If your home doesn’t have any gutters, consider investing in a good gutter system, especially in a rainy city like Vancouver. Gutters collect the rain water that runs off the roof of your home and deposits it onto the ground. A good gutter system will direct rain water away from your roof, which keeps it from leaking into the foundation and washing your home away.
Almost every homeowner has had to deal with a drainage problem in their yard at some point. Whether the condition has resulted from too many rain events in the season and not enough pitch to your yard to effectively route the water away from the house or something else, there are always solutions to the problem.
A major trouble area is the space between the front sidewalk and the house. Usually the sidewalk will parallel the face of the house and there’s an island in there. The sidewalk will act as a dam and retains the water in that area. Often downspouts are routed into this area which pour all of the water from the roof into this spot as well.
One way to solve this problem is to remove a portion of the sidewalk and replace it with stepping stones or creatively cut the sidewalk so the water can pass through it easily. You can also go under the sidewalk and put in a pipe and a catch basin and pipe water underneath.
Trying to route the water across the yard surface is the best option but a catch basin is the second solution. Usually they are small round grates that keeps debris from getting in there and lets the water flow in. The problem is that the bottom of the box has to be higher than wherever the pipe goes so the water can flow downhill.
Another major drainage problem is caused by an inadequate pitch or slope in your yard which prevents water runoff from being diverted away from the house. And the issue is often complicated by downspouts on the residence that do not pipe away the rain gutter water from the property.
Lawns can be as low as 2% and pitch water away properly, but usually a 3% angle is the minimum. When lawn areas are less than this, a French drain or catch basins should be used. You can also create a low area, known as a swale or shallow gully to direct water away. But it is always preferable to have runoff water flow naturally overland without resorting to catch basins or French drains because they often clog over a period of time.
Soggy areas in your yard that never seem to dry out could be caused by a number of issues. You may have underground springs or creeks that have fractured and are emerging in your lawn. The problem spot could also be caused by a large depression in your landscape where all the water is draining. Or it could be due to an improper pitch or slope in the ground.
One solution to bog conditions in your yard is to install a rain garden in that location. It’s a great way to keep water on the property instead of just sending everything straight to the curb and into creeks. An ideal rain garden is an area that has been excavated out and what’s put back in that excavation is either an engineered soil or a gravel soil mix of some sort that will allow the water to be slowly absorbed into the soil surrounding it. These can be visually striking green areas when you fill them with water for a garden. If your soggy area is in full sun, you might consider filling it with colorful perennials which could help solve the problem and add graceful landscape accents to your yard.
Often drainage problems can develop at new homes where the soil has been severely impacted by builders or when you install something new in your yard such as a big driveway or swimming pool.
Occasionally companies that install pools will excavate that area and simply distribute that earth around the pool location. If it is hardpan clay soil, it retains moisture for a very long time and may take a year or more to dry out. If you cover that with a lot of fill soil and plant grass seed on top of it, your lawn might never dry out. If that is the case, you need to come in and rototill the entire property, mix in good top soil, put in a French drain, get the proper slope and then replant the sod.
A lot of new homes often develop drainage problems because builders don’t install downspouts so rain water tends to pool in one area and is not diverted away from the house. At the same time, downspouts which divert water towards the house instead of away from it are also to blame. You have to get it away from the house so you don’t end up with water in the basement or close to the foundation. Channeling the water to your property line and dumping it into your neighbor’s yard is likewise not the solution. The ideal approach is to figure out how to recirculate it into areas of your yard where it would do the most good.
Some drainage problems can result in erosion areas in your yard where excessive downspout water emerges from your gutters or clogging due to lack of maintenance. Ensure your roofer knows what he or she is doing and installs your gutters correctly when they are inspecting your roof or fixing it. A good roofer will know all about water drainage and be able to guide you in making the correct decisions not just for your roof but for your entire house.