint now.
Didn't wash the walls first either. In fact I painted some of the cobwebs onto the wall.
**The tenant did make a payment of a month or two's rent a week or two before he moved out. So I don't think he was trying to gouge my mother. Because he surely could have escaped without making that last payment. I wish I had the chance to ask for his side of the story. He actually got a discount on the rent for fixing the place up, especially the wet basement, the very thing he complained about to the building department. I can imagine that he decided he couldn't fix it, but he should have lived with it or moved, or started paying full rent and asked my mother to have it fixed. Instead he surprised her by complaining to the city. LIke I say, it's strange and I wish I could hear his side.

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I beleive the point was this. You might create a bigger problem by not doing the job properly the first time.

I'm glad the paint worked for you. You are obviously the exception to the rule. There's one for every case. I'm certain that your weren't dealing with a large volume of water or your outcome would have been very different. The fact is, water pressing against a foundation can cause a lot of damage to a home. If you divert the water pooling in your yard to some other place, you'd better be sure that it doesn't end up going toward your house. If it does, you could be in for real trouble.
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wrote:

Replying to myself, I guess the big question I had about this is, assuming extra dirt in the right place would dry it out, how quickly could you put on the dirt without killing the grass? Or would that be impossible?
I mean, if you sprinkled a half inch of dirt on an area, would the grass just grow longer, and then a half inch more the next month? And so on until the hill was the right height? Or would grass die if the rhizomes? were an inch farther below the top of the soil? Or two inches?
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mm wrote:

I think that in most cases, the water table is not the issue. Few places are going to have a water table so high, that it causes this. And if it is, then I doubt adding a few inchs of soil is going to solve it. I think the real problem is typically just grading and drainage. If there is a low spot and the underlying soil does not drain well, then all the water heads there and then takes a long time to drain through the soil.

You can top dress it a little at a time and it will work. About 1/2 inch every couple months or so. However, from a practical standpoint, it's not worth the trouble if you have more than an inch or two to go. It's easier to just do it in one shot and reseed. You can also use a sod cutter, remove the grass, apply the soil and put sod back.

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Rule #1 - Water seeks out its own level. You either have to change the slope of the yard or reroute the water away from the spot. In general, there are no simple fixes when it comes to drainage problems. Think big and fix it right the first time. Otherwise, you'll be revisiting this dilemma every time it rains.

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