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Old 04-17-2011, 07:05 AM   #1
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Best way to drain our backyard - HELP!!


We recently bought our dream home. Located on a little over an acre we are on a slab foundation. Water runs off the "hill" and pools in the back "lower" yard. We want to know the best way to tackle this as we have small children and want to use the backyard! It just rained about 4 inches last night and the rivers are running. We temporarily dug small trenches to direct it away from the house, but we also have a septic and well on either side of the house! HELP!!! And after digging the trenches we notice there is clay under the grass (read this isn't helpful) We spoke with one neighbor, they put in a french drain and a rock bed down their slope (which is more inclined then ours) and the water still gets through. Pictures attached to give an idea of what we are dealing with. Any suggestions would be appreciated, thank you!

"Turkey Mound" on top of hill, and the sloped hill where the water comes from:



Soggy backyard, you will lose a shoe trying to walk in this



Trenches we dug on one side of house:

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Old 04-17-2011, 07:33 AM   #2
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Best way to drain our backyard - HELP!!


I would try to divert it before it reaches the lower portion of the yard. Diversion terracing.


Last edited by waterman1971; 04-17-2011 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:08 AM   #3
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Best way to drain our backyard - HELP!!


Diagram above makes sense. But call a civil engineer and or grading contractor and have them fix this for you. It will be money well spent. This is not a DIY project and you should not be plunking in drains and things trying to bandaid it.

What is low ground below you by the way. You could get in all kinds of trouble if you drain excess water knowingly on to another piece of property.

By the way, if this a common problem to all neighbors? You might as well all fix it at once and share the cost. I mediated a situation where neighbors kept trying to do their own plot by plot solutions and flooding each other out and some instances. Tempers were raised and lawsuits were being filed. They realized their best answer was to pool resources and hire and engineer and some grading tractors. No problems since. Their situation looks a bit like what I think you might be facing. The building contractor scraped the land flat to build the houses but created small hills with the dirt not removed and blocked the natural and established path for water out. Split among everybody the costs to resolve it were nothing.

Site looks really pretty. Congratulations on your dream home! You will figure this drainage thing out.

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Old 04-17-2011, 08:24 AM   #4
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Best way to drain our backyard - HELP!!


Good point about diverting onto someones property.

Looks like the mound is at the highest point?

Perhaps the dirt from the mound could be used to build a stepped retaining wall.



Multiple steps could be used to avoid complex placement of tiebacks/dead men.

Last edited by waterman1971; 04-17-2011 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:28 AM   #5
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Best way to drain our backyard - HELP!!


River rock drainage looks natural to your site.....

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Old 04-18-2011, 12:01 AM   #6
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Best way to drain our backyard - HELP!!


I do not know who or what is behind your house, but I would hire a landscape planner to have someone take a bulldozer and blow that turkey mound out. Grade the land sloping away from the house.

Or, as someone said, you could terrace it up, but for sure, I would have sewer sized grates in the back to catch the flow of water and dump it somewhere else far away. Terracing though, would pretty much render the land up there unused. Terracing doesn't feel as intimate as having a backyard that's flat or sloped away.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:18 AM   #7
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Best way to drain our backyard - HELP!!


The "Turkey Mound" is our field for our septic system, so we can't bulldozer that over. But I wonder if it can be moved, but that has to be costly. We are in PA, a lot of people have their mounds in the backyard, but some in the front as well.

Right now we have it draining down in front of the house into the culvert that is locted at the end near our driveway. We aren't going towards the one neighbor we have there is plenty of land between us and the other side is land so no worry there.

We did locate the runoff up top of the property yesterday it just keeps running and running, I thought perhaps we should bottle the water and sell it, just needs to get away from the house in a maintained manner. The first thing we did was get gutters in place.

We are going to call 3 landscapers and see what they suggest. We did have a excavator come and he said he would dig and we would see where it goes, but we want it done correctly the first time and not throw money away.....

I like the look over the river rock bed too!

I apperciate all the help, we are first time homeowners, so this is all NEW to us!!!

The land behind the mound keeps going way back, it's just woods as seen here:

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Old 04-18-2011, 08:42 AM   #8
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Best way to drain our backyard - HELP!!


Why is the septic system mounded as opposed to deep underground?

If I were you, I would attempt to figure out the flow of water as it goes behind the mound....that will give you an idea of the best way to regrade your backyard.

I would make sure whoever you hire is licensed, insure, and certified to whatever is certified. Make sure there's a warranty offered also.
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