During a landscape consultation I will often start the conversation with a discussion regarding grading, drainage and standing water. A general rule of thumb is whether after a heavy rain there is any standing water or particularly damp areas 24 to 48 hours afterwards. The reason for this conversation is that if we don’t solve these issues for the homeowner first, everything else we do (hardscape, landscape, etc.) could be for naught.
Sunrise recently was called to help a homeowner who had a beautiful landscape plan installed by another company but they were now having problems with standing water. They had spent over $80,000 to have a new deck and plantings installed but no one thought ahead to piping downspouts or creating pathways for the water to flow into and now many plants were getting destroyed.
The ideal way to avoid any water problems is a property that was properly graded at the time of construction. Often we deal with instances where this is not the case, or time has created altered conditions that necessitate corrective actions. The first choice is to address the situation above ground through re-grading or perhaps something like a dry rock creek bed. We also can ease the problems by underground piping of downspouts or by the use of drain boxes and pipe.
Sunrise almost exclusively uses schedule 40 PVC pipe. It is more expensive but washes out clean of leaves and debris and will last many times longer than the corrugated black pipe which can accumulate material over time and clog or get crushed for various reasons. Least desirable would be some kind of sump construction which may ease the situation but is not a permanent solution. Similarly a ‘french drain’ often does not function in this area because of the prevalent type of soil. They will clog up and typically last but a few years in many cases.
So, the next time it rains take a look out your window, look at the front and back yard. What do you see? Is the water carefully following a set path and draining nicely off your property? If instead you see various debris running through your yard that was once planted or see a few plants that are getting quite a drowning it might be time to come up with a new plan and consider the options we mentioned above. If you haven’t installed any landscaping recently you’re a step ahead of the game. Pay attention to the areas you are thinking of planting in and plan accordingly before you plant. Grading and drainage can play a very important part of any outdoor project you may be considering. Give Sunrise a call if you have any questions or think we could help in any way.
Sunrise Landscape + Design