5 Common Landscape Drainage Problems (and How to Solve Them!)

Michael Hatcher

Feb 29, 2016 9:38:53 AM

You don’t have to be a professional to know your lawn has a drainage problem.

The water line on the side of your home, bare roots and yard rivets that look like little streams are hard to miss.

These issues are not only unsightly, but they can also lead to some serious damage if left untreated.

Why Proper Drainage is Important

If you don’t have good drainage on your landscape, chances are, your outdoor living space isn’t going to be a success.

And there’s one factor that will decide if you have drainage issues: having something that hinders water from moving downhill. It’s really that simple.

nice landscape

It could be the result of neglecting to design a stormwater drainage plan or, most often, attempting to correct something without the proper experience and knowledge.

Drainage plans are a vital part of any landscape design. It could consist of an elaborate plan with a catch basin, large and small diameter pipe, sump pump, French drain, gravel and head walls. Or, it could be as small as just thinking about what happens on your terrace when you water a new container plant.

Water is obviously a necessity for a healthy landscape, but you need to know how to properly distribute this resource to prevent issues. If you don’t, the results can be disastrous.

Here are the five most common landscape drainage problems and how to fix them.

1. Poor Elevation at the Foundation

One of the most prevalent drainage problems we see when water is being held at the foundation of a client’s home.

That can be disastrous to the house’s interior finishes, such as drywall or wood floors, and it can also contribute to foundation failure. These are all major issues that could have easily been avoided at the initial construction of the house by elevating the house slab enough to get proper slope away from the home.

Solution: Grading around your home to create another place for the water to flow can help keep it from building up around the foundation. You can also install a sub-surface drainage system that includes a catch basin and pipe.

2. Plant Bed Designs

There’s more to think about than just what plants you want installed in your beds. You also need to consider the bed’s layout if you want to prevent another common drainage issue.

flower bed

Improper bed designs impede the natural water flow, keeping the water from moving in the direction the developer and engineer intended. That could cause the water to remain in the beds, killing your plants, or going in a direction that causes other damage.

Solution: Your drainage solution should include a calculator and a site level to make sure you calculate the proper slope to efficiently move the water down hill.

3. Water Traps

Improper grading of your yard can create depressions that hold water.

This excess water will ultimately kill your turf and plant material. Plus, it can leave you with marshy conditions in those areas if it continues.

Solution: You can give water a better place to go by installing creek beds that allow stormwater to be moved on the surface. These creeks can also add some aesthetic value. In extreme causes where there are no other ways to move the water using gravity, you can use mechanical options to evacuate the water with a sump pump.

4. Paved Surfaces

Having the proper grade isn’t just important for your yard — it’s also vital to preventing drainage problems with your hardscape surfaces.

You need to make sure your solid surfaces like a driveway, pool deck, terraces and walkways have the proper slope.

Solution: In addition to properly grading the area, you can also install retaining walls to help with drainage issues.

5. Gutter Spouts

Another common drainage problem is when gutter down spout exits aren’t properly addressed.

gutter spouts

If the gutter is emptying into bed areas and over saturating plant material, or dumping concentrated amounts of water on paved surfaces, you will have issues.

Solution: Be mindful of where your gutters are pouring water, and redirect them so the water will go down hill.

Hire a Landscape Drainage Professional

You want to fix any drainage issues you have as soon as possible, and one way of doing that is by hiring a landscaping company.

Depending on the complexity of your drainage issue, this is one of the landscape projects that, many times, should be left to a professional. A fraction of an inch can make the difference between solving the problem and spending more money to fix the drainage twice.

Whatever corrective drainage measure you select for your property, the most important thing is to identify your water patterns and ensure they work within the scope of your overall design.

Here at Michael Hatcher & Associates, we can help diagnose your drainage problem and create a lasting solution.

In addition to water management, we also offer lawn care, custom patios, commercial and residential maintenance, landscape design, lighting, outdoor entertainment, custom gunite pools and urban gardening services. Our service area covers Memphis and the Mid-South.

No matter your drainage or landscape needs, we can handle it all.

Contact Michael Hatcher & Associates at 901-755-3207 or by filling out a form online. You can also request a free consultation online.

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Michael Hatcher

Written by Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is Founder and Chairman of Michael Hatcher & Associates.