Now that we finally have some temperatures over 32 degrees here in Bristol County, I am sure there are going to be many homeowners in need of drainage solutions after the epic snowfall here in Bristol County the past few months. We are all going to be seeing a lot of water pouring out of our downspouts and pooling around our foundations which on one hand is great for the mental factor, the snow melting, but not so great for basements. One of the biggest things you can do to help yourself is to get the water AWAY from the house. Please read below for some short and long term fixes for your basement flooding issues:
SHORT TERM FIXES:
1. The quickest and easiest fix you can do is add a connector to your downspout drain to get the water away from the house. If you have a natural slope near the house get a pipe long enough to take it out to that natural sloping area. It will naturally shed the water away rather than back towards the house. It may not be the prettiest thing in the world but as a short term fix it will help aid against your basement from flooding.
2. Get the snow away from the house. Clear a path or an area away from the foundation. Whether you have non pervious surface areas or turf right now the ground is frozen and water will just pool until it finds somewhere to go which will be your basement if you have any cracks. So, don’t give the water any opportunity to seep in.
3. Monitor your property as the snow melts to see if you have any pooling or ponding occurring near your home. You may have to shovel another path to alleviate the water pooling to flow away from the home.
4. If you have a door that is at ground level and while the ground outside is still frozen, you probably want to put some sand bags or something in front of the doorway to deter the water from traveling inside.
5. As the spring progresses, if any part of your yard goes underwater, try to dig a small swale, small trench, even if it’s just a few inches deep to an area where there is lower ground to try and drain the water. Especially, if the pooling water is on an established lawn or planting bed. The lawn or plants could perish if the water sits for an extended period of time.
LONG TERM FIXES:
1. Underground Downspout Drains- Each yard brings its own set of challenges and there are different solutions for different problems. A few solutions for troublesome downspout drains are either tying the drains into an underground storage tank, subterranean drainage pit or diverting the water through underground piping to a lower area outside the yard. A qualified contractor will be able to tell you which method is right for you or if you need a completely alternate plan. Also, make sure you specify to a contractor whether the area above the piping will be bearing a load. This will make a difference in the type of pipe that is used.
2. Berm’s are an alternate way to divert or deter water from entering into a specific area. Say your home is at the bottom of a slope. You may want to strategically build some berms on the outskirts of the home or behind your immediate backyard patio area or living space to stop the water as it comes down the slope and send it in an alternate direction away from the home. You will notice in the picture below an example of this. A strategically placed berm with plantings to divert water from coming down a slope and directly into the home.
3. A strategically placed swale, trench, can also aid in directing water where you want it to go versus the water controlling where it goes. Swale’s can be engineered in a way that they are so slight that with a lawn on top to the naked eye you won’t even see it. Plain natural looking swales and swales with stone are also options. However, they can be effective enough to move water where you want it to go.
4. Dry River Beds are an attractive solution to many drainage problems. The dry bed can be installed with either a french drain beneath it, it can act as a holding zone for underground downspout drains in heavy rains or a multitude of drainage fixes. The end product after all the underneath drain work is done is an attractive added element to the landscape. Any decorative, preferably river, stone can be added on the top to suit the homeowner’s style. The base of the bed can be a typical 3/4″ stone to save on cost. 5. Complete Yard Regrading- If you have a yard that looks like the picture at the top of the blog, in most circumstances, you will need to regrade your yard. You will most likely need to add some material to properly grade and pitch water appropriately off the yard. Again, each individual property poses its own issues. So, it’s best to get the opinion of a “qualified” professional. Any qualified professional will have technology such as a laser to shoot grades and will truly be able to technically ensure the yard is graded appropriately.
6. Using crushed decorative stone instead of bark mulch around your home can lead to improved drainage. Also, drainage systems can be disguised under stone where it won’t work as well with bark mulch. 7. Rainwater Harvesting and Rainwater Gardens- This new age way of saving and controlling rainwater is eco-friendly and the wave of the future. This topic is too detailed and will be a blog for another day. If you would like more information more quickly, please look at the page on my website dedicated to rainwater harvesting or contact me directly. http://decorativelandscapesinc.com/landscape-construction/rainwater-harvesting/
Some of the items I have mentioned above can certainly be attempted as DIY projects but keep in mind most of these tasks require an experienced professional with proper excavating equipment and laser technology to handle the task at hand like Decorative Landscapes Inc. Laser or equivalent technology is a pertinent tool in ensuring grades, drains, pipe, etc. are located correctly in the ground at the correct depth or height. A trustworthy qualified professional can also tell you what the best and most cost effective drainage solutions are for your property. Make sure you are talking to a qualified professional, ask for credentials, that has a lot of experience with drainage and excavating. Otherwise, you could end up with more problems than you have now and we wouldn’t want that!