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Old 04-15-2010, 02:20 PM   #1
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Drainage Rocks?


I've been looking for this answer and can't seem to find anyone to help me out...
We just purchased a new home and discovered buried piles of rocks in different areas around our house's foundation. One in particular is in our back yard which is sloping downward toward a walkout basement on the side of the house. My question is whether or not anyone thinks that these are drainage rocks that I shouldn't mess with.
I mean, it's not along the house, it's just a... pile a few feet out from the wall. Most of the rocks are buried, but the rocks were definitely put there on purpose. I just can't tell if it was for a reason or just random.
The last house we lived in was built before indoor plumbing and electricity. It didn't have a gutter system, so there were rocks strategically placed everywhere around the house for perfect drainage. I guess that's why I'm worried about this new house. I don't want to move them and then have the basement flooded. And, if I do move them, what should I do to fill in the hole and make the ground more stable?
So sorry to ramble... I'm just confused. Thanks so much.

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Last edited by Katigan; 04-15-2010 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 04-15-2010, 05:47 PM   #2
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Drainage Rocks?


The term "drainage rock" must be local to your area, I have never heard of it before. A rock does not by definition create any drainage, at best a pile of rocks will be more permeable than an equivalent pile of clay or silty soil. However, if you purchased a house with a perimeter drain, you would probably find that the drain included a perforated pipe buried at approximately the level of the top of footer (slightly lower than the basement), and the pipes would probably be covered with crushed stone or crushed rock.

The purpose of the perimeter drain is to intercept groundwater, direct it into a pipe, and allow the pipe to carry the groundwater off to a safe location, hopefully well away from your house.

A pile of rocks such as you describe is probably there because the contractor who built your foundation did not want to haul the rocks too far away, so they dumped them near the foundation. Not for drainage, but for convenience. I have seen this many times, for rocks, stumps, even garbage. Nothing to do with drainage.

As for removing the rocks, if you don't like them, you could remove the rocks and backfill with soil, then seed and loam. Removing the rocks is unlikely to change anything about the drainage pattern near your house, make sure that you grade away from the foundation, and your gutters drain well away from the house.

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Old 04-15-2010, 10:26 PM   #3
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Drainage Rocks?


Thanks so much!
People use a lot of rocks around here to direct water (like a dry riverbed). Anywhere you dig, you're likely to find big softball-sized rocks, so what you said is probably the case. I just wanted to make sure that this wasn't some "technique" that I would ruin by digging up the rocks. I live on the side of a mountain and a stream runs around my house, so drainage is important. Thank you again!
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:25 PM   #4
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Drainage Rocks?


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Originally Posted by Katigan View Post
Thanks so much!
People use a lot of rocks around here to direct water (like a dry riverbed). Anywhere you dig, you're likely to find big softball-sized rocks, so what you said is probably the case. I just wanted to make sure that this wasn't some "technique" that I would ruin by digging up the rocks. I live on the side of a mountain and a stream runs around my house, so drainage is important. Thank you again!
The purpose of these rocks is probably to hold the ground in place. With the rocks, the dirt is less likely to wash out as it absorbs the impact of the water falling on it.

Rocks used to hold the ground firm is usually called "rip rap."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riprap

It would also help if you posted picture of what you have.
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