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Old 05-24-2009, 04:38 PM   #1
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french drain/grass/landscaping problem


Our front yard is on an incline and in a heavy rain water cascaded down over the sidewalk, and pooled in various places in the front yard; so we had a French drain installed. That was early in 2008. The contractor planted seed but it didn't make it. We replanted the area (which is about thirty feet) working the soil first, adding topsoil, fertilizer, watering regularly. That was in mid summer of 2008. It seemed to be doing all right at the end of last summer, came up this year, but is now dying rapidly even though it's had plenty of Spring rain. Obviously, we've got a problem.
I don't know offhand how much soil is on top of the drain, but it seemed reasonably deep, and the contractor indicated that we would have no problem with grass growing over the area, which is obviously not the case. Now we've got a thirty foot section running through our front yard with dying grass, and it looks pretty bad.
Obviously a French drain area is not going to hold water the same as the rest of the lawn, that's it's purpose, but I didn't realize that we would have this type of problem. Need some suggestions please.
One idea is to fill the area with decorative rock, but I just don't think that the area is going to look right. It's about three foot out from the sidewalk (and runs parallel to it) and I'm afraid that a line of decorative rock is going to stand out oddly.
I'm wondering if there is a type of grass seed that requires little water or has a particular type of root system that could work. In case location is an issue, we live in northern Kentucky (Bluegrass comes to mind, but I think that it requires a lot of water). The seed that we put down was a "Triathalon" blend, guaranteed to grow anywhere -- anywhere but here I guess. Sure would appreciate any suggestions on seed or landscaping ideas.

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Old 05-25-2009, 10:05 AM   #2
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french drain/grass/landscaping problem


Hi Paul,
If that pipe is perforated pvc, or similar, typically it is not installed with the idea of planting lawn over it. The pipe has to be placed close enough to the top of the grade to catch the water, otherwise it would not do the job. Usually the pipe is wrapped in filter fabric to prevent soil getting through the holes in the pipe, and the stone is laid over that.

If it is working correctly, I am going to assume that it was placed closer to the top than you are thinking. And if that is the case, there is not a lot of soil for the grass to grow in. In addition, the water is seeping through and the grass is not getting enough moisture.

So, what to do? Although the area is three feet away from the sidewalk, you might consider creating a planting bed, extending from the sidewalk just past the pipe. Make it curved with a nice shape. It does not have to be high maintenance or expensive, as you can plant it with mostly groundcover. If you use something like Ajuga, it will be pretty hardy. You can add a few shrubs in too.

I agree about covering the area with stone. A three foot wide area of stone would look weird. An area of stone just over the pipe going through the lawn would not look that great either and very difficlut to maintain. However, as an alternative, instead of planting the entire area (as I mentioned above) with the groundcover, you might consider planting the area between the pipe and the sidewalk and then adding the stone on top of the pipe area. At least then the stone would look like it was part of the planting bed.

I hope this was helpful.
Susan
http://www.landscape-design-advice.com

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Old 05-25-2009, 10:51 AM   #3
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french drain/grass/landscaping problem


Thanks Susan. Very thorough and helpful reply. I think the planting area/ground cover just might be the answer. Sounds like you know your stuff. Now if I can just get you to drive down from Virginia...............
Thanks.



.........Quote=Susan Schlenger;278224]Hi Paul,
If that pipe is perforated pvc, or similar, typically it is not installed with the idea of planting lawn over it. The pipe has to be placed close enough to the top of the grade to catch the water, otherwise it would not do the job. Usually the pipe is wrapped in filter fabric to prevent soil getting through the holes in the pipe, and the stone is laid over that.

If it is working correctly, I am going to assume that it was placed closer to the top than you are thinking. And if that is the case, there is not a lot of soil for the grass to grow in. In addition, the water is seeping through and the grass is not getting enough moisture.

So, what to do? Although the area is three feet away from the sidewalk, you might consider creating a planting bed, extending from the sidewalk just past the pipe. Make it curved with a nice shape. It does not have to be high maintenance or expensive, as you can plant it with mostly groundcover. If you use something like Ajuga, it will be pretty hardy. You can add a few shrubs in too.

I agree about covering the area with stone. A three foot wide area of stone would look weird. An area of stone just over the pipe going through the lawn would not look that great either and very difficlut to maintain. However, as an alternative, instead of planting the entire area (as I mentioned above) with the groundcover, you might consider planting the area between the pipe and the sidewalk and then adding the stone on top of the pipe area. At least then the stone would look like it was part of the planting bed.

I hope this was helpful.
Susan
http://www.landscape-design-advice.com[/quote]
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:54 AM   #4
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french drain/grass/landscaping problem


You're very welcome.
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