DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum (
-   Landscaping & Lawn Care (
-   -   Uphill neighbor says I'm flooding his yard.. (

EdwardC 04-10-2010 11:44 PM

Uphill neighbor says I'm flooding his yard..
My little yard always had terrible drainage. You couldn't even walk in the yard for 4-5 days after a light rain, unless you wanted to sink in to the yard (I have pictures of it happening). Little yard as in 15 feet deep behind the house.

So last year, we did something about it. We created 3 - 1 cubic yard basins to serve as a place for water to go from our sump and down spouts. We also put in a 14ft by 12ft patio and ran a french drain to the uphill side of the patio (because we built it atop the swale/valley in the yard). Mind you the valley depth was less than 4 inches from the height of one of the sides.

Our neighbor is complaining that we are now flooding his yard. The part I don't get is that his yard is at no point lower than the highest point in my yard. He also has a spot about 8 ft from the property line (the middle of his yard) that has about an inch of standing water a day or two after it rains. Our soil is hard clay about an inch in to the surface, so there is no draining to the water table. He also has his sump pump drain directly to where the standing water is (downhill about 10ft away).

I want to make it right, as I live so close to the guy. I don't understand how our patio can be contributing so negatively to someone who is uphill from us. He already used some obscure legal action to put a stop work order on us. I don't want to even touch his yard. I'm sure the moment I do, he will sue me for damaging his foundation, or something else ridiculous like that. I'm going to take the first step by moving my patio 5ft further away, so I can prove that I am not blocking any of the water flow. Any other ideas?

Bushman 04-11-2010 05:24 AM

he can not divert water to your yard. If it happens naturally then that is different.
It sounds like you may have stopped his run off from crossing your yard. The water is now pooling in his yard instead of yours.???? perhaps you guys can negotiate a tile system that will carry the water that collects between your yards and send it to the street.

Yoyizit 04-11-2010 09:25 AM

Nolo Press publishes books on Neighbor Law. Take a look at one of these at your local library.
Also, your county can clarify your rights in this case.
My uphill neighbor is a similar kind of jerk.

Scuba_Dave 04-11-2010 10:58 AM

I'd say you are NOT flooding his yard
You are now slowing down or stopping HIS yard from flooding yours
You should not be required to allow his water to flood your yard

tpolk 04-11-2010 11:00 AM

where i am you are not allowed to interfere with drainage easement

nap 04-11-2010 11:33 AM

I don't understand how things are laid out but if your patio restricts the existing flow of the water (as Bushman suggested), you might be liable for the standing water. While you might argue the neighbor pumping his sump water to that area is the cause, it might be the sump water simply adds to an already existing problem.

If you want to argue the situation, you would have to get him to discharge the sump water elsewhere. If that remedies the problem, then problem solved as he is the cause of the problem and it is up to him to remedy his problem. If water remains, it would appear you caused the problem by restricting the existing flow.

If you simply are willing to fix the problem, I would suggest putting a french drain at or near the property line and draining his runoff into one of your drainage basins or something similar.

EdwardC 04-11-2010 12:59 PM

Thank you guys for your posts, I appreciate them! Let me clarify a few points that I left out.

The patio is built atop the center of the drainage line, but I had placed a french drain at the property line to capture any water coming in to the yard at the same time the patio was built. The water was still pooling at the surface, far away (and half a foot uphill) from where the french drain was.

The pavers are also placed atop a base of crushed rock and sand, which is much more porous than the clay that exists here. Any water that touches the property line is wisking away to the basins properly.

I'm sure that text won't describe the scenario good enough. I'll hopefully have time to create a drawing later today that I can host somewhere.

nap 04-11-2010 01:06 PM

if you have not raised your property AND you have a french drain such as I suggested, the standing water is the neighbors problem as you not only have done nothing to cause it, you even have a remedy installed that would prevent it if your excavation would have blocked the flow of the existing flow.

show him what you did and suggest you will give him a list of materials so he can replicate it on his property.

btw; if he now alters the lay of the land and does cause his sump discharge to flow onto your property, you then would have a claim against the neighbor. His water and suspended dirt/solids will shorten the useful life of your drainage system. I would seek at least a 1/2 split of the costs of the installation of the french drain and drainage basin it empties into, maybe more though.

AllanJ 04-11-2010 05:39 PM

Where does your French ultimately drain take the water?

EdwardC 04-11-2010 09:40 PM

An image, as promised.

I marked the basins in the photo in pink. I also did an approximation of topographic lines, but they are not to any formal scale. There is about 12ft between the back of my house and the retaining wall, when measured through the last basin.

The last basin is where the water stops. There is an access 1.5" PVC which we attach a water pump to and manually turn on to pump the water toward the storm sewer. Ideally, we want to put some kind of float switch / automation here. We wanted to see the frequency at which the pump was needed (plus, save some $$ on the initial install).

nap, the original french drain we installed was removed at my neighbors request. After he/his wife complained to the county that we were blocking the natural drainage, with the french drain. I put a fabric screen at the end and removed the french drain, which made them happy for the last part of 2009.

nap 04-11-2010 10:03 PM


Originally Posted by EdwardC (Post 427367)

nap, the original french drain we installed was removed at my neighbors request. After he/his wife complained to the county that we were blocking the natural drainage, with the french drain. I put a fabric screen at the end and removed the french drain, which made them happy for the last part of 2009.

I'm impressed (not that it really makes any difference though). that is a pretty decent presentation for this situation.

based on the location of the pooling water, there is no way you would be causing it. If it was pooling at the line or at least extended to the line, I could see it as a possibility. As it is, the pooling is retained by their own yard.

plus, if there is a drain between the two yards as you show, any blockage you created would have been bypassed.
It looks like his problem isn't that you created any blockage. It appears they simply have a depression in the middle of their yard.

the guy has to realize that clay does not drain so he either needs to contour the land properly so it will run off or do what you did and build in a drainage system. Since him recontouring his land may cause you problems, he really needs to consider doing something similar to what you have done.

since you seem to be a good neighbor and have made efforts to remedy the situation, even though it isn't your problem, maybe if you offer to help him build a drainage pit in his yard for his standing water, it will bring an end to this.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:13 PM.

vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1