More than four years after buying the place, I finally tackled the backyard. I decided I could spend my money on suing the town or spend the same amount fixing the problem myself. I found a wonderful excavator who figured out what was going on. He regraded, took down more than 40 trees, and hauled in 32 cubic yards of topsoil. With all the ground-up tree trimmings and the topsoil, we built three berms across the back of my property to stem the floods. There's an opening where the runoff flows in and a contour to my yard, so the water skirts the house and makes its way into a huge dry well. It's not a perfect solution; last July we had 13 inches of rain in two hours, and everyone flooded. But it's much, much better.