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Old 02-08-2015, 03:18 PM   #1
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Side yard drainage


I have some drainage issues on my side yard, as both my house and neighbor's house slope towards it. After a good rain the water will pool and can take up to a week to fully drain. I attached a picture looking towards the front yard, and one looking towards the back. I dont really care about keeping grass there so I'm planning to dig out the area, line with landscape fabric, fill with gravel. I'd also rebuild the retaining wall for the shed. Couple questions - does this seem reasonable if I'm just trying to prevent a big mess and making it walkable? How deep should I dig down? What size gravel/stone should I use? For the retaining wall, how deep should I start it - as deep as I dig out for the gravel, or deeper? I'm in Delaware and soil is heavy on the clay.
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:35 PM   #2
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does the back yard slope down to the street ?
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:37 PM   #3
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I would put in a concrete walkway and have it sloped.?
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:25 AM   #4
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That appears to be an older neighborhood so what I am about to say may not apply.

The first step is to determine if the land plan for your lot called for drainage to the front or back and then do what you need to do to restore the slope to the design specs.

In your specif case I suspect that whoever did the planter and retaining wall changed the flow.
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replys. I believe original intent was for drainage to the front. It was probably the addition of the shed (PO) that messed up the grading. Now, I understand the merits of re-grading to direct flow towards the front, but is the plan I originally posted not going to be effective at preventing a muddy mess?
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesmac13 View Post
Thanks for the replys. I believe original intent was for drainage to the front. It was probably the addition of the shed (PO) that messed up the grading. Now, I understand the merits of re-grading to direct flow towards the front, but is the plan I originally posted not going to be effective at preventing a muddy mess?
Ayuh,.... Does the backyard, where the blue thingy is, drain properly, in, 'n by itself,..??

In yer pictures, it appears that if you dug a slight swale, from the end of the fence, to the street would fix 99% of yer drainage issue,...

To get rid of the bit of standin' water in the pictures,...
Dig a stringline straight falling swale from the side of the shed, to the street,...
Seed it, 'n it'll be just fine, once the grass greens up,...

You could do the same thing with stone for a walkway, but I doubt it'll help the street view of yer home,...

Grass also slows the water, stoppin' it from errodin' the swale,...
Stone allows the water to run faster, causin' more problems,...

As for yer flowerbed retainin' walls,...
I'd just Rid of 'em,....
But,...
If yer in love with 'em, don't worry 'bout puttin' in a thick base, 'n buildin' a 100 year wall,....
Just relevel 'em, 'n worry 'bout doin' it again in 10 years,...

Time, 'n freezin' condition will continue to move 'em about,...

Last edited by Bondo; 02-09-2015 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:36 PM   #7
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but is the plan I originally posted not going to be effective at preventing a muddy mess?

I tend to agree that that grass has no real value in that spot and would probably be a hassle to mow with a wall on one side and a fence on the other.

The grade needs to move the water in the proper direction whether it is grass or stone. River pebbles make a nice looking gravel walk. As they tend to be more expensive using a couple of inches of them over another base works fine.

Road fill called DGA (dense graded aggregate) here which is a a blend of stone from 6s and 7s down to dust is what is used to build retaining wall bases. In soggy areas bigger rock sometimes goes under it. For a 3 stone high wall a 4" compacted base of DGA would be fine. It could also double as your base for the walk. DGA when compacted is almost as stong as weak concrete but far easier to dig out if the need ever comes up.

If your neighbor does not have a drainage issue, duplicating his grade should work for you. It would be bad form and probably a code violation for you to direct your water to his yard.
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Old 02-11-2015, 06:28 PM   #8
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Gravel will hold water, creating a drainage channel or a leach field depending on the slope.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:19 PM   #9
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Once you find the direction of slope. Slope it and I've had good luck with decomposed granite and river rock. The granite can help you slope it if necessary.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:20 PM   #10
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Digging it out and filling with gravel isn't going to help your drainage problem. It would create a deeper hole to fill with water and take longer to go away. I like the idea of a sidewalk but, if that's too expensive, you and your neighbor could simply raise the grade of this low spot and cause the water to run off somewhere else... to the street preferably.
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