new house with backyard drainage problems

by christabelle poku
(United States)

Drainage swale in yard

Drainage swale in yard


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 sent their landscaping company out and basically they dug a swale in the middle of my yard going through my neighbor's yard as well! While this has solved the issue of standing water after rain it has created another problem we now have an unleveled yard and my neighbour has it worse!

If my neighbour encloses her yard and decides to flatten her yard, wouldn't I end up with the same problem of water standing in my yard for 5 days or more! Is there a way to run a drain into the swale and then level the ground since its in the middle of the yard? The builder won't do anything anymore according to him problem has been solved! I feel like he solved the problem temporarily and its going to be at my cost after the warranty expires!


Hi Chistabelle,
Actually, a swale is an acceptable method for solving a drainage problem. However, it should not be that noticeable. Here is a photo of a swale in my backyard. The hill slopes down towards the swale and the patio also slopes towards the swale. Then the swale runs across my property ending up in a drain. It is parallel to my patio. The only time it is prominent is when it is working! I see the water traveling in it towards the drain. A landscape swale should be subtle.

Regarding your neighbor flattening their yard, it depends how they do it. Legally, they are not allowed to create a situation where more water ends up on an adjacent property than was there before the re-grading.

Also see my page on swales.

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