Landscape Grading & Drainage


Landscape grading
is a very important part of any landscape design. Those who have had landscape drainage problems will surely agree!

There are two main sources of water which must be considered. The first is surface water, which comes directly from rain, ending up on the land.

The second actually is from rain also, but in this case it hits the roof of the house, running into the gutters.

These gutters, which can collect a large amount of rain water, connect to leader pipes usually attached to house corners. And where does this water end up? On your property also.

Landscape Drainage Problems

Water can pool on your property. Not only is this annoying, but it can be bad for plants. It can also be a breeding place for mosquitoes.

Related Pages of Interest:

Lawn Drainage

Perforated Pipe

Trench Drains

Driveway Drainage

Rain Gardens

Slope Plantings and Drainage

Drainage Pits
Water can also seep towards your house, causing water to seep into the basement, or even the house itself.

All of this water must be channeled properly.

There are various methods of doing so.

The best method depends on your particular setting and land contouring.

If you would like to learn more about driveway drains and the use of swales for this type of paved area, you can visit my page where I have written very detailed information on Driveway Drainage.



Lawn Drainage

The easiest way to deal with lawn drainage problems is to slope all land, patios, walkways, etc. away from your house. The minimum slope that I work with is two percent, or 1/4 inch per foot. As an example, the grade at a spot four feet away from your house should be one inch lower than the grade at the house. This will assure that water will be directed away from the building. This requires re-grading if your land slopes towards your house.

Note:

I have written an interesting page on landscaping steep slopes. There are some excellent tips to help you with correct percentage of slopes, knowing what is acceptable landscape grading, and how to visualize them!

You can also create a swale, which is actually a subtle drainage ditch.

Imagine a stream. The land at the stream edges are higher than the stream itself. Yet the stream itself is sloped and flows downward along its length. This is often extremely subtle and not obvious. A swale is similar, except it is created in the lawn.

This shows a drainage swale although it can also be more subtle.

This shows landscape grading with a swale and pipe.

This type of lawn drainage can lead the surface water to a lower elevation on your property, such as woods. It is also possible that landscape grading can be done so that the water from the drainage swale eventually just dissipates.

It can also lead to a pipe as shown in the above image.



Landscape Drains

The swale can also bring the water to a landscape drain. This is a contained device with a grate cover. The water enters these types of landscape drains, which are set at lower elevations. A solid pipe is connected to the container, so that when the water enters this area drain, it flows into the pipe. The pipe should be pitched at two percent.

The pipe should also be sized correctly to carry the amount of calculated water. The pipe then leads the water away to a desirable area. This may be a wooded area, a drainage pit, or even a rain garden. You can learn more about this by visiting my page on rain garden design.


Landscape Drainage With Pipes

Sometimes water must drain to an area where there is planting beds and no lawn. In this case, you can install a perforated pipe, which is simply a solid pipe with holes on the top where water enters. This then connects to a solid pipe which leads the water away from the area. Another type of drainage pipe would be trench drains.

Landscape grading can be carried out in various ways, but it is something that should be considered, if possible, in conjunction with your landscape design. In this way, your landscape can be created for both aesthetics and function, and drainage problems will be eliminated. If drainage problems arise later, successful landscape grading and drainage can still be accomplished, but with a bit more difficulty.




Questions About Landscape Grading and Drainage?

Do you have a question about landscape grading or drainage problems that you need some help with? Here is the place to ask! The more information you can give, the better I can answer. And photos are a great help too!

I decided to create this section due to the many questions people have regarding grading and drainage issues.

You may ask a question yourself, comment on or answer questions of others. All helpful comments will be greatly appreciated! Also take a look at the other Q&A on this topic (below).

Questions and Answers of Other Visitors

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Retaining Wall and House Grading Conundrum 
Hello, I am in the process of trying to create a useable backyard out of a hill. The back yard slopes down directly towards the back of the house. My …

Water in the Basement - Grading or Water Proofing 
My house was built in 1916 and has cinder blocks. Used to have grasses in the front yard but had that taken out 2 years ago and planted some perennials. …

Dry Wells, Retaining Wall Drainage and French Drains 
Here are questions about dry wells, retaining wall drainage and french drains. Good morning. My yard has a hill that comes towards the back of the …

Help! Neighbor changed grade to flood my backyard! 
Here's a question about flooding in a yard caused by a neighbor's new landscaping. Hi Susan, I am hoping you can give me some advice as I am desperate …

Planting Boxwoods over French Drain 
I am a swimming pool contractor. We recently installed a french drain next to a swimming pool. The purpose of the drain was to catch water that drains …

front yard runoff and storm water control 
Hello, I have a question about storm water control. Our house is on top of a fairly steep hill with woods on three sides and a large terraced plant bed …

Drainage Issues From Neighbor 
Since we moved into our property 8 years ago our neighbours have leveled and paved their entire garden and path which leads down the side of both our properties. …

Retaining Wall Drainage 
Retaining wall drainage is something that should be well thought out and designed. Improper water management is a leading cause of retaining wall failures. …

Concrete Driveway Drainage - Water Drains Into Garage 
I have a concrete driveway drainage problem. On one side of my garage the concrete goes back about 15 feet on the side of the garage. The water from my …

Lawn regrading or other grading option 
I've been living in my house for 10 years. Never had water in my basement. Last March after a heavy rain, had water on my basement. Ceiling and walls …

Street run off 
I have a corner lot that seems to be the low spot at the intersection of 2 roads. I am dealing with water that is coming from two directions and when they …

new house with backyard drainage problems  
Hi, We bought a house in October 2013 we are still under builders warranty so when we saw the issue in our backyard we immediately reported it! They …

Drainage problems 
Hi, I recently (about 2 yrs ) had my house renovated, increased the square footage & made it handicapped accessible for my son. the contractor allegedly …

Spa built 3 inches too high for standard rate for patio drainage. 
My outdoor spa was built 3 inches too high out of the ground to meet code restrictions for drainage. The deck for the spa will connect to the back patio …

NJ Law Regarding Changing Property Drainage Between Neighbors  
Is there some regulation in NJ stating that there should be spacing between new sidewalk slabs and property line on my neighbor's property so that water …

Wet Yard and Drainage Pits 
I have a wet area in my yard that takes a few weeks to a month to drain.It is a low spot that the rest of the yard slopes into.The total size of the yard …

Water Creating Flooding at Garage/Carport From Hill 
My back yard has a hill, and the water runs down to my carport making a muddy mess every time it rains. What can I do to fix the problem? I've put bricks …

Water on Side Entering Basement  
How can we have water in our northwest side of our basement in mid winter for the 1st time in 50 yrs. Could it have anything to do with the Stone Patio …

Problem With Drainage in Yard at Pool 
I have a terrible problem with drainage in my yard. Last year we had a swimming pool installed. My property slopes down to a specific area and my house …

correct grading from street to fence line 
I live in a 107 yr old house, so decided to build a wooden fence in my backyard for privacy (vs. metal or plastic). It is 6 feet tall and has two gates--one …

drainage of rain water  
This is a question about roof drainage water and how to correctly lead water away from the house. I have a 40 foot long overhang of 2 feet with rain …

Drainage Issue between house and detached garage 
Hello, we moved into a 25 year old home in last fall and in the Spring experienced some horrible flooding between our house and the garage. Every time …

Land Grading and Drainage Solutions for New swimming Pool 
I am planning on putting in an in ground swimming pool. I would like to solve all my drainage problems at the same time, and prevent future problems due …

Backyard Drainage  
We just had an inground pool removed and now our yard is filled with a mixture of sand and dirt. Water just sits on top of the yard in various places and …

Click here to write your own.

Basement water at house pools 
Here is a question about house water that pools at a corner and drainage problems. My home is older, 1937, and in one corner of the house water pools …

what type of soil or fill should be used to help lawn drainage 
Hi Nancy, I received your questions regarding your drainage problems. My backyard is much lower than both neighbours by almost two feet. The back …

Small yard roof drainage question 
I live in a large city and have a small fenced yard on the corner of two streets. I am in the process of grading my yard away from the house (years of …

Residential property re-grading due to drainage problems 
I have an older property with very poor lot grading. My home sits lower than both my neighbours homes. My property slopes into my house at the majority …

Front yard drainage challenge 
Hello, Susan, and thanks! Our front yard runs 80' west to east, 20' wide, with maybe a 8% grade going down hill. We have a beautiful two foot maple …

Drainage for slab on grade construction 
This question is regarding the proper way to create drainage for a slab on grade construction. We live in a condo, which is a slab on grade and wood …

Patio regrading 
Our brick patio is rippled and causing significant drainage problems. There are two large trees growing out of the center of the patio. The patio should …

Driveway Drainage and Trench Drains 
Hello. I am seeking your expertise for a driveway drainage situation. Currently, the driveway grade is pitched slightly toward the house, leading to …

Drainage And A Patio Seatwall 
About four years ago I poured a concrete patio that is 12'x30' and slopes away from the house about 2 and a half inches. I ran tile down the edge of …

Driveway Area Flooding 
I have an L-shaped rancher with an asphalt driveway. There is an area (4'x15') between the house and the driveway leading up to our front door. My …

House Settling
New Home Landscaping
 
This article is from a company that deals with house settling and new home landscaping. Here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada we do a lot of landscaping …

Grading and Drainage Problems | House Foundation and On a Hill 
Here's a question regarding grading and drainage problems at the house foundation. Finding your site may be a "godsend" for us. We are replacing sections …

Patio Drainage- Redirecting Water Flow 
This is a question regarding patio drainage. I recently purchased a town home and the courtyard patio is angled towards the house instead of the street. …

Storm Water Drainage Challenge 
For more detailed information in this topic, visit my page on Landscape Grading . I will try to describe our problem as best I can but I'll attach …

Drainage Systems and Stone Walls 
Here's a question about drainage systems and stone walls . Was looking at your website. I'm from Victoria and need some advice. I'm building a …

Landscape Drainage | Swales and Drainage Pipes 
A question about landscape drainage and some solutions by way of swales and drainage pipe. I'm attaching a photo of my son's house. It's a 100+ year-old …

Drainage Swale | Lawn Drainage | Rear Yard Pipe 
We recently built a new home in upstate NY and I have some questions regarding a swale that was covered in the rear of the property during the build. …

Foundation Drainage | Landscape Drainage 
Hello - my kids are having a terrible time with foundation drainage and water runoff from neighboring properties that are a good 30' up-slope from …

Landscape Drainage | Lawn and Swale Grading 
Here's a question about landscape drainage and also lawn and swale grading. Hi Susan, I am very pleased to have found your landscape design and …

swales 
I have a homework assignment and I could use some help. Here it goes: A tennis court and walkway going to it is sited on a hill. Existing contours go …

Drainage Systems For Yards - How To Solve With a Swale 
I need information on drainage systems for yards and how to solve with a swale. I have a real challenge for you and I hope you can help me. I live on …

Grading Away From House and Basement Water Problems 
Grading Away From House and Basement Water Problems We live in a ranch house in Delaware. Original house was on a cement slab. We added an addition …

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