How to Improve Drainage in Yard

How to Improve Drainage in Yard

Hire a professional to help you correct the grade and drainage in your yard

By Glyn Sheridan

Gutter Draining Water Away from Home
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Water must drain out and away from your yard to reduce the risk of seepage into your basement. In most new housing developments, the developer and the contractor implement a uniform drainage plan, but in some older or poorly planned developments, drainage is a problem. Even if the grade around your foundation is adequate, other areas of your yard may collect water. You can improve drainage in a number of ways.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Check with your building authority about excavating or bringing in more soil. Measure grade, either with a transit or a long board and a carpenter's level. Call the national phone number for safe digging, "811," and your local utilities will check your yard for buried lines before you dig.
  • Depending upon your situation, you may also need gravel, sand or a drainage tube.

Step 1:

Determine your yard's slope. Water drains downhill so any slope your yard has that takes water away from your foundation is a good one. A slope of less than 2 percent may be inadequate during periods of heavy rain when the water does not drain quickly and may pool around your foundation. Rent a transit from a construction rental company to determine your yard's grade, or place a long board on the ground and put a carpenter's level on top to determine if your ground has a slope.

Step 2:

Raise the soil level around your foundation. Increasing the height of your yard around your foundation is essential if the soil around it is lower than the rest of your yard. This can occur if your homebuilder did not sufficiently compact the soil around the foundation, and it has settled.

Step 3:

Remove soil in other areas of your yard if the soil around your foundation is already at the highest recommended level. Heavy equipment is necessary to dig and remove soil from the perimeter of the yard to encourage drainage away from the home.

Step 4:

Install a yard drainage system if you cannot fix the problem by changing the grade of your yard. Sometimes, you can raise or lower the slope in your yard, but you must install a drainage system to alleviate the problem. Choose from buried drainage tubes that direct water away from your foundation and into the storm sewer, or install a French drain, which is a sloped trench filled with gravel and sand that allows water to drain away from the yard.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Leave at least 6 inches of bare foundation between your yard and the bottom of your siding to reduce the risk of termites entering your home.
  • Water drainage is a big issue in some communities; you may be held liable if you change your yard's drainage pattern, and it results in your neighbor's yard flooding.
  • Get the appropriate permits before excavating.
  • Moving large amounts of dirt is a job for the professionals because heavy equipment is necessary.

About the Author

Glyn Sheridan is a regular contributor to DexKnows.

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