Floridians know that during the summer, a rainstorm can pour down at any moment. And it’s important for homeowners to be prepared. If your yard doesn’t have proper lawn drainage, storm runoff can collect and cause big problems for your property, from erosion, to harboring insects, to washing out the foundation under your home.
Because we here at Sun Power Lawn Care want your yard to be at its best all year, we asked the lawn drainage system experts at Naturally Green Landscape Design to answer our questions on protecting yards from storm runoff. With this expert lawn drainage advice, all you’ll have to worry about during a storm is remembering your umbrella.
Guest Expert: Kevin Green, Owner, Naturally Green Landscape Design
What types of lawn drainage systems are available to homeowners?
The type that we install the most often is called a French drain. It’s basically an underground pipe that’s enveloped in rock, which channels water away from problem areas. It’s perfect if you’ve got water collecting near your house – you can install a French drain against the entire length of the house to route the water away and protect your foundation.
For properties that have pits or slopes where water tends to pool, we can install catch basins. I remember a customer we had whose backyard was the lowest point in their property, so when it rained, they would get two or three feet of water in their yard. So we brought up a bunch of dirt, graded the land so that it slopes to one specific point, and then put a catch basin there to collect all the water, with a pipe that channeled it away to the city drain system.
But if you’re in an area where you can’t drain water by gravity to a lower point, you can install a sump pump. A sump pump is just a large underground reservoir with a pump in it, and when it reaches a certain water volume, it’ll actually pump that water uphill and away.
How can homeowners decide which system is right for them?
For the most part, it takes a professional to come out. There are a lot of calculations behind the hydrology of moving water around. We do a comprehensive survey of the property so that we can decide the most effective and efficient way to route runoff water away from the house and yard.
What’s involved in getting a drainage system installed?
The property survey requires extensive equipment to take measurements, which we then plot to paper. From there, we use that information to figure out the high points and low points in the yard – if you raise this spot, where is it going to push water to?
Then, there’s the work of actually putting the system in the ground. It’s labor intensive, requiring many man-hours to complete. With a four person team, we typically would take about four days on the property to complete a job.
What can homeowners do if they already have standing water in their yards?
First off, we would remove the standing water using pumps. But from there, the only way to prevent it from happening again would be to install a proper system or reshape the land. What seems like a small problem now can become a giant one – we’ve seen so many homeowners wind up with foundation problems on their house due to water erosion.
Are there methods besides piped drainage systems that homeowners can use to deal with storm runoff?
If your traditional pine or bark mulch is getting washed away by water, consider rock mulch – otherwise known as landscape rock or decorative stone. This will prevent erosion and slow down runoff water so it doesn’t wash everything away with it.
We also find that sloped yards have issues if there’s only sparse and low vegetation, with few roots in the ground. You can put more vegetation in your yard, because the roots will prevent your soil from eroding. Putting in some plantings spaced tightly will help hold your soil in place.
For more information on lawn drainage and the other services provided by Naturally Green Landscape Design, click here. Sun Power Lawn Care works closely with this business and many others throughout the Gainesville and North Central Florida area to create healthy, beautiful lawns using sustainable methods.
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