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Old 12-27-2008, 02:09 PM   #1
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


Looking for some ideas on any solutions to try and solve this stanidng water problem in our backyard. The other neighbors dont get it nearly as bad as we do. Our backyard seems to be lower than the surrounding neighbors and the water then pools into our yard along the back fence line. The water tends to pool in the winter and spring when the snow melts and we get alot of rain. The area that pools I would guestimate at 15' x 40' and several inches deep. We dont have any problems with pooling water near the house as it seems to be slopped away from the house. 1 plus side to this is that our yellow lab loves to run through it and get all muddy .

I was thinking either adding topsoil to slightly bring up the grade and or trying a drywell. We have clay in the soil, Im not sure how deep it runs. Im not sure also where the water table stands here. Any suggestions how to approach this as a DIY'r would greatly be appreciated.


Last edited by creamaster; 12-27-2008 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:04 PM   #2
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?

i guess you could TRY to stand water in your backyard, but i think it'll fall down and get everything all wet!
i know, i know.... but you already have the best idea imho, use topsoil and level it out.

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Old 12-27-2008, 05:28 PM   #3
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


My parents had to dig out a drywell at one of their former houses.
It actually worked quite well (haha,) but IIRC, we actually installed two of them, each about the diameter of a 55 gallon drum, and slightly deeper.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:35 PM   #4
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


With clay soil, filling the low area with top soil will only create a layer of saturated top soil that you sink up to your ankles and possibly be difficult to grow grass in.
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:57 AM   #5
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


+1 on not filling in the low areas. The water has to go somewhere.

I'd go the other route, and dig a depressed area for a pond and plant a willow or some cattails in a wetgarden. Free water.
Mabye a fence or barrier so that the dog cant get into it.
Then dig a small but deep drywell/overflow next to it.
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:31 AM   #6
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


Can you get to daylight if you dig a trench or trench drain?

I own a house tha had this problem. The builder dug a 6 foot deep trench 16" wide, lined it with drainage fabric and put in a 6" perforated pipe. They then filled it with gravel and topped with well draining soil. Lucky me, I bought the property during a decade long drought so it was dry as a bone for many years. The lot was all trees and brush so I cleared it not knowing what was about the happen. The trench pipe solved the problems around the house but when the drought ended, the backyard was a marsh. Some places I could stick a shovel down into the mud the whole length of the shovel. Being a contractor, I had the knowledge and resources to fix the problem.

I dug 2 ft deep trenches about 1 ft wide, lined them with drainage fabric, Installed 4" perforated pipe and backfilled with well draining soil. I fed the 4" pipe into the 6" trench drain pipe 6 ft down (boy was it fun pulling out all that gravel to get to the pipe). I then brought in enough soil from one of my basement digs and raised the soil level 6" to 12". This did two things. It filled in a depression that was still soggy and second, the pressure of the fill dirt forced the water out of the wet, grey clay into the drainage trenches and pipes I dug.

I now have a 100% functional back yard of that property that drains extremely well now.

Be sure to install some cleanouts to monitor for silt and to allow for clean-out if needed.

If you can't install a pipe drain and have very thick heavy gray clay like I have on this property, you may need to use it to your advantage and build a nice bog. I've built dozen of bog gardens for people of the last few years who have perfectly dry yards. It's become very popular. So popular that we build them purposely as we find it has help draw more interest and has helped houes sales.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:48 AM   #7
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


general question to those who have installed French drains in the past:

I am having issues like some of the other members with low spots, but I do have hope: a trench will do the job.. for now. I have an overall plan ready to go when I have a bit more spare time, but it is fairly complex.. using raised beds and cutting a valley, installing drain, and backfilling with pea gravel, I hope it will work.

Now, I have seen some material which looks a lot like a sock for drain pipe. Does this stuff actually work well, or would it silt up in a couple of seasons, leaving me with a few days worth of aggrivating work that would have to be repeated AGAIN in the furture?
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:54 AM   #8
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


The sock is no wonder material. It is just a tool to use if you understand how a "french" drain ir perforated drain tile work.

The real key is the use of the proper material around the pipe. If you do not have the correct material a sok can plug easily. The material around and under the drain tile is used to collect water and filter out the fines. In some cases, you may want to put the filter cloth in on the sides and bottom of the trench before the rock/gravel/sand are placed. It all depends on what kind of soil you have in place.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:49 PM   #9
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


Quote:
Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
The sock is no wonder material. It is just a tool to use if you understand how a "french" drain ir perforated drain tile work.

The real key is the use of the proper material around the pipe. If you do not have the correct material a sok can plug easily. The material around and under the drain tile is used to collect water and filter out the fines. In some cases, you may want to put the filter cloth in on the sides and bottom of the trench before the rock/gravel/sand are placed. It all depends on what kind of soil you have in place.
I had no illusions of the material being a miracle, trust me!
I used to be a supervisor for a Haz Mat response company, and in the process of taking care of some transformer oil spills, we had to go back and replace some poor sod's landscaping. One of my guys snagged a french drain (ok, it was some ADS that was perforated) with a mini excavator and we had to replace the crap. I installed the sock and IIRC, the owner was bi*$hing at us within a month 'cuz his drain was not working well.

Well, he had a very, very sandy/loamy soil and sure enough, that stuff was quite imbricated. Of course, we re-installed as per original conditions.. so I think he just wanted more work out of us. Hell, I am not a landscaper!

So what manner of fill? pea gravel immediately surrounding the drain and graduate up to say, 1" crusher? The area when I am done will be a rock bed about 6' wide with the drain down the center, about 8 inches below grade. I am putting flagstones on top of it. I wouldnt be adverse to using the sock to help prevent future maintenance (although I will install several cleanouts down the drain)
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:35 AM   #10
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


put the sock on it

AND filter fabric OVER the rock before you add ANY dirt to cover it,,,it all helps to sepeerate the water from the soil and gives it a place to go. water carries silt with it otherwise. It works best if the pipe can run someplace downhill and gravity flow to where it can empty.

Much the same way whole fields are pattern tiled in wetter eastern states.
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:13 AM   #11
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


There's a product called Earth Right that is a soil conditioner that actually increases the soil's permeability, and is used to deal with the exact problem you're having. It is a spray-on product, and I am aware of a couple stormwater management/drainage companies that are using it with great success. It is certainly cheaper than a total re-grading job. A local DIY radio show host absolutely swears by the stuff. I'm told that it does take repeated applications to get the desired effect and annual re-application to maintain it. We have very cohesive clay soils here (and the subsequent water problems that go with clay), so it is gaining in popularity.
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:58 PM   #12
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


kc
I've seen the Earth Right advertised (if I remember correctly) but don't know of anyone who has used it. Question- do I read correctly that you spray it ON the soil surface as opposed to an amendment that you would incorporate? I'm not following how that would help more than a few inches deep. I wonder does it work by breaking up the surface tension?
I'll probably search this product for more information but thought that the question here also would support the public learning as well.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:09 PM   #13
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I haven't used it personally, but know folks that do. Yes, it is simply sprayed on very liberally (soaking the entire area very deep) in a number of applications.

A prominent drainage/grading/stormwater control company whose work I often inspect absolutely swears by the stuff. He says that it does take repeated applications to get the desired effect and subsequent maintenance applications a couple times a year.
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:35 AM   #14
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


To the original poster: I agree with the other poster that using the area as a "rain garden" will be easy, unique, and beneficial. You don't have to dig it out anymore, just use it as is. The "garden" part of a rain garden can just be perennial native wildflowers, and since they are using the water that is standing there, the plants will actually help to draw the water down faster. There is plenty of literature on rain gardens on the web. I can tell you that you already have the hardest part to get, the shallow depression that collects water!

If you were inclined to fill it, you'd have to till in some mulch into the clay to form some channels for the water to go down into the soil. Otherwise, you will just have soupy soil.
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Old 01-02-2009, 05:27 PM   #15
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Any ideas for standing water in my backyard?


creamaster,
My apology for getting sidetracked on the Earth Right product. I was also thinking of putting in a rain garden.

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