Landscaping to Improve Your Home’s Drainage
Poor drainage and uncontrolled water runoff are two factors that could cause water to collect near your home. Water pooling around your foundation can lead to various issues, including pest infestations, wood rot, mold growth, and extensive damage to your home, and additional structures like walkways, driveways, porches, and patios. All these can significantly lower the value of your property.
Fortunately, there are a few relatively simple, inexpensive ways to drive water runoff away from your home and prevent the damage that may result from excessive soil moisture.
Achieve Positive Drainage
Positive drainage involves grading the landscape so that the runoff flows away from your home’s foundation. In areas where a suitable slope cannot be created in order to have positive drainage, good landscape drainage can still be achieved through grassed drainage routes, which can collect the runoff effectively. For the best results, make sure that the trees, shrubs, and structures that you have on your property don’t obstruct the drainage routes. As sidewalks, driveways, porch slabs, and patio slabs play a critical role in achieving positive landscape drainage, they should be constructed with a slope to direct the rainwater away from your home.
Inspect Your Gutters and Downspouts
If poor drainage is due to clogged gutters or downspouts that have been directed incorrectly, toward your foundation and not away from it, it’s quite easy to fix the problem. To begin with, it’s advisable to check and clean your gutters at least twice a year in order to prevent the buildup of dirt, dust, leaves, and twigs that could clog up your gutters and force the rainwater to spill over their edges.
To prevent the rainwater from accumulating around your foundation, you should direct your downspouts toward the drainage routes, while making sure they lead far enough away from your foundation and any paved surfaces around your home. If you observe rainwater pooling near your home after it rains, you may want to consider extending the downspouts that are too short.
Don’t Plant Shrubs and Trees too Close to Your Home
Although planting shrubs and trees can help you reduce water runoff on your property, placing them too close to your home will actually prevent the rainwater from being drained away properly from your foundation. That’s because trees and shrubs tend to retain water. Excessive moisture that accumulates around your foundation combined with tree limbs and the aggressive root systems of some trees and shrubs could lead to a whole host of problems, eventually damaging your home’s foundation, siding, plumbing, roof, and adjacent structures like walkways, driveways, porches, and patios. As well, storing soil, gravel, mulch or other materials that absorb water next to your home could lead to problems with your basement and foundation.
Consider Installing an Underground Drainage Pipe and Dry Well
Adding an underground drainage pipe and stormwater drainage well also referred to as a dry well, is one of the best ways to get rid of water runoff from a lower spot. For this to work, the underground drainage pipe needs to be installed in a gradually sloping trench that connects the low spot (the source) to the dry well (the outlet). A plastic catch basin or other containment options can be used instead of the dry well to collect the water runoff from the drainage pipe. If you have a sump pump, you could also discharge your sump pump water into the drainage pipe or directly into the dry well. Additionally, you could replace the drainage pipe with a perforated pipe and install a French drain. Or, you could opt for a weeping tile system to protect your foundation from water damage. If you choose a French drain or a weeping tile system, the dry well or the containment basin isn’t necessary.
Regardless of the landscape drainage method that you choose, it’s critically important to inspect your property on a regular basis. Excessive rainfall, flooding, and even drought conditions could alter your landscape and affect the ability of your drainage system to manage the water runoff efficiently. By recognizing the early signs of poor landscape drainage, you can protect your home from water damage.
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