How to fix landscape drainage issues

Basement Flooding and Landscape Drainage

Landscape Drainage 101

Spring Thaws and Summer Storms = Wet Basement

Every year, one of the top pain points facing our clients is landscape drainage. Whether caused by melting snow or heavy rainfall, not only can uncontrolled water create soggy areas in your lawn, it can also cause serious damage to your home. So, how do you prevent a flooded backyard or basement?

Flooded Minnesota backyard in early spring.

Landscape design solutions for water drainage

The Golden Rule of landscape drainage is to control water at the base of your home. Two very basic things will do most of the work: grading and gutters. The combination of gutters-downspouts-catch basins will direct water away from the home to rain gardens, underground drainage systems, or simply to a pop-up farther out in the yard where the water drains easily. A downspout without an extender or splashblock is worse than no downspout at all. It is depositing the huge volume of rainwater from the roof in a single concentrated location near the basement.

Luxury backyard landscape design with gardens and sloped grade leading to a dry creek bed for drainage.

Making the Grade

When we say grading, we aren’t talking about getting an A+ on your spelling test. We are talking about the slope of the ground near the exterior of your home. Simply, if the ground slopes towards your home, any water that is not absorbed into the ground will run towards your foundation and could infiltrate your basement.

The fix for improper grading is to add volume near your home to reverse the slope and channel water away. It doesn’t have to be dramatic – even a gentle slope will do. In some neighborhoods, homes are built too close together to allow for proper grading. In these cases, sculpting the land so that water flows away from your home and your neighbor’s can take a little bit of finesse.

Permeable paver patio with contrasting paver textures and styles.

Top-notch hardscape installation

Proper grading isn’t just important for your yard – patios and walkways also must be installed to keep water flowing downhill and away from your home. It’s harder than it looks to lay a 1,000 square foot patio at just the right angle – and meet hardscape and runoff rules and regulations. You can take your hardscape to the next level with permeable pavers. Permeable pavers are as strong as regular pavers but are porous and allow water to filter through patios and walkways.

Backyard landscape on a hill with a dry creek bed cutting through it to channel rain water.

Install Swales and dry creeks. Plant trees and gardens.

Beyond adjusting the grade, other solutions for redirecting water include installing swales, dry creek beds, and underground drain systems. Planting trees and rain gardens can reduce storm runoff by slurping up that extra water into their root systems. Plants with deep roots can also aerate the soil, creating space for falling water to absorb into the soil – not run off into the street or your foundation.

Be Proactive in the Winter, Call Southview in the Spring.

Something you can do without calling your contractor? Keep a five-foot snow-free moat around your home in the winter, and don’t hesitate to call Southview Design in the spring.

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Beautiful solutions to a troubling problem. Whether it's pooling water or a wet basement, we can fix it.

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