Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>Backyard/Water Pit Drainage
4 posts / 0 new
Last post
Backyard/Water Pit Drainage

We bought this house new last year, the backyard was fully sodded and landscaped. When winter came we realized that we had a major drainage problem. Even a few hours worth of rain can leave a small pond back there for days. If it is heavy rain for days, it nearly comes to the house and is about 4 inches deep.

What are the choices to keep this ground dry? Build it up and let the water go to other neighbors yard? Dig a trench from the back to the front and drain into the road? I know there are rules and regulations but we can't keep it this way, we'll be eaten alive by mosquitos.

A. Spruce
Re: Backyard/Water Pit Drainage

You're right, there are regulations on how you can drain your property. It is never acceptable to allow your property to drain to the neighbors yard. The best would be to trench and install drainage to the street, where the municipal storm system could handle it. You could also regrade your yard to divert the water around the house and out to the street. This will work great, particularly if you're well above street level. If you're below street level, then a pump can be installed to get the water up to the roadway.

Re: Backyard/Water Pit Drainage

Thanks for the reply, I figured that the trench would be most practical. Our house is on an upgrade above the street level so I think we could do a trench fairly well. That raises the question, is this a "Do It Yourself" or hire a professional. I think the distance may be around 200ft starting at a low point in the ground going up a little and then back down towards the street.

Would a trench for this application consist of a ditch filled with rock at a constant downgrade or a specialty pipe etc...?

We have tried to contact several "landscaping & irrigation" companies in our area and not a single one has retured our call.
How's that for recession? LoL

A. Spruce
Re: Backyard/Water Pit Drainage

If you're are reasonably handy and can run power equipment, it's absolutely a DIY'r type job. I would recommend a combination of regrading and a drainage system. Regrade the yard to drain to one side, or both if necessary, then pipe it to the front with 3" perforated tubing.

To regrade it would be easiest to use a small tractor with a rototiller and bucket to break up and move the material to the center of the yard. This is also an excellent time to amend the soil with organic material if you've got bad soil (likely, as evidenced from the standing water ) Crown the yard in the middle so that the water naturally sheds to the sides.

With a trencher you'll cut a trench from the backyard to the street. The trick here is that the start of the trench in the back must be at least several inches higher than the outlet at the street. 1/4" per foot is optimal, though 1/8" will be sufficient. Avoid any high/low spots in the trench that will cause water to collect along the length of the drain. You can use a builders level (aka transit ), water level, string level, even a long board with a standard level to gauge your trench fall.

The easiest drain tube to use is 3" black ABS perforated tubing. It's light weigh, comes in 100' rolls, and all the connectors are snap fit. If you're running near the house foundation or other water sensitive areas, then use solid tubing in these areas and the perf tube only out in the yard areas (front and back ) for the collection and dissipation of water. In the back yard you can use receptacle points OR create a trough for the water to collect, then percolate through the soil to the drainage tube. I prefer the receptacle points so that the tubing can be cleaned out if/when necessary. If you go the percolation route, then put pea gravel over the tubing so the water has an easier time getting to the pipe. When you get out to the street, if you're in a non-freezing climate, then you can up-turn the drain with a bubbler cap for the water to perk out at the edge of the street/walkway and it will find it's own way to the gutter. If you are in a freeze zone, then you may have to petition the city to remove a section of sidewalk and install the drain directly to the gutter.

Note: When using any type of digging equipment you must be extremely careful of any buried utilities, sprinkler systems, etc. There is a free service that will come out and mark everything before you start digging. Your local building department will have the number. If you don't use them and you hit something, you'll be liable for the damages.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.