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What is Drainage?

flooded yard

What comes to mind when you think about landscaping? 

Most people picture well-manicured lawns and neat hedges. Maybe they imagine a bubbling fountain or a crackling outdoor fire pit.

But one of the most important parts of your landscape is out of sight and usually out of mind.

If you want to keep your lawn healthy and your home safe, you need to think about drainage.

Here are the seven most common questions about drainage and how you can prepare your home for winter.

What is drainage and why does it matter?

Spillway-Erosion-Control-Torchwood-Landsaping-Grand-Rapids-Michigan-2-1-400x209First, what is drainage?

When it rains or snows all that water doesn’t just disappear.

Unless it has a place to go, that water sinks into the ground around your home where it can cause a lot of damage.

Too much water can kill your landscape. Stagnant water can harm grass, trees and flowers. Plus, it’s a breeding ground for insects and bacteria.

Not only will the moisture erode your soil, but it can also be a health and safety hazard. Besides, a soggy lawn just feels disgusting.

But even more serious is what improper drainage can do to your home.

If water isn’t properly diverted, it can destroy your home’s foundation. This is incredibly dangerous and can be costly to fix.

How do you collect drainage water?

To keep water from reaching your foundation or entering your basement it can be collected in multiple ways.

The most common way is to use french drains for subsurface and surface water. 

Generally, you want to hook up the downspouts of your house so you can control where that water goes.

Where do you divert drainage?

Not into your house!

The water can be diverted into creeks, rivers, lakes and even into yard cisterns if they’re installed by a developer.

If necessary you can tie it into a storm drain system. But make sure you have the proper permits from the county or township first.

You can also use that collected water to help water your lawn. This will help keep your water bill down. Some people even make rain gardens

What do I do if my yard is flat?

Flat yards can be a challenge because gravity can’t help with water runoff.

But there are other drainage solutions.

If it’s only one spot holding water, some grading will help.

But if it’s more, you can run french drains into an outdoor sump system. That will allow you to move the water pretty much wherever you want. 

What is a french drain?

french drain

A french drain is a channel that is put in the ground. The pipe is hidden just under the surface, but it takes any excess water in the yard and moves it to another spot.

On the outside, the pipe is wrapped with a water-permeable fabric. This lets water in but keeps soil from migrating in and clogging up the pipe.

Inside, the pipe is perforated to collect the water and move it safely away.

While the technology is simple enough, a french drain can be difficult to install. Do it wrong and you might tear up your lawn.

What kind of pipe do I use?

The type of pipe used depends on how much water and weight it will need to carry.

The most common pipe used is a corrugated pipe.

If necessary, you can upgrade to a perforated drainage pipe.

When’s the best time to fix my drainage issues?

Right away!

Winter can really wreak havoc on your yard so make sure you get any drainage issues fixed before the freeze/thaw cycle.

Want to make sure your home and yard is protected today?

Give us a call at (616) 551-0711 and let Torchwood Landscaping answer all your questions right away.