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Old 12-24-2016, 09:14 PM   #1
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Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


In my backyard, every time if there is heavy rain or large snow melt like last week, I have standing water between the edge of the pool deck and lawn. Not sure how to handle this. Could you please give me some ideas?

See attached pic. The edge between pool deck and lawn. The melted snow stays there. It usually is not a big problem. Only when the quick snow melt or heavy rain.
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Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain-img_4260.jpg  
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Old 12-24-2016, 10:53 PM   #2
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


The ground is frozen so the water cannot be absorbed down into it, and you have no or insufficient slope for it to run off. Nothing you can really do about it this time of year and the only way to prevent it for the future is create a grade or some other type of surface drainage once spring comes. One problem with creating surface runoff is sending water onto a neighbour's property- which can be both an un-neighbourly thing to do as well as a bylaw violation.
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Old 12-25-2016, 04:06 AM   #3
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


This is so common but so gradual over the years it leaves the question in so many minds, like what in the world was those people thinking when this place was built?

Take a drive around an older neighborhood and compare elevation of the concrete drive and walk ways to the bordering lawn areas that may have drained when the property was new. As time advanced and if the lawn elevation gained as little as 2 mm / year, when we take that X 30 years we can say, Houston, I think we have a drainage problem.

Without re-grading the whole area to accomplish drainage, a swale comes to mind to provide drainage from that area.
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Old 12-25-2016, 07:47 AM   #4
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


Thanks both. We have been very upset. Moved in last summer, and didn't notice the problem last winter for some reason. The yard has sandy soil, so the drainage should be good to my knowledge. First time noticed standing water during a storm in fall. But water drained well overnight. This time, we got 4-5 in snow, and the second day the temp went back to 40s, so most snow on the concrete deck melted. Since then, the temp drop below 32 quickly, lawn and the deck were then covered by the ice. That's when I started to realize this is a problem.
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Old 12-25-2016, 03:46 PM   #5
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


What makes me really frustrated is we are having rainy not so cold day (35-40F). So all the water has nowhere to go since the lawn is still covered by ice. Look at the forecast, we are having rain again tomorrow. I don't know how to divert the water
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Old 12-25-2016, 03:48 PM   #6
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


Sandy soil is well draining - when it's not frozen. Unless you create a grade for surface drainage, this will be a persistent problem for rain, snowmelt. etc. until the ground thaws. Other than being a bit of an unappealing sight, unless it is causing water to drain back towards your foundation, it will be up to you decide whether it worth the time and expense to solve. It's pretty much life in colder climes.
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Old 12-25-2016, 04:23 PM   #7
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


You get your shovel and begin digging a trench from the deepest area of the water where it joins the pool deck 90į out into the lawn for 10 feet lowering the elevation of the trench 1" / foot.

By spring season you will have determined who you want to do the excavation of the swale and the end of the trench you dug will be the bench mark and center of a 20 foot wide swale who's center is 10" lower than the pool deck. The direction or directions the swale takes the water from there will be determined by that time and the landscape excavator can do that.
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Old 12-25-2016, 04:59 PM   #8
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


Hand digging a 10' trench in frozen ground is not something I would attempt but if I had to, I'd be using a pick not a shovel. If you really, really need to get this water away from where it currently is, you could try laying a path of road/rock salt, so long as your temperature is above approx. 10F. It may kill grass and damage concrete. What you will end up with is a frozen puddle of water, just in a different location. Looking at the photo, it's not clear how close the puddle is to the foundation. One possible simple stop-gap solution if the puddle is getting too close to the foundation for your comfort is to lay a berm of soil 2-3" high across the house side of the main body of the puddle. It may look like heck but it will get your through until spring.

The extent of this problem will vary from year to year depending on the type of winter. Again, unless it is causing problems with drainage around your foundation, I wouldn't worry about it at least until spring. If you are considering dealing with it in the spring or asking a contractor, take lots of pictures throughout the winter.
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Old 12-25-2016, 05:11 PM   #9
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


I don't recall the O P mentioning the ground being frozen, a house or foundation and a dusting of snow on the grass doesn't constitute frozen ground. Take it from here with your rock salt.
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Old 12-25-2016, 06:30 PM   #10
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


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Originally Posted by lenaitch View Post
Hand digging a 10' trench in frozen ground is not something I would attempt but if I had to, I'd be using a pick not a shovel. If you really, really need to get this water away from where it currently is, you could try laying a path of road/rock salt, so long as your temperature is above approx. 10F. It may kill grass and damage concrete. What you will end up with is a frozen puddle of water, just in a different location. Looking at the photo, it's not clear how close the puddle is to the foundation. One possible simple stop-gap solution if the puddle is getting too close to the foundation for your comfort is to lay a berm of soil 2-3" high across the house side of the main body of the puddle. It may look like heck but it will get your through until spring.

The extent of this problem will vary from year to year depending on the type of winter. Again, unless it is causing problems with drainage around your foundation, I wouldn't worry about it at least until spring. If you are considering dealing with it in the spring or asking a contractor, take lots of pictures throughout the winter.
Sorry forget to mention. I am in Mass, and the ground is frozen. there is a 8 ft wide flower bed on the right hand of pic which is between the pool deck and house foundation. So I am not seeing immediate risk of water getting into foundation. But it is definitely something I like to fix.
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Old 12-25-2016, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


I'd not worry about it until spring then maybe talk to a landscaper. Depending on grades in the area (and we don't get a really good sense of things from the photo), you may find there is little to reasonably be done. If winter happens in the 'normal' order - it gets cold, ground freezes, it snows, it thaws - then you won't have much of a problem. It's when you get periods of temps right around freezing and melting snow and/or rain on frozen ground. It might not look pretty but it pretty much looks like any backyard I've ever had around here.
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Old 12-25-2016, 09:30 PM   #12
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


When your house was built they should have submitted building plans that may have included the intended drainage. Sub-divisions will always have a drainage plan and often a single residence will include one. Reason I mention it is one home in my town went before the planning board with a similar problem asking why the contractor wasn't required to follow the plans the town approved. He had a good point as the initial plans had specifically included landscaping to prevent the standing water. Unfortunately I wasn't at the next meeting to hear their resolution but it is a place to check.

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Old 01-18-2017, 08:53 PM   #13
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


I happened to talk to a landscaper about this, who suggested me to put a dry well there. His estimate is over $3,000. Does this make sense? I thought putting dry well is a not that difficult.
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:24 PM   #14
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


A drywell is an option, if the soil around and under it can take the water. Someone would need to check the soil maps and the water table in your area to get an idea as to if this is possible. Then they would need to dig and test. If all is well then someone could install the drywell.

Having the soil tested to install a septic system is a common practice and those engineering companies would have access to all of the above. And, the people who install septic systems could easily install the drywell.

The above approach would certainly come to that dollar figure or more. Now, can you just dig a hole and dump in some gravel and then cover it with filter fabric, yes, and maybe it would work. And maybe not.

Check to see what building plans were submitted to your town office and then talk with your city engineer, they are often very helpful.

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Old 01-19-2017, 10:44 AM   #15
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Re: Standing water after snow melt or heavy rain


The issue I would be looking at is the risk of the concrete heaving/cracking/moving during freeze thaw periods. For the pavers, it would not be as big of an issue as these can be re-laid. That said, the best solution would be to grade the yard to ensure the water flows off-site. For yards with little slope, you can create swales (as mentioned earlier) to direct surface water flow. For yards with little or no slope, structures (house, patio, shed, etc.) would be raised to ensure enough slope is available to prevent what you are experiencing. For existing construction, usually this is not a solution- so one may have to just deal with it.

Dry wells can be a solution but they have drawbacks. First, you would have to determine how many wells, their size and location to install to ensure they will handle the volume of water expected. During heavy rains, these would likely fail and flood anyways, because no one is going to invest in a system that can handle a large rainfall. Just look at a local water retention pond- rarely does it have a high water level during the year, but during that one heavy rainfall that thing will get pretty full and slowly percolate into the ground. They are engineered to handle a large storm event. Scale it back down to your yard, the dry well will act in the same way- the volume for a heavy rain would likely require more wells than a homeowner would be excited for. I see dry wells more used for being ďgreenĒ, keeping runoff from a driveway or from gutters during a typical rain event to keep contaminants on-site or use to irrigate planting areas.

Finally, in colder climates, you still run the risk of surface freezing of the well, in which case, the water would pool anyways because it canít flow/percolate as fast or freeze all together. The well below grade (frost line) would not freeze but any piping to the well could become blocked by ice.
Regrading isnít fun as you will likely tear up the yard and must re-sod/reseed, and compaction of the soils from heavy equipment isnít good either, but this is generally the best (and maintenance free) option for grading issues.
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