Sunday, September 22, 2013

Landscape Drainage Planning

Drainage is basically where the water will go and how it will go there. In most situations rain water falls from the eves of the home or building directly onto the ground. This is alright if the ground around the structure slopes away from the building. That would keep water away from the foundation. After that the water will run to the lowest point it can. In a common suburban setting it will run to the front gutter, because city codes insist on a home being higher than the street, and all of the concrete flat work sloping to and connecting with the city street gutter. After the water enters the street gutter it just runs away, because of the slope of the gutter. What were concerned with is getting that rainwater from your roof to the street gutter without causing damage or inconvenience along the way.
Most homes have rain gutters which channel water to certain areas and then deliver the water via down spouts to the ground. This enables us to only have to deal with a few particular spots around the home or building that will have a large amount of water that needs to be dealt with. For the best results a subsurface drains system would be installed and connected directly to the down spouts to catch the rain water and carry it to the designated location for absorption. Surface drain inlets can also be added to drain pipe system to drain low spots in the landscape that would otherwise collect rain water. Sometimes the underground pipes run to a dry well or sump where the water collects and then is disbursed either by absorbing into the ground or by the pumping of the water via pipe to a better location such as the street gutter.
If the water doesn't go directly from the rain gutter into a drain pipe it will flow on the surface of the ground. The ground around the home should slope 6 inches slope away from the structure for the first 10 feet, after that, the ground can slope in a different direction that eventually will get the run off water to the street or a catch basin, away from the building. Next time you see a concrete driveway or sidewalk connecting to a building try to notice how it slopes. If it has been installed by a pro, you will be able to see that it always slopes away from the building to the street. In urban settings it should slope away from the building for at least the first 10-20 feet and after that it should be high in the center or at least slope to one side to prevent standing water on the concrete. The grade of the ground should follow similar grades to provide good drainage away from a building of home.
Once you consider you situation and budget, it's time to call in the professionals. First get a professional rain gutter installation company out to your home. Show them where you think the down spouts should be and then let them tell you what they think would be a good plan for doing that. They may suggest different locations based on the rainwater load that different sections of roof have. Remember that the professional knows best.
Next get the landscape contractor or plumber out to your place and discuss what you have learned from the rain gutter guy. Show them the locations that the downspouts will unload the roof and discuss the drainage from the landscape surface. Let the professional give you a plan and a bid and then get another opinion or two just to get different perspectives. You know every body does it different.
After making the decisions on how to control the landscape drainage and after the installation is complete the only thing to do now is test it out. A garden hose will probably do the trick for this. Now you will be able to rest easy knowing that all the rainwater is under control when it starts to rain really hard.

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