Who To Call For A Drainage Problem In The Yard? (Find Out Now!)
Your lawn is a source of pride and can add value to your home. Curb appeal is essential if you are trying to sell your home. A soggy lawn is unsightly and can be a source of foundation problems as well as a health hazard. But who do you call to remedy a drainage problem in your yard?
For drainage problems in your yard, you will want to call your local water company. They can send out a specialist who will have the right to enter your property and fix any problems with the drainage system. However, they may advise you to call a plumber. Leave the decision up to your water company.
Pooling or standing water in your yard creates problems in several ways. Turfgrasses such a Bermuda and fescue will suffer in the soggy ground and eventually die. Saturated soil in contact with your foundation or basement walls can cause cracking, leaks, and mold growth inside your home. Finding a solution to your yard drainage problems is important.
Identify the Problem
The first step in solving a drainage problem in your yard is identifying the source of that problem. Some causes of drainage problems may be easy to identify. Some of the more common causes of water pooling in your yard include:
- An improper slope or grading of your lawn can cause pooling.
- The location of your gutter downspouts is wrong or end too close to your house.
- Geographic problems are leading to water funneling to your yard.
- The discharge from your sump pump is too close to your foundation
Other factors can contribute to drainage problems in your yard. The problem is often a combination of several problems that need addressing for a permanent solution. We will explore some of these problems and the most common solutions.
Improperly Graded Lawn
The most common problem leading to water pooling in and around houses on the lawn is improper grading. Ideally, your house should sit at the highest point on your property. Locating your house on the highest point ensures that water will drain away from your house. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.
Houses located in smaller lots in residential neighborhoods often don’t have a choice of location. The overall geography of the neighborhood dictates the slope of the lot. In this case, you must work with what you have.
If the contractor who built your house didn’t grade the lot for drainage, you could have pooling issues. The only solution is to have your lot regraded properly. Regrading is not a DIY job and requires professional help and advice. Landscape architects, stormwater management specialists, or professional landscapers are your best source of advice.
Gutters – Often the Cause of Problems
Gutter salespeople tout their product as the solution to rainwater runoff problems around a home. In many cases, this is true. However, gutter installations must need proper planning and installation, or the gutters can create more problems with standing water.
If your rain gutters aren’t maintained adequately, they can contribute to water drainage issues in your lawn. Routine maintenance includes:
- Checking the seams and joints in the gutters and downspouts for leaks
- Keeping the gutters clean and free of debris
- Ensuring that the gutters are not sagging, which prevents proper water flow to the downspouts
- Directing the water from the downspouts away from the foundation of your home
These are all basic maintenance chores that any homeowner can perform. If you prefer not to climb ladders to work on your gutters, most gutter installation companies also perform routine maintenance.
Landscaping often creates high spots around our homes, which can trap water close to the foundation or basement walls. Extend your downspouts beyond any landscaping around your house. There are many products on the market that make extending your downspout easy and visually attractive.
Geography – Dealing with What is Around You
You must contend with what nature gives you in the way of terrain. This terrain is often the source of water drainage problems and maybe well outside your property boundaries. Dealing with these kinds of drainage problems means that you need to consider your options carefully.
Finding yourself and your home at the bottom of a natural drainage area for the rest of your neighborhood can be a huge problem. In some cases, all the water for several hundred yards uphill may naturally drain through your property. Protecting your home is essential in this instance.
The solutions to this kind of problem will, more than likely, require professional design and installation help. Redirecting and controlling large flows of water is not a typical do-it-yourself job. Consult with a landscape architect or a certified stormwater management professional if you have such a problem.
The Sump Pump – Creating Your Own Problems
If your home has a basement and your basement has a sump pump, find the sump pump’s discharge outlet. Too often, to save money, contractors put the pump discharge next to the outside of the basement wall. A sump pump discharge too close to the basement can cause huge problems.
Often the solution to this problem is to extend the discharge of the sump pump further away from the house. While trenching your lawn is not a welcome project, it may be your best solution. Running the discharge from the sump pump away from your house and downhill can easily remedy water pooling problems in your yard.
If you don’t relish the idea of digging trenches, laying pipe, and backfilling, consult with your plumber. Professional plumbers have the tools and training to perform this kind of project.
A Multitude of Problems Requires an Integrated Approach
Many times, when drainage is a problem in your yard, there is no one underlying cause. A combination of factors is probably contributing to the problem. Solving all these underlying factors requires an integrated approach to rain and stormwater management.
Who Should you Consult About Drainage Problems in your Yard?
To a great degree, who you should consult about your drainage problem depends on the severity and the nature of the problem. Many drainage issues are addressable by a homeowner who is willing to put in the effort. For example:
Gutters and Downspouts
Gutter Problems are typically easy fixes. Downspouts can be extended or redirected. Seams and joints that leak can be caulked and sealed. Routine maintenance to keep gutters flowing can often be done from the ground using extensions to a garden hose. Even sagging gutters are within the scope of most do-it-yourselfers.
Sump Pump Problems
Sump pump discharge issues are fixable for those who are willing to do the work. Joining plastic pipes is not difficult, and most of us can use a shovel to dig a trench. It is hard work but can have a huge reward in the end.
Minor Slop and Grade Issues
Most homeowners can address minor problems with slope and grade. Most often, these problems result from time. As landscaping and flower beds around a home mature, they tend to build up the soil resulting in high spots. These high spots can trap water close to your home or even cause large pools to accumulate. If not too great, these problems require some work to reduce the soil buildup and provide water channels.
Bigger Problems Equal More Sophisticated Solutions
If your problem is bigger than some minor alterations to your gutters or sculpturing your flower beds, it is probably time to consult with a professional. Again, the degree and size of the problem determine the best options for professional advice.
Typical Lawn Slope and Grade Changes
Regrading an entire lawn or home lot is usually not a task most homeowners are willing to undertake. If your issue is poor slope and grade of a relatively flat lot, most professional landscaping companies can address the issue.
Professional landscapers can assess your lot by measuring the slope and grade. A recommendation on regrading your lawn is the usual course, along with an estimate of the cost. In some instances, the landscape professional may suggest bringing in more soil to build up low areas. In any case, the project should include returning the landscape and lawn to as near their original condition as possible.
Larger Lots, Larger Issues, Larger Solutions
If your lot is large or the issues are more complex, you may need a landscape architect or a rain and stormwater management professional. These professionals are trained in the techniques to solve multiple issues in a landscape where drainage problems exist. The solutions can often be as complex as the problem.
If you feel the need to consult one of these professionals, you can find more information at these websites.
You can find a professional in your area at one of these websites who can help you solve your drainage issues in your landscape. Despite the expense, finding a qualified professional will be cheaper in the long run than the damage poor drainage issues can cause to your home.
Addressing Your Drainage Problem, Better Now than Later
Addressing the drainage problems in your lawn is better done now than in the future. The damage that drainage problems cause to foundations, basements, and landscaping can be costly. Don’t ignore potential problems.
We hope that this article helps you address your lawn drainage issues. We want to help you protect your home. Stay dry and have fun!
Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.
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