Throughout the year, your yard will receive lots of water from the rain. You have to find ways to get rid of this water. Here are five tips to improve landscape drainage to get you ready for 2019:

1. Keep the landscape drainage routes running freely

Avoid obstructing the run-off drainage paths with raised gardens, planters or berms. Your yard should have a gentle slope that drains the water to a given route. If these routes are blocked, you will have a flooded lawn.

Ground runoff accounts for much of the surface drainage even where you have installed other types of in-ground drainage systems. It is essential to inspect the natural ridges in your lawn where water flows and remove any object or heavy vegetation that could impede the flow of the water. These routes are often created during the landscape design before planting the grass.

2. Install artificial drainage systems if natural ones are not sufficient

If you have ill-drained soils such as clay or poor landscape design, you will still have a problem with waterlogging even after the runoff drains away from the yard. You can improve the soil drainage by installing drainage systems in your yard. Here are the common drainage systems you might consider.

  • Simple ditches

Dig ditches several meters apart which are around 90cm deep. These must slow towards the lower end of your lawn. To achieve uniformity and a gradual slope, consider hiring a trenching machine for the work. There are small pedestrian machines for hire.

  • French ditches

If you rather not have open ditches, French ditches are an alternative. These ditches are constructed by filling a ditch with some coarse gravel and then topping it up with permeable membranes or turf that is upturned to prevent the entry of the soil into the ditch.

  • Piped Drainage

If the drainage problem in your yard is severe, you may use piped drainage that involves laying perforated plastic pipes on trenches that have been made firm by a 5cm bed of coarse gravel. The pipe is then covered with at least 10 cm of fine gravel. You need the assistance of a professional landscape planner to install piped drainage.

3. Consider an inlet basin or a channel drain

An inlet basin or a detention basin is a place where water is collected rapidly and then released slowly to reduce the impact it has on the surrounding area. A detention basin can be installed just below the surface of your landscape. You can have several installed across the yard to catch large amounts of water that may come from storms.

Basins are essential to water collection points if your property sits at the top of the landscape. A large amount of water collected by your downspouts may find its way onto the ground if a drainage pipe is blocked. This water may damage the yard if left to flow as runoff down the landscape. The inlet basins should be placed on the upper part of the landscape to collect as much water as possible before it heads downhill.

4. Harvest the water where possible

You may harvest the ground runoff water by installing a storage well or water barrel below the grade. The collected runoff can then be used to water your lawn. This is a feasible option where you do not have proper systems to drain away the water at the lower end of your garden or are looking to conserve water for the dry season.

When building a water harvesting system, you should take steps to ensure that soil and other debris do not get into the well. Accumulation of silt will reduce the amount of water that the storage can hold. Perforated piping systems work best for the below-the-grade water collection system. However, you can still use open ditches but layer them with gravel or create a filtration system at the mouth of your basin.

As for the barrel, you can construct a pond-like barrel if you have enough space or purchase the plastic underground barrel to collect water. You may need the assistance of a landscape planner to plan the water collection. If you do not want to pump the water from under the ground, you may consider creating a dry well. This is a gravel-filled underground reservoir where the water is collected and slowly absorbed into the soil without causing any pooling.

5. Drainage systems should go beyond your planting beds

Ensure that you corrugated drains, PVC drainage systems, and downspouts extend beyond the planting beds on your landscape. Most homeowners have planting beds close to the house. If the water collection systems end at the edge of these beds, water that flows away carries the loose topsoil with it. This not only causes soil erosion and damage to the planting beds but also causes silting of any other drainage systems that may have been installed in the yard.

If you have water collection beds or natural drainage systems leaving your home, consider connecting your home drainage systems to these major drainage systems. If the drainage is at the lower part of the landscape, you can have a pipe or a corrugated open drain that leads the water away from your yard. Be on the lookout for landscaping ideas that enable easy drainage of water especially if your yard is flat. Again, it is important to consider drainage when looking at various landscaping ideas.

When creating drainage systems, find the easiest path of getting the water away from the landscape and your home. The natural paths such as gentle slopes and drainage routes should be the priority as they are easy to maintain. The other systems may come in to improve the drainage capabilities of these drainage systems.

If you live in the Santa Clara, Monterey, San Benito or Santa Cruz County area, and you’d like to learn about K & D Landscaping’s landscaping services, please call 831-728-4018 or visit our Contact Page.