Alabama is known to get its fair share of spring rain – rain that we need for spring flowers and green lawns. However, the heavy downpours common in our area can cause problems in yards where drainage is an issue. Without proper drainage, water can collect and damage structures or expensive plants and trees. If you are experiencing water drainage problems, a well-designed drainage solution system is a top priority for protecting your investment.
How Do You Know if You Have Drainage Problems?
The four most common drainage solutions:
1. Surface Drainage
Many home sites have uneven grades. Hillier areas can commonly collect water, causing flooding and muddy areas in lawns and beds. A drainage contractor can create a drainage plan utilizing surface grading to allow for proper drainage. Correcting the problem on the surface is usually the most economical solution and is preferred because it does not limit the capacity of the water being shed. If surface grading is not an option, other subsurface solutions exist.
2. Positive Flow Subsurface Drains
3. Subterranean Leach Field Drains (Common Misnomer “French Drain”)
Subterranean drains collect water that originates from under your house or yard. As the water table rises, underground springs or aquifers may manifest themselves by creating soggy places in your yard or perhaps even presenting as wet spots in your drive, house slab or basement. This drainage problem requires someone experienced in identifying the exact location of the breach and able to find the most economical solution. Many times a gravity drain will work, while other times, due to the elevation of the breach, a pump may be installed to discharge the water to higher elevation. Often, hardpan soil layers exist, and the entire site may be affected by poor drainage and standing water. In these cases, spot solutions like gravity drains or pumps simply won’t work. A site-wide grading and drainage solution plan is necessary. This plan includes an underground system of pipes fed by drop inlets or trench drains, making it easier for water to run off site and funnel directly into a storm drain.
These types of drainage solutions cost more to install but pay for themselves in reliability. If no storm drain exists or it is inaccessible, this solution plan could flow into an underground dry well. A dry well is a large hole dug in the ground and then packed with fabric and gravel.
4. High Water Table
If your home site is in a low lying area with a high water table, you have probably noticed what a challenge landscaping can be. Over-saturated plant roots, especially left for an extended period of time, can quickly rot, resulting in damage and often dead plants. It’s best to choose plants and shrubs that originate in river bottoms and wetlands if possible. Another solution for high water table landscapes is to actually raise the planting areas. This will allow you more options on what types of plants, trees, and shrubs you can safely plant and grow. For trees and large shrubs, the size of such planters must be greater to keep the root crown high and dry. In many cases, a subterranean leach field drainage system improves soil drainage conditions when a high water table is present.
Whether you are building new construction or have an established landscape, drainage solutions are essential to the health and beauty of your property.