HomeownerHelpful Info: Home Maintenance

Drainage Systems

Drainage Systems Educational Content

Standing water. If you have large puddles on your lawn more than 30 minutes after a storm, you probably have a drainage issue. Standing water is a problem because it gives mosquitoes a perfect breeding ground. Standing water can also suffocate the grass.

Poor lawn health. Does your grass seems unhealthy even though it’s getting regular water and sun? Do you have dead patches of grass without an obvious cause? Poor drainage is a likely culprit.

Water flowing into the house. Poor yard drainage can cause water to seep into your house. Keep an eye out for water stains in the basement and foundation cracks.

Most drainage problems result from improper grading. Your yard should slope gently downward from the house and toward the street. Grading can also be affected over time by landscaping. As trees and bushes mature, their roots raise the soil and create natural dams. Landscaping projects can also alter the grade of the property.

French drains. French drains are buried drainage systems that remove water from waterlogged ground. They’re made of perforated pipe wrapped in landscaping fabric. The pipe is buried in a trench filled with gravel. Water seeps through the earth, gravel, and fabric and enters the pipe. The landscaping fabric filters the water and keeps the pipe from clogging. The water in the pipe drains into a discharge point away from the house.

Surface drain systems. Surface drain systems are made up of several drains installed at the lowest points of the yard. Each drain includes a grill that covers a catch basin with a five- to ten-gallon capacity. Sloped drainpipes connect to each catch basin. The catch basins lead to a collection point with an automatic sump pump or a discharge point near the curb.

Dry wells. A dry well works a lot like a French drain. Instead of draining into a municipal storm drain, however, water goes into a buried storage tank. This storage tank gradually releases the water back into the groundwater table. Dry wells are a cost-effective, eco-friendly alternative to traditional drainage systems.

Swales and berms. A swale is a shallow ditch with sloping sides. Berms are raised embankments of earth. Both swales and berms can move water away from your house. They need to be designed by a drainage pro to ensure they do this effectively.