Water is the key to any successful landscape, but it can also destroy our efforts if it goes to the wrong place. A soggy garden, dead trees, eroding patios, sunken turf, and even a damaged foundation may all be signs of an underlying drainage problem. If left unresolved, it may undermine all of our best work and intentions. Yet once discovered, it allows us to fix the problems and even gives us the chance to redesign our landscape in new ways!
Common Drainage Issues
Water In Your Basement
If you find water repeatedly seeping into your basement, it’s likely a sign of a drainage problem. This may be caused by improper grading around your home or another issue below ground that should be investigated. The solution may be as simple as regrading, adding a catch basin and pipes below the surface, or it may present an opportunity for a more elaborate redesign.
Dead Trees, Grass, and Plants
Is there a section of your flower bed where plants don’t seem to flourish? A piece of lawn that refuses to grow? Or trees that are suffering even with ample water? Your plants may be telling you something about your drainage. Excess water may be drowning their roots. Working with a landscape designer, you can redirect the water and help your unproductive sites thrive again.
Erosion and Depressions in Landscape
Does silt or mulch always spill onto the pathways when it rains? This messy inconvenience may be caused by something simple, like a blocked downspout, or it could be a sign of a more significant drainage issue. Erosion in your garden beds, fissures, and depressions in the landscape may also stem from improper water flow. These are common problems you can easily fix before all your mulch washes away.
Clogged gutters and drain pipes can make water spill and pool onto plants and hard surfaces. They may be blocked by a buildup of pine needles, leaves, bird nests, or a wayward baseball. If you suspect a blockage but can’t see one for sure, it’s best to grab an umbrella next time it rains and check your gutters and downspouts for proper flow. Ideally, they should direct water downhill, away from your home.
Soggy turf or gardens may be caused by soil composition rather than an issue with slope. Clay soils hold water and prevent drainage, while sandy soils let water pass through. One method for testing your soil is to dig a small hole and fill it with water. If it takes more than 12 hours to drain, you may have a problem. Clay soil can be amended with sand, gravel, or organic matter to improve the drainage. This solution can help your plants recover as well.
Pooling and Erosion of Paved Surfaces
Sometimes your patio, driveway, or deck has not been appropriately graded. They may be directing water back towards the house or collecting it at a spot where it pools. This problem may be an opportunity to finally move forward with that new patio design you’ve been considering!
Downhill From the Neighbors
It may be that water is flowing onto your property from the neighbor’s yard. While there may be nothing you can do on their property, you can redesign your yard to direct the water where you want it to go.
Transforming a Problem into an Opportunity
Proper water flow is the backbone of every good landscape design. When drainage is not working for you, you have the opportunity to make a change in your landscape. In some situations, you may opt to tackle the problem directly, like installing a catch basin, drain, dry well, or berm. Alternatively, a team of qualified landscapers can help you correct the grading around your house. If you’ve already been dreaming of changing up your outdoor space, you might use the problem as inspiration to improve the whole landscape. You could add a pond, creek bed, swale, or other water feature. You can also redo your hardscapes by incorporating the beauty of paving stone while solving your drainage problem at the same time.
Whether you have water undermining your foundation or a soggy garden bed, our expert landscaping team can help. With 70 years of experience in the Quad Cities, we’re here to help you solve your water problems and create a landscape that you love!