Whenever we have a heavy rainfall my backyard floods. If we've
had a lot of rain and the ground is saturated, the water can sit
for days. I wouldn't mind if I didn't have indoor/outdoor dogs.
I'd like to somehow drain the backyard. Would it be easy to install
some sort of drainage system using PVC pipe -- something one
50-year-old woman could do herself? Or should I find someone to
do it for me? And who would I call -- a plumber? Would this require
a city permit?
Basically the whole backyard needs some drainage.
I was thinking of burying some PVC pipe just under the surface
from the backyard into the frontyard and into the street. I have
seen that a couple of my neighbors have set ups like that. I'm
thinking they did it themselves. (I mean, them, not the city.)
Would photos help?
The issue is:
Where does the water go when it gets deep enough? You want to
make the water go there quicker. Make sure you do not dump the
water toward or against the house. If there is sufficient fall
(change of elevation) available, the water can be routed by
surface drainage - think of a grass covered ditch that the water
flows in when it rains, as long as it has somewhere, like the
street, to get to.
Shallow pipes through the curb are not legal in most
municipalities (it's not your curb), though there are sure plenty
of them. Most contractors won't break out the curb. Shallow
pipes will burn the Bermuda grass brown once the heat gets up.
There are many ways to deal with drainage including creation of
sump pit with an electric pump. The best solutions deal with it
You need a local construction man. Landscapers and concrete men
usually understand grade issues better than others.
Keep the whole world singing. . . .
I know I'll catch all sorts of flak for this, but what the hell. You can
probably install something, but first, answer some questions. Trust me -
there's a method to what appears to be madness. You might be able to solve
or minimize the problem for under fifty bucks.
1) Who mows your lawn? You, or someone else? If someone else, is it hired
help, or someone in the family?
2) Do you live in a part of the country where spring is cool, gets warmer as
summer approaches, and summer gets really hot? In other words, not one of
the desert states.
3) If you answered "yes" to number 2, at what point in the spring is the
lawnmower adjusted to its HIGHEST setting?
4) Has the lawn ever been rolled to make it flatter?
5) Do you use a lawn service for fertilization?
The mower: Set it at its highest setting (height above the ground) and leave
it there. The grass will develop a better root system, which improves the
ability of the soil to accept water. Not perfect, but better. Cutting grass
putting-green short is unnatural for the plant, much like removing 80% of
the leaves from your trees. The only way to sustain such grass is by the
application of excessive fertilizer.
Has the property always had drainage problems?
Suzie, I don't mean to be rude, especially at a time when things on your
property are so annoying, but after 10 years, didn't it ever dawn on you to
plant rice, and make a little profit from the land? You could've planted
Arborio or Basmati, or some other fancy variety that's all the rage in
But SERIOUSLY, folks....the lawnmower height's not going to work miracles,
but even if you install drainage, your property is still in a place where
something interesting is happening underground. You may need every edge you
It won't magically dissipate (not disappear) standing water. Over a couple
of seasons, it will improve the drainage of the yard, which will help SOME.
Unless her lawn is growing in 6" of soil on top of a solid layer of rock, a
deeper, healthier root system will improve the ground's ability to absorb
water. As a bonus, she'll have less weeds, need less fertilizer and less
watering in the dry months.
Most lawns are cut too short at certain times of year.
*SOME* being the operative word. Until now (except that I knew better), reading
you one would think that just leaving the grass longer would be the fix. It
isn't, not for her magnitude of problem.
It actually solved ALL of the problem for the people who run my office park.
They were shaving the lawn to 1" all season long and rolling it each spring.
Two hours of rain and they'd have a pond 3" deep. They stopped their
mistakes and the problem is gone. Nothing else was done. There's no way to
predict the results of good practices such as I've described, other than to
say "they will help, and may solve".
Use the perforated ribbed plastic piping, sold at home improvement
stores. Dig a trench from where there is water to where you want it
drained--this is the tricky part! Lay the pipe, cover with landscape
fabric, apply a layer of gravel, fill with dirt, reseed. No permit
needed. The longer the trench, the bigger the job. A landscaper may
help you. Flag the wet areas if you get someone else to do the job.
Another option is to add soil to the low areas, and reseed.
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