Gardening & Landscaping
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Intro and french drain question...

Hi girls! I'm new to this board, and completely inexperienced with any gardening/landscaping since me and hubby always have lived in a place where there was either no grass, or the most we had to do was help out the landlord by mowing the lawn every once in a while... Anyway, we recently bought a new house, and moved in when there was tons of snow on the ground. Now that the snow is melting, we see that the backyard has a drainage issue, with a huge accumulation of water right in the middle and off to one side. We asked our neighbors about their experience, and the people across the street said that the best way to handle this is to install a french drain. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and it looks like its like a channel with rocks to kinda get water going where you want it to. Does anyone have any experience with these? Will a french drain on the side of the house stop the water from accumulating in the middle of the yard? Is there a way to do this with pipes or something? Neither me nor hubby know what we're doing when it comes to this stuff...any advice is appreciated!
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Re: Intro and french drain question...

  • If you have no idea what you are doing, I would call a professional.  A French drain can improve your drainage problem, but you'll need to know where to put it to have the biggest effect and what type of French drain system to use given your issue.  It will also be a lot of work and is easier done if you have the equipment to dig a trench.
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  • image alliapistor:
    If you have no idea what you are doing, I would call a professional.  A French drain can improve your drainage problem, but you'll need to know where to put it to have the biggest effect and what type of French drain system to use given your issue.  It will also be a lot of work and is easier done if you have the equipment to dig a trench.

    Ditto. Call a professional to do it. They will come out and assess your yard to figure out how to best install the drain. We had one done a year and a half ago. We've been very pleased. The drain is hidden by a dry creek bed in our yard, and is connected to the downspouts on our house. The drains run alongside the side of our house and then out to the curb.

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  • I built one on an episode of Ask This Old House in 2005.
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  • It depends.

    The back of our house butts up against a forest, which also happens to be the lowest lying area around the neighborhood.  In fact, the forest functions as water drainage for four different neighborhoods.

    In the spring, we get some water the flows towards the woods between our property lines, and a couple of other little muddy areas/puddly areas.  It's gone by early summer.

    A french drain is not an option for our yard because of the quantity of tree roots.  The roots love the water, so they tend to grow into the french drain, which clogs it.  It's pretty pricy to set one up, too.  So, regrading is the way to go for us.  The goal is to add dirt/remove dirt strategically to make sure that it's not puddling in certain areas.

    The one thing you want to make sure of when you spread dirt around your yard is to make certain that there's a gentle slope AWAY from the house.

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