Monday, December 3, 2012

The Importance of Effective Landscape Drainage

Each time your lawn is subjected to heavy rainfall, where does all that water end up? Poor drainage can result in a myriad of problems, including damage to your home's foundation, damage to plants and generally turning your yard into a swampy, muddy mess that's as unsightly as it is unhealthy for the lawn you try so hard to keep well-maintained.
Similar to how a house requires a solid, firm foundation, at the core of any properly executed landscaping endeavor should be a good drainage system. After a spell of heavy rainfall, evaluate your yard to see just how well it is currently draining. If you have lots of pooling areas and puddles forming, some drainage lines might be in order.
Fortunately, there are many different drainage options available, depending on your needs and the layout of your home and yard. The simplest of these is simple underground pipes which carry excess water to the street and release it.
Channel drains are another option, perfect for preventing roof runoff from flooding the landscape below. These drains are installed into the concrete, channeling water away from the home into a pipe below the level of the concrete. Normally the top portion of the channel drain has a protective grate which keeps out debris and prevents clogging. The channel connects to another pipe, which leads water away from the house (preferably out to the street).
If specific areas of your lawn or garden are giving you trouble, an isolated area drain may be a good answer. When water collects into puddles, not only does it look bad but it also produces a literal breeding ground for mosquitoes. A simple area drain connected to a drainage pipe will work wonders by carrying the excess water to the street in a series of underground pipes. From time to time you may have to clean off the cover of the drain receptacle to ensure the drainage channel remains unobstructed.
In areas with sensitive plants such as raised planters, making use of a French drain can result in excellent excess water management with very little hit to appearance. Basically, a French drain is nothing more than a perforated drainage pipe wrapped in landscape fabric. The fabric will allow water to pass through into the pipe to be diverted away, but soil, roots and other debris will not be able to pass through into the pipe.
Another prime suspect for drainage issues is the downspouts on your home. Downspouts are commonly installed on homes these days, however they are rarely setup properly to ensure excess water is moved far enough from the foundation and/or garden. If the downspout is draining water directly at the base of the house, this can lead to your garden or lawn literally being eroded away. If the water draining from the roof isn't directed away from the house, it will quickly find its way down into the foundation and flood the surrounding area in your yard. An adapter should be attached to the end of the downspout, connected to a drain pipe which leads the water out away from the home.
In order to guarantee proper drainage throughout your entire yard, a complete underground drain system is highly recommended. This system will normally consist of a series of lateral trenched pipes that are interconnected throughout the yard. These pipes would ideally also be connected to the channel and area drains and downspouts around your home. Collectively, this system would divert all excess water downhill where it can be released without causing damage to either your home or landscape.

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