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How To Fix Drainage Issues
If you are struggling with water issues on your residential site a French drain may be the solution for you.

Residential sites are most commonly engineered so that water flows away from the foundation. This is great for your house but if the developer did not pay attention to the full site they may have left you with a few soggy spots. In Suburban neighborhoods where homes are closer together there are oftentimes drainage issues where your property borders your neighbor's property. In many cases these spots are so wet that you can not even walk over them to mow the lawn.

If your water issues are this bad you need a solution to fix your drainage. A French drain is the most commonly used drainage solution.

First the layout the path starting where your water issues is, and ending where you would like to relocate that water. Keep in mind that gravity will always move water from higher elevation locations to lower elevation locations. When choosing a spot to relocate your water make sure it is downhill from the problem area. The spot that you choose should be lower in elevation, well graded, and well-drained. If your relocation area fits all three of the last criteria then you are solving the problem, if not you may just be moving the problem from one place to another. Take extra care when laying out your drain tile path so that this is the first and last time you have to address this issue.

Most of the projects where we install French drains, we are able to choose a good location to just pop up with a 4in round drain tile cap. The pop up redirects the water from the trouble area to a new location that can handle the water.

If you do not have a easy accessible spot to relocate the water you may want to use a professional, because the alternatives are much more costly and difficult to execute. Your next best option is to drill a 4 inch hole into a storm water sewer. He will need special permission from the city before you drill a hole in a sewer. Not only is it difficult to operate the equipment that drills the hole, it is even more difficult to get permission from the city if you have never done this before. We happen to own the drill, have the proper licensing, and the experience a city is looking for. We drill holes into the city sewers for a small portion of our drain tile projects, and have very little issue getting the permits.

Very few projects require an even more difficult drainage solution. These projects require a water dissipation pit. Even though I am a university trained Landscape Designer, I still have to hire a licensed engineer to assist me in the designing of these projects. There are advanced calculations to determine how much water moves across your site during a typical rainstorm, how long it takes for your soil to absorb and dissipate the water, and the overall water holding capacity you will need in your pit. It is rare that we install projects like this, but it does happen at least once a year. Even though it appears to the naked eye that there is little to no change, because all of the work is underneath your lawn; these projects are actually very excited and rewarding. Our crew members enjoy doing the work because it is a break from the norm (which for us is mostly brick pavers). Our clients are ecstatic when we transform an usable space into a functional space. In the end, my office staff and I are just glad to have solved our clients problems and watched our crew enjoy the work they do.

Below are some slides that give a visual representation of how to install a French drain. they are followed by a video that explains the slides. The video then ends with a time-lapse video of us installing a water dissipation pit that is 7 ft wide by 7 ft deep by 28 ft long. It is not the biggest one we've ever installed, but it is the only one we have video of, so I hope you enjoy it.