Yard Drainage

This is a question regarding yard drainage.


I am having a series of four seepage drains installed at strategic points along two walls of my basement foundation. They are connected by drainage piping and then lead to a spill point outside of the yards perimeter. These seepage wells are 36 inches in diameter and approximately 4 feet deep. My questions are these:
1. Is it better to fill these wells with River Rock or #57 crush n run?
2. Should the piping be capped at each end that penetrates the seepage pit walls or just the high point end?
3. Because the bottom of these "drums" are hollow (and sit directly in the sand layer, should I be concerned with somehow sealing the pipe penetration points to minimize any erosion?
I experience terrible flooding in my basement during heavy periods of rain and wish to ensure that the system that I'm installing will quickly evacuate the water during heavy and sustained periods of rain using a combination of seepage wells and proper grading. The closest seepage well to the basement foundation is 21 feet.
Thank You

ANSWER

Please forgive me, but I don't quite understand the purpose of the yard drainage system you are installing. Let me ramble on a bit.

I have never heard of seepage pits being installed along a basement foundation. By the way, I am not sure from your description, how close they actually are. You stated that they were along the basement foundation, yet you also said they were 21 feet away. Could you clarify this?

Seepage pits are typically placed far away from any structure. Their purpose is to capture water from drain pipes. The pipes lead water to the drainage pit, which is filled with stone. Once the water enters, it can then percolate out through the stone back into the ground. The idea of a drainage pit being near the house defeats the purpose because you certainly do not want water there. As mentioned, I may have their locations wrong.

A combination of grading away from the house at 1/4" per foot along with perforated pipe placed along the foundation would be decent option. The perforated pipe would then lead to solid pvc pipe under ground and then end up in the drainage pit if there is nowhere else to lead it to. By the way, leading water off your property onto to another property is illegal in many places.

This solution allows for water to either slope away or to be captured in the perforated pipes. These pipes are also sloped at around 1/4" per foot, or slightly less. More is fine.

Another solution for you is to forget any solutions that have to do with grading and drainage. Install a sump pump in your basement. Water is allowed to enter your basement, directed to the sump pump, and then led outside.

I'd welcome any further questions, discussion or clarification regarding your yard drainage.
Susan

RESPONSE

This goes along with the question that was previously posted regarding yard drainage. You are correct, placing seepage wells too close to the foundation would allow seepage back into the foundation. These wells have been placed a minimum of 20 feet from any foundation wall. Because my yard is enclosed within a cinder block wall, grading the yard properly for the proper run off is a challenge.

A combination of a series of seepage wells and the proper grading should sweep the water from the foundation even in the most severe rain storms. I have an enormous roof area, much rain water during storms.

I do not intend to connect any downspouts underground to connect with the seepage wells because I'd rather not endure the maintenance issues down the road. Rather, the downspouts will simply evacuate themselves to splash blocks at grade level and the water should find its way to the seepage wells away from the foundation walls. At least that is the expectation.

I hope I have clarified your understanding and wait for any answers/comments to my original questions that you may contribute.

ANSWER

1. I would think #57 crush n run would be fine. River rock is more decorative.

2. I would like you to explain how the piping system connects...what connects to what. As mentioned previously, typically you have one pipe that leads into a seepage pit. I understand you have numerous pits though. Do these pipes connect continuously from pit to pit? Does each one have its own pipe leading into it? Is there a pipe leading out of each one separately. Please explain in detail, if you can, so that I can better understand the system.

3. I can better answer this after you have explained the piping layout.

Susan

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Plantings and Drainage at Side of House

by stephanie
(central valley california)

On the side of my house is a 3-4 foot wide walkway that goes along the side the house and is against my neighbor's fence. Should I just cement and rain gutter? or do you have a prettier suggestion? HELP!!!!

ANSWER
Hi Stephanie,
You probably want some type of access along this area even if it is not the main one. I would create a pathway of 12" wide stepping stones along the center of the area. On each side I would add plants. That would leave you with a 12" to 18" bed along the house and also along your neighbor's fence.

I will assume it's shady (although it might not be). You can keep it very simple and low maintenance by adding groundcover such as Pachysandra, Ivy or Vinca. If you want to spice it up a bit, add some Hosta. You might consider some other shade loving perennials also.

If you are worried about drainage, make sure that the entire strip grades towards the front or back of your house, if possible. If there are other types of grading issues let me know. I ask because you mentioned drainage. Remember that the plant roots will absorb a lot of the water.

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Washed Out Driveway | Drainage Problems

This question is about a washed out driveway with drainage problems and how to correct the situation.

Our driveway is on a slope with crushrun/gravel overlay.

We had very heavy rains for several days and the run off made a foot deep gully along the side. What is the best way to fill this in? My husband wants to pour concrete in it.

ANSWER

It would be more attractive if you could add soil and then plant some groundcover in this area...creating a planting bed. Once the groundcover gets established, any run off should be minmized as the plant material roots will help to absorb water. What groundcover you choose would depend on whether the area is sunny, shady, or a combination of both.

Another idea would be to lay a perforated pipe along the driveway and cover it with decorative stone. The water should enter the pipe through the holes on the top of the pipe. Wrap the pipe in filter fabric to prevent any dirt from entering. For this to work, there must be an appropriate place for the pipe to drain to.

Susan

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Erosion Control Methods - Sloped Yard Washing Away

by Kaye
(Georgia)

Here's a question about erosion control methods due to a sloped yard and lawn eroding..

I'll have to located some photos. Looking from the road to the house. On the left end of the house to the road, the yard is level. Extending from the left corner of the house to the driveway, due to a water pipe, it begins a downward slope. The other side of the driveway is level. The problem is that when the contractor seeded the yard, the seed washed away. We have one tree in the front yard. I was hoping to get some ideas of something to do instead "just" re-seeding and having the seeds wash away again. I'll see if I can post a photo shortly. Thank you for your input.
Kaye

ANSWER
Typically seed should be held in place by some method. The easiest one for homeowners is to lay straw over the seed, which keeps the soil and the seed from washing away. It's also important to use a decent quality lawn seed. Choose for your sun conditions. A good mix of various kinds is typically successful.

Another option is to plant the area with ground cover type plants. This would depend on how large the area is and if it is sunny, shady or a little of both. One groundcover that works well is Ajuga as it spreads so that you get coverage rather quickly. (nothing is instant!)

If the area is part or full shade, Ivy, Pachysandra or Myrtle will work nicely. The Pachy and Myrtle flower in the spring.

If the hill is extremely steep, you might consider leveling it out a bit with some rocks at the bottom to form a retaining wall. However, this would be the most expensive option.

If you opt for plants, you can incorporate various types to be mixed in with the groundcover. Low and medium tall perennials can be fun as they provide different types of foliage and lots of color throughout the season. Some to consider are Lady's Mantle, Lambs Ear, Sedums (both tall and low), Catmint and Thyme. Most of these are drought tolerant also, with the exception of Lady's Mantle. See my page on Perennial Flowers with lots of information and pictures.

Also take a look at Landscaping Steep Slopes.

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Dry Well | Seepage Pit | Drainage Pit

by Domingo

I have a question regarding installing a dry well
(seepage pit or drainage pit).

We are building planter boxes for the school but have halted the project due to a drainage problem. The rain run-off from gutters leads up to form a puddle on paved cement which as you know eventually becomes very slippery from moss and algae growing on the surface. The water eventually seeps into the cracks and drains in about 2-3 days later. Where the puddle forms is about 12 inches lower than the lawn that lies on the other side of the fence. Between the fence and the lawn are some established trees and palms that are about 50-60 years old.

Do you have a suggestion or solution how we can fix this drainage problem. I'm thinking of digging a 4' x 4' x 6' seepage pit, back filling with gravel and placing a metal grate. Would you agree?

Thanks Very Much!

REPLY FROM SUSAN
Thanks for contacting me.
From your description, I believe I understand what is happening. But I am unclear as to the location of the dry well you are considering. Are you thinking of cutting into the depressed area of the concrete and
locating it there?

FROM DOMINGO
Thank you very much for your very quick response. The area I am planning to dig through the concrete area is where the water pools up and eventually recedes into the cracks. Do you think a drainage pit is advisable.?

Thanks again,
Domingo

REPLY FROM SUSAN
In theory, your idea is a good one. Seepage pits are not that uncommon. However, I believe this would usually be done prior to the surrounding concrete being poured and that the dry well would actually be a built structure with sides.

My thoughts are that if you only have gravel or stone beneath a grate, the water could seep over to the surrounding concrete foundation and make it even less stable than it is. Perhaps it's possible to do this, but when you cut out the concrete, cut out a larger area that would surround the drainage pit. This area could be planted with a hardy, low maintenance ground cover. In this way, any water seeping down into the hole would percolate out to earth rather than the surrounding concrete base.

If you could send some pictures, perhaps I could advise you better.

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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
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