The Importance Of Proper Drainage Ahead Of Storm Season

Michael Hatcher

Apr 2, 2018 9:31:00 AM

With over thirteen inches of rain falling, this February set a new mark for the wettest on record in Memphis. This kind of heavy precipitation is a reminder that late winter and early spring are an especially good time to resolve any drainage or erosion issues you’ve been having with your property, particularly in the Mid-South, where our biggest severe weather season runs from March until May. Strong storms often dump copious amounts of rain on us in a relatively short period of time, which can worsen any existing problems and sometimes cause new ones.

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Michael Hatcher & Associates understands how important properly functioning drainage is to any landscape. In order to better serve our clients in the Mid-South, we employ landscape designers and architects that specialize in solving these kinds of problems. They have years of experience in helping clients solve tricky drainage problems.  Before giving up on water and drainage problems in your yard or landscape setting, let’s take a look at why proper drainage is so necessary in ensuring the health and longevity of the landscaping on your property.

Why good drainage is important to every landscape

A good drainage system may not always be as obvious or attractive as an eye-catching landscape design, but it’s certainly an integral part of keeping it attractive and functional. Without proper drainage, all the time, effort, and money spent on landscaping can be wasted if erosion or drowning occurs due to improper drainage.

Erosion is the biggest problem resulting from failing to stay on top of your drainage situation. Every season brings rainfall and other precipitation that can cause soil runoff in your yard. If precautions aren’t taken and problems aren’t resolved, this runoff can quite literally carry your landscaping away with it. Erosion can decrease not only the attractiveness but the value of the property, as it lessens the overall yard area. Over time, this can cause the foundation of your home to shift or sink, creating an unsafe environment and leading to expensive and extensive home repairs.

Even if erosion does not occur, improper drainage can still ruin your property by collecting in the soil, creating standing water that can drown your grass and other plants. This excess moisture in the soil can also cause plant roots to become susceptible to fungus and mold. Perhaps more importantly, these puddles of still water can become a breeding ground for unwanted insects like mosquitoes, which are already a real issue in Memphis! These kinds of pests are not only irritating to humans, they can also transmit harmful diseases to people, pets, and even plants.

Ensuring good drainage will prevent all of these dangers, protecting the health and longevity of your landscaping. Michael Hatcher & Associates have many options for installing drainage solutions that will be effective without detracting from the overall attractiveness of your property.


Because water runs more quickly down a slope, the ground around your home or building should slope away from structures. The soil surface should not be above your foundation and grading may sometimes be required. Our experienced team will work with the natural contour of your land to slope soil away from any buildings, parking areas, patios and walkways, so that water will naturally flow away from them. By controlling water runoff, we’re able to protect your home and other features on your property.

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Dry creek bed installation

By professionally installing a dry creek bed on your property, we are able to provide both beauty and function to any of your water-runoff areas. These beds are usually accomplished by contouring the land or following a natural swell in the land, lining it with landscape fabric, then we cover with large gravel, rock or with other decorative river rock accents. This creates a natural looking creek bed that conducts water to a specific area during a rain event and gathers and redirect this surface water to flows into its path. Dry creek beds can alleviate erosion and unsightly runoff areas in your landscape by catching and redirecting excess water.

French drains

French drains are underground systems, designed to redirect water flow and move the water to a designated area. Once we determine where the water should go, we will dig a trench and place pipes along with gravel to filter the water and direct it into the pipe. The drain will allow standing or collected water to drain allowing it to naturally move toward the predetermined exit point. To keep the system short enough to easily manage, we try to place the drain relatively close to its starting point but far enough away to prevent any further water damage. French drains can correct water build-up in your yard as well as water draining into your home by rerouting it away from the problem area.

Raised garden beds can also be area for water collection.  A French drain in the area can help to keep your plants from being over hydrated and less healthy by moving excess water out of the space and preventing water damage. After installation, French drains are covered and easily hidden within your landscaping. Over time, the drain should require only minimal maintenance.

Sump pump drainage systems

A sump pump is a submersible, electrical pump that is often used if more traditional options are not able to fix a landscape drainage issue. When water drains to the low point there must be an even lower point outside in order to pipe the water away. If your landscape has nowhere for water to drain off to, a sump pump might be the best solution. It can be installed underground or sit on the surface near the problem area, and requires an electrical source. Though it can pump a lot more water than a traditional 4-inch pipe, and can be used in conjunction with any of our more traditional drainage systems, routine checks of the reservoir are necessary because if the pump gets clogged, the whole system will fail.

Gutter downspout extensions

Downspouts are commonly installed on homes, but they are not always set up in a way that ensures excess water is moved far enough away from the foundation of the house. If the downspout on your home is draining water directly at the base of the house, it can lead to your lawn or garden being eroded away. Water that drains from the roof but isn’t directed away from the house will quickly find its way down into the foundation of your house and can flood the surrounding area in your yard. Michael Hatcher & Associates can attach extensions to the end of the downspout, then connect them to a drainage pipe which will lead water away from the home through various means including drain pipes and rock swells.

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Re-landscaping problem areas

Not only can our experienced team resolve drainage issues with grading, drains, and other installations, we are also able to re-landscape any areas of your yard that collect standing water or are being eroded by poor drainage. By combining successful draining techniques along with more intuitive landscaping, we can change the way your yard works and looks.  

Build a more beautiful, better functioning landscape with Michael Hatcher & Associates

As good stewards of the environment, our team is dedicated to creating landscapes that are sustainable as well as efficient. If you suspect your Mid-South property has drainage issues, get in touch with our us today to schedule a consultation with a member of our design team. We will inspect your property for improper draining, and can offer services such as grading, adding drains, installing plant barriers, or other landscape solutions for any problem areas we discover.

Michael Hatcher & Associates are proud to services homeowners and properties in the Mid-South. Call us at 901.755.3207 or click here to take the first step towards a more sustainable and attractive property with our team of designers and landscape specialists..

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Michael Hatcher

Written by Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is president of Michael Hatcher & Associates.