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Beginner Landscaping: Best way to prevent drainage problem

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Forum: Beginner LandscapingReplies: 13, Views: 111
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lucky07
Flint, TX

June 16, 2007
5:07 PM

Post #3622125

We built a new house last year and are now trying to get the yard in. Our property is quite a bit lower than our neighbors and we get all of the runoff water. We had dirt hauled in, planted some centipede grass in area, and seeded some with centipede and bermuda which has not had time to come up. As I write it is raining, Flint, Texas, and all of the soil is coming down the hill, has washed dirt from under the centipede we planted and it is caving in. What type of retainer can we build to keep it from washing or should we do a ground cover of some sort.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

June 16, 2007
7:10 PM

Post #3622429

Can you post some pictures of the area? That'll help us give you the best advice. Depending on where the low spot is, you might want to consider having a drainage system installed so that you don't end up with water by your foundation. There are multiple ways to stop the soil from washing down the hill, but if there's a low spot up against the house the water will still end up there to some degree and can cause problems unless you put a drainage system in. To stop the dirt washing down the hill, there are several things you can do but a lot depends on how steep the hill is. You may be able to just throw mulch on top of it, or you can plant groundcover (that won't totally solve the problem until it grows in though, so you should probably mulch around the groundcover too), or you could build retaining walls.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

June 18, 2007
3:41 AM

Post #3628066

Hi Lucky, you sure your neighbour is allowed to let the RAIN water shed down your way without trying to halt it flooding into your area, it must be worth a check with your gov department, yes as Ecrane said, there are several ways to hold the water run off at bay, the problem is, it might backfill whatever structure you build and even heavier water will come towards you if it decides to breach whatever you put in to slow it, stop it or divert it, so pics would help a lot as you need to do it right and only once. hope some of us can help you as this must cause you sleepless nights, not to mention loss of home if not done properly, good luck, Weenel.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

June 18, 2007
3:55 AM

Post #3628098

I not positive of the laws in Texas, but most places in the US natural drainage of water down a hill is to be expected and the uphill neighbor is not responsible for any damage caused to downhill neighbor by the natural flow of water. But, the uphill neighbor isn't allowed to make any changes on their property that result in diverting water downhill in a way that it wouldn't have flowed there naturally, if they do that then you can force them to make changes.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

June 22, 2007
2:53 AM

Post #3643780

What a bummer eh, WeeNel.
Lenka_
Princeton, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 22, 2007
4:32 PM

Post #3645561

I would like to join in on the conversation. I am in Princeton, Texas. It's been raining like crazy for a few weeks on and off. And during past few days we have gotten some pretty heavy rains which caused my nearly 2 acre lot to become a muddy mess with standing water here and there. But the biggest problem is that the sellers of my house placed a flowerbed on one side of the house and the soil covers the foundation completely so the weep holes are at the soil level. There is no gutter on that side of the house, so needless to say that when we got 4 inches of rain on Monday the water raised in that flowerbed and flooded two rooms and a bathroom at my house. Did I mention that I bought this house in April 2007??? I have no flood insurance and my homeowners does not cover this - so I have to fix it myself...
I tried digging a trench to drain the water and it seems like I actually made it worse- my house is lower than my neighbors...so when it rained again today I got more water coming into the flowerbed from roof and from the trench! I got a shovel and started moving the dirt out of the flowerbed at 5AM...Before I went to work I removed quite a bit of soil from that flowerbed and exposed about half an inch of foundation but the water would not go away as much as I expected it would. So if it rained during the day I am afraid to imagine what I will come back to...

My question: how can I correct the problem on that particular flowerbed as well as throughout my property so the water drains properly? I know the partial answer is to amend the clay soil I have everywhere. I am in the process of setting up a garden there and it takes time so it will be a while until I have amended some of that soil and corrected the drainage issue. But this issue around the house has to get fixed. I know I have to install gutters everywhere, not just on that side of the house. But the water is also standing in the grass on that side (I have some sod around the house). I have a feeling that the seller tried to fix the issue by bringing more soil and placing sod over it. However, even if his intention was to correct the issue - he actually made it worse as well.

Someone suggested I install french drains on that bed, but where would I lead them...all the way through the sod into the area where it could drain around the house... But that's a few feet long and I have to dig through the sod - not fun! Well, none of this is or will be fun.

Any assistance and advice is greatly appreciated!
Lena.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

June 22, 2007
11:59 PM

Post #3646980

Honestly, drainage is tricky so if I were you, I would call in the pros and have them do it. They'll know exactly how to do it and how to route the excess water into the storm sewer or something. The problem with doing things like this yourself is that it's very easy to mess up and make things worse than they were, not something you want to take a chance with!

You may also be able to go after the sellers, in most places they are required to disclose any sort of flooding/water damage, and I'm assuming if you are having problems this year, they probably had problems last year and if you weren't told about it when you bought the house, you may be able to force them to pay some of the cost of fixing the drainage.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

June 23, 2007
1:19 AM

Post #3647295

Hi Lucky 07, or should we call it UNlucky 07, boy what a bummer, as you have no pics sent in, it is hard to even imagine the mess you find yourself in, where the water route is from or how far away you are from main drainage, I do strongly agree with Ecrane though, get your lawyer to do a search on the property and find out about floods and when last these happened, I would agree that your last owners have been very aware of drainage probs and tried to do a fast, cheap and at worse, dangerous job of tackling the problen, (did a survayer not pick this up whene he checked the house over for you when you purchased it) anyway, soil should never be placed anywhere near the air vents/weep holes, as you find to your cost, this is exactly why, as a temp measure I guess you would have to trench from where the water is starting it's flow from your higher neighbours and trnch it away from your house so it will flow away into the proper drains or well away from your home, the flower bed on a temp measure is hard, the water is from your roof, everytime it rains, the prob will keep comming back, I would think you need to remove all the high earth all around your home and have it laid on a slope away from your home. the next thing you need to consider, as Ecrane has said, get some profesional help from a land survayer or the likes, also get a few different ones to look at the situation and pick their brains when they call, as you will be surprised at all the different ideas they will come up with, also costings, this is not a job for the faint hearted and as Ecrane pointed out, to do it yourself could make matters even more disasterous, find out how you stand leagaly with the old owners and take pictures of the cause, the damage and the results, IF it were to go to court, you need to produce photographic evidence, so take pic's of all the stuff they have added to the foundation line and the inside flooding also. wish I could help you more, but best get advice from legal and experts, if you moved in April this year, it is only months, so act now, dont be fobbed off with things like an act of God, as this has been an old problem and will be an ongoing one, every time it rains, your home could be at risk, good luck WeeNel.
lucky07
Flint, TX

June 26, 2007
7:49 PM

Post #3661500

I would say I am Unlucky07 as I sat here today and watched about an 1 1/2 in. rain in an hour and all the trenches coming down the hill. My husband has called a professional and he is to come out on Saturday. We decided it was best to just do that and not do anything else until we got someone to look at it. Thanks for all the help.
kyjoy
Frankfort, KY

June 26, 2007
11:02 PM

Post #3662199

In Frankfort, KY the water from your property cannot damage another's property. For example, my neighbors owned a dance studio which they operated out of their house. When the vacant lot between our houses was blacktopped by them for parking, the water drained downhill and damaged my property. They had to dig up the blacktop and replace it with gravel, plus pay a fine. In my new house when my neighbor drained his swimming pool which was uphill from my backyard, it destroyed my backyard. He had to have it graded, replace the plants, and reroute his drainage to go around my property, plus pay a fine.
Lenka_
Princeton, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 29, 2007
8:41 PM

Post #3676090

Wow...at least some justice...
Did you have to go to small claims court to get the neighbor to cooperate or got the city involed?
Len123
Adrian, MO
(Zone 6a)

July 5, 2007
12:47 AM

Post #3696376

we've had the most rain for this time of year in recorded history and i'm sure that probably applies to TX this year as well. so this has really been an unusual year.
there are places that have been flooded that never have been. so i don't think legal recourse will get you anywhere. I doubt that there is anything anyone can do right now until the ground dries out a little. other than sandbag if it's that serious.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

July 5, 2007
3:01 AM

Post #3696908

Sand bags might be just the answer for temp relief from the rain getting into the house, I know it is unusual weather, and all over the world we are hearing of either drought, floods or cold, but never the less, legal advice wont cost a lot if anything for a one off answer to the question, has a neighbour got any responsibility for water shedding off his lot onto someone elses, I think they have or else we would be able to just do whatever we like regardless of the effect it has on anyone else, knowing that every now and again we get freak weather is not an excuse to ignore it because you live in a higher area of land, that floods below you, well thats my high horse tied up for a while, good luck anyway, lucky, hope the guy who calls can give you some good advice to get you on the right tracks. WeeNel.
kyjoy
Frankfort, KY

July 5, 2007
6:46 PM

Post #3699043

I went before the city commission. In both cases. I represented myself. The opposing parties hired lawyers. The commission ruled in my favor both times. In the swimming pool case, their lawyer appologized to me and said he would never have taken this case had he known I was the damagee.

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