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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    21

    Default multipart water management question

    my yard is clay with many drainage issues. These drainage issues contribut to water issues in the house. I participated in a program through the state and they put in a drainage swale (ditch) that runs along the far back of my yard, up the side past the house and drains to the street, works nicekly to have large amounts of water flow out of my back yard. its a muddy mess for a few days after a rain but thats beside the point.
    1.An idea i have to help with some of my interior water issues is to raise the soil level in areas where i can. this will be on one section in the back of my house that connects to the side the swale is on. I was then considering also adding more dirt to the sloped side of the swale that is against that part of the house. This will create a steeper slope against the house so i will most likely attempt to put plantings there seeing as its already a pain to mow. of course i know grass sucks up water better than a bed so then i'm contemplating the possible use of plastic, but unsure if i should put dirt on top of the plastic or just the plastic on top of the dirt and figure out what to put on the plastic some other time. any thoughts? Also would the difference in texture between the clay soil under nice topsoil cause an issue?
    2. i keep box turtles, because of my water issues their pen has some spots that are wetter than id like. I was going to rectify that this spring but its going to be a major, slightly expensive undertaking that isnt going to happen this year. adding soil to the one section in the back of my house has the potential to raise the soil level on the outside of the pen (i can just have the slope en not as gentle to avoid this but...)if I rigged up some sort of pipes that ran around the outside of the pen and maybe some branches out from that to pull water away might that work to keep water out of the pen?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,744

    Default Re: multipart water management question

    The swale should be below the floor height of you house and the ground should slope continuously downhill from the foundation of your house to the swale. If you are getting water in the house, then do you have a basement and is that where the water is getting in?

    If you have a basement, the basement walls need to be waterproofed on the outside. That means digging a trench all the way around your house down to the basement foundation level and applying a waterproof membrane to the basement walls.

    Next, you may need gutters and an underground downspout, that is a buried downspout that takes the water well away form the foundation before it sees daylight.

    For the sloped ground next to the house, sod covered clay will help duct the water away from the house quicker, but if you want to do foundation plantings, that can be done too. Here is what I would do, leave the clay soil sloped away from the house as is and just remove the sod, then use cement or concrete wall "stones" to form a retaining wall up to the desired height of you planting bed. Put landscape fabric along the inside edges of the retaining wall and then fill with topsoil. Then do your plantings and put down the mulch.

    The topsoil will be level so it will be less likely to wash away. The clay will direct water away from the house, The retaining wall and landscape fabric will hold the topsoil and mulch in place as the water that penetrates the top soil is directed away.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: multipart water management question

    the swale is not installed to keep water from my basement (split level house) it was installed to drain what is essentially a pond from my back yard (never buy a house during a drought). the soil does slope away from the house where the swale runs past it to deliver the water to the street. I'm pretty sure that 60 years ago when my house was built they pretty much just plopped it down on a marsh. I know in order to do it "right" i have to pull the dirt away and water seal the walls but i also know its not something i should do myself and sure as hell know its not something i can afford to pay someone to do. i don't necessarily WANT to do foundation plantings 1. i think it would look absurd to have the soil in the back of the house be two feet higher than the soil on the side of the house 2. i know one of these days im going to kill myself or at the least amputate a limb trying to mow the blasted thing. would a retaining wall not cause the water to sort of stay next to the house when it rained? buried down spouts are a great idea...problem is my yard has just barely enough slope to it for the swale to work so buried drain pipes would probably just cause me to create quicksand at some spot in my yard as the water wouldnt be able to go anywhere underground. ive thought about asking the county if i could tie underground drainage in the sewer system, but i doubt they would let me. of course there is always the "what they dont know wont hurt them" approach..., so i rely on the old ugly black 6 foot long tubes

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,744

    Default Re: multipart water management question

    When you said that the swale was at the back of the yard, I have no idea how big the yard is, but a properly graded yard should have the swale about 12-20 feet from the rear of the house, no more.

    As for the retaining wall, the idea was to have the clay soil underneath slop, but the top soil level. The rain would penetrate through the top soil easily and then hit the clay cap and drain away from the house.

    Nothing is going to stop water from entering your basement except for water proofing. You could try a water blocking treatment on the interior surfaces of the basement walls, but I'd be afraid that if the basement walls are cement or cinder block, they might deteriorate from the constant moisture. Sorry to deliver the bad news but you could also figure out how to handle the water in the basement. If you have a floor drain in the basement, and it is not living space, then the water down there is not a problem. You could look into other water handling alternatives as well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: multipart water management question

    nah, you're not a bearer of bad news, I know its eating away at my foundation but there isnt anything i can do about it. i've had 3 different companies come out, got three different ideas on how they could fix it and 3 prices i wont soon be able to afford. I guess with the retaining wall i sort of picture the wall acting like a dam. but i like the thought and am certainly going to look into it. Thanks for the help!:-)

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