what type of soil or fill should be used to help lawn drainage

by Nancy
(Brampton,On Canada)

Hi Nancy,

I received your questions regarding your drainage problems.

My backyard is much lower than both neighbours by almost two feet. The back of the property backs onto what is suppose to be a ditch but is shallow. It is so wet after I dig a 1ft hole it fills with water.

I would like to raise the whole thing and slope it but am uncertain what type of soil or sand and perhaps some drainage pipe.Any tips would be great.

Grading is rather mathematical and in order to do it correctly, specific elevations are usually needed. Sometimes I can look at a grading issue and it is not that complicated, but this is not usually the case.

Here are some pages that might be helpful.
Landscape Grading

Lawn Drainage

Perforated Pipes

Rain Garden Design

You say that your property is lower than your neighbors. In order to grade away from your house, the point outside your foundation would be the highest point and then it would grade down to lower points. (Raising the grade at the foundation presents its own problems and unless you have a very high foundation, this is usually not recommended.)

So even if you could grade correctly to the ditch at the back of your property, what is happening with the water coming from your neighbors if they are two feet higher?

I would have to have elevations and see pictures to advise correctly and even then you may need a grading plan. Swales and drainage pipes might be a solution where the water from your neighbors could be collected in pipes and led to the ditch. I am just not sure at this point.

As far as type of soil goes, it depends how the grading is! In certain areas, you may want the water to percolate down into the soil. For this, you would use a sandy soil. If the object is to have the water flow over the land to a designated area, then a clay soil would be advisable. With clay soil, it is more difficult for the water to permeate down. It often collects on top with poor drainage.

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