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When Your Lawn Runneth Over

Having a beautiful lawn (or yard, if you’re in the South) is the goal for many homeowners, as it adds to the aesthetic beauty of the property and in many cases can even serve to increase the home’s overall value.  Unfortunately, improper drainage can result in a flood damaged yard that is not only unpleasant to look at, but may prove detrimental to the health of the lawn itself.

Without proper drainage systems in place, all it takes is one good rain shower to submerge your lawn in water, especially if your home is located at the base of a slope. Standing water in your yard can kill grass and plants, and it poses a very real threat to your home as well.  The degree to which a yard is flood prone is something that should be examined before purchasing any property.

There are a number of different drainage solutions available to you, and the one you choose depends on the severity of your flooding problem. French Drains are one solution, which are basically trenches dug into the soil that transport the accumulated water to other locations in the yard. The best spot for these drains is a level lower than that of the home, and it should have some depth to it.  This solution is best for yards that have one pinpointed area that is a problem, or a couple of spots at the most.

Dry wells are another fix, basically a well that stores excess water during times of flooding, preventing it from being able to flow into other areas. Pipes and tubes may be affixed to the well and channel water out into more appropropriate drainage areas.  Like French Drains, dry wells must be situated at a much lower level than the house itself.

Sump pumps are considered to be the most effective means of dealing with flooded yards, but they are also the most expensive to install. These pumps suck out the water and deposit it in an area some distance away.  The size of the pump depends of course on the depth of the flooding you expect.

Curtain Drains move water from low lying areas and take it out and away through a perforated drain pipe surrounded by stones and covered over with a filter cloth. The stones allow access to the drain in the event repairs are needed.

Elevation is quite literally the lifting of the yard to a higher level through the use of organic mulch and topsoil. Doing so prevents the pooling of water. This is a major landscaping job, however, and should be undertaken by a professional with experience in such matters.

Remember that before any type of drainage or sump pits are dug, and before any elevation procedures initiated, you should call your local utilities outfits and make sure that it is safe to dig in that area. ,

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