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Old 04-12-2012, 09:49 PM   #1
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get rid of swale?

My yard has a swale about 15 ft from my home. Behind my home are walkout basements, i.e. a hill. Between the neighbor behind my home and my yard is the first drainage swale. My yard is basically flat with a slight slope towards the home and then there is the swale I am concerned with 15 ft behind the home.
This swale 15' from the back of the house drains into a sewer sewer grate.

Would it be acceptable to dig down, put in a french drain and then even out and lessen the swale depth considerably? The swale makes an area behind my home unusable just from the deep slope (cant kick a soccer ball across it, etc).

would this work as well as the swale to capture water?
I plan on digging in a solid pipe in the ditch to carry away gutter downspout water and sump discharge to connect underground to the sewer below the grate.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:54 PM   #2
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Oops to finish that thought,... I am putting solid pipe under
the swale anyway, So I could have a french drain pipe just below the solid both pipes one above the other, and hAve them both connect to the sewer underground.

Or do I just run the gutter pipe under the swale and leave the swale as
is for the surface water?

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Old 04-13-2012, 05:09 AM   #3
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In my experience, a swale is much more effective than a french drain. If a lot of water gets carried by the swale, then the swale is doing its job. If only a little bit of water goes into the swale in heavy rains, then perhaps a french drain would suffice. French drains clog.
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:25 AM   #4
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I agree. I'd leave the swale. I'd rather play soccer at the park or on a hill than take the chance of water making its way toward the foundation
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:47 AM   #5
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And many the problems you may unleash if something goes wrong and you effect the drainage on to or from the land of your neighbors by changing grade that is currently working. Things like french drains, underground drain lines, etc. are not even legal many places I have lived.

If the grading is working and you have no drainage problems. I would leave everything alone. If you really cannot stand it, call in a landscape architect or civil engineer to make the changes correctly rather than mickey mousing it and hoping your approach might work. Be aware, if it effects the neighbors, you may need drawing sign-offs and permits.
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:02 AM   #6
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Do NOT change the swell without an engineer looking at it. That was specifically designed and it may not seem like a lot of water runs through it most of the time but it is probably designed for a 100 year storm. You can get yourself in a lot of financial trouble if you change it on your own.

I work in the stormwater business if you are wondering about my credentials.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:15 AM   #7
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I managed a building for 3 yrs and wondered about a big swale........until one day there was a horrific storm and I watched the swale divert the sudden flood.

Learned later that 5 yrs earlier a flood came into the building, ruined carpet and drywall.
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