As a homeowner or contractor, there’s one underrated word in landscape design that often goes unconsidered: drainage.
That beautifully designed lawn or those acres of lush green grass can’t hold up against the forces of nature without a proper drainage system in place.
Granted, unless you have a background in plumbing, you’re probably unfamiliar with the necessary steps to ensuring your drainage will work for years to come.
Whether it’s for irrigation, lawn maintenance, or just trying to stop puddles from forming, drains are a vital piece to your yard.
Here are some tips on installing a proper drainage system, so that you can hit the ground running.
1. Observe Where the Excess Water Comes From
If you’re a victim of a mushy lawn that’s trying to form its own lake, there’s obviously a problem with the drainage (or lack thereof).
That problem is single-handedly causing your yard to start flooding because it has nowhere to divert the excess water to.
If you don’t have a proper drainage system, you’re literally depending on nature to do the work with precipitation… which is a risky game to play. So, before you begin planning the drains, take notes on where the excess water comes from.
Do you live in a climate where there’s rain almost daily? Is there a damaged water pipe below your house that’s causing the flooding?
Should that be the case, then you now have two problems on your hands: 1) the damaged pipe is causing your yard to flood, and 2) your yard has no way of ridding the excess water from the pipe.
It could also be that you don’t need a new drainage system at all (assuming you already have one), and the burst pipe is the sole reason for the flooding.
Knowing the main source of your unwanted water will help you form the necessary plans for a new drainage system.
2. Prepare for Your Soil
This may sound ridiculous, but if you don’t place it into consideration before you install a drainage system, you’ll be kicking yourself when you start to dig the trench.
Did you know that soil comes in four different categories?
Depending on where you live, your soil may be predominantly sand, loam, silt or clay.
If it’s clay that you’re dealing with, then you’re in for a real treat (insert sarcasm here). Clay is composed of plate-like particles that form together over time and become a tough, almost solid, surface over time.
As you can imagine, that makes it hard to dig through with your modern, everyday shovel. You’re going to need something a bit more heavy-duty to break through clay when installing a drainage system.
Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. There are soil reports that can help you factor in what man-hours are needed to break through your soil and install that beautiful new system in no time.
3. Survey Your “Lay of the Land”
Now that you’ve seen what’s causing the unwanted water supply on your lawn, and know the soil you’re dealing with, it’s time to observe how your lawn is laid out.
Put an emphasis on finding the high and low points of your yard. You’re going to want your drains at the lowest levels of your yard, wherever that may be.
If a low point doesn’t currently exist in your lawn, then you’ll need to create one for it. That alone will help the water drain from where it tends to pool up to the slope you’ll create, helping it ease down into your new system.
Are the high points of your yard the “troublemakers”? If so, maybe it’s time to level out your land a bit more to stop water from gathering where the drain can’t reach.
4. Determine Your Drain Layout
There are several types of drains for you to choose from, depending on your preference.
For example, you could install a french drain, a gravel trench (more aesthetically pleasing), drainage pipe (heavy duty), or an open ditch (all-purpose).
Figuring out which drain layout will serve you best is obviously crucial to the entire process.
If your yard is especially large then you may need to integrate a few different styles into it and see the results you’re hoping for. There may also be a need to do one type in your front lawn and another type in the back.
That’s why it’s so important to take all these steps seriously and assess your yard’s circumstance. Only then will you know which drainage system will work best for you.
5. Get an Expert Involved
You’ve done great up to this point, but if you have little-to-no experience with installing an underground system, then it’s time to seek out professional advice.
Using all the information you’ve gathered, an expert can design a drainage system that will serve your house efficiently for decades.
Don’t put your system’s quality up to chance by doing it yourself and risk the possibility of making a huge (and costly) mistake. Get the professional advice you seek to help you seamlessly get the job done.
Get Your New Drainage System Planned-Out Today!
Now that you know the necessary process to install your new drainage system, get things going in the right direction!
You don’t have to go it alone, hire a professional to walk through the installation process and get yourself a cost-efficient plan in place.
Be sure to read this article on our project engineer hiring process and why it will be the easiest process you’ll ever experience.
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