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I am a first time home owner in Cleveland, Ohio. I have about 3,500 square feet of property in the backyard. Unknown to me, the backyard floods... I mean FLOODS. My dog drinks the water and gets sick from it. I had an estimate and the gentleman said I would need a plethora of French Drains. However the problem is this:

there is no where for the french drain to drain into. The cost is astronomically high because I nsed several drains, a tree cut down and other trees possibly cut down because removing the soil and doing that much work to the large area of would mess with the roots and the trees have the potential of dying.

Are there any suggestions to where the drains could run to? or how to maybe turn this into like a little pond or something? Is that possible? There are several inches of standing water in the majority of backyard and it is creeping up towards the house (there is a slight decline in the backyard but the higher area is still quite marshy).

Any tips would be much appreciated. It was estimated that to do everything, tree cutting, drains, the amount of soil, sand, rock and removal of my fence for the large equipment to get back there would be nearly $15,000.00. but i also had a more realistic one tell me about $8,000.00. I am looking to have a conservative price without sacrificing quality. I would rather pay a little more and have it done correctly and problem solve, than go about it a cheap way and have problems in like 3 years all over again.



A. Spruce
Re: Flooding

French drains aren't going to cure your problem, you have to either take care of the source water OR you have to find a way to drain it to natural or municipal runoff systems.

1 - Are you lower than your neighbors?
2 - Are they allowing drainage or diverting drainage to your property? This is illegal in most jurisdictions
3 - Are you higher than the street? If so, either regrade the soil to naturally sluff the water to the street, or install a drain line. Make sure that this is allowable in your jurisdiction, sometimes municipalities don't want your runoff into their systems.

Re: Flooding

Thanks for the advice -- I am higher than my street. And my neighbors are a little higher than my yard as well. The previous owners tried to put in french drain and covered it with rocks. It floods whenever it rains and all the snow that we got this year in Cleveland didn't help. However, my neighbors really don't suffer like i do.

here is a picture for good reference.

And to make sure i understand your suggestion: I could possibly have it drain from the backyard, take it to the front and have it go in the street if that is allowed?
And without a doubt i cannot have it diverted to the neighbors, if only. Im waiting to hear back if there is something near my house to run it off to.

A. Spruce
Re: Flooding

If water is coming from the neighbors, it is technically their responsibility to divert it from your property, whether or not you'll get their help will depend on what your relationship with them is like and what kind of people they are. If they don't help, you could easily install a drain line or drainage "trough" along that side of the house, between your properties to catch the water and direct it forward to the street.

JMarlowe wrote:

And to make sure i understand your suggestion: I could possibly have it drain from the backyard, take it to the front and have it go in the street if that is allowed?

Yes, if your municipality allows you to divert your runoff to the street, without it causing any safety issues, then you may do so. I don't live in a freezing climate, so I typically put the drain outlet at the edge of the yard and the small amount of water that exits will either dissipate in the grass or wash across the sidewalk into the gutter. The problem with this in a freezing climate would be the ice sheet across the sidewalk. You'd have to get permission to run the drain under the sidewalk to the gutter.

Re: Flooding

French drains are just holes in the ground filled with rocks. Once the spaces between the rocks are filled with water you'll get flooding.

If you bury pipes do NOT use the black flex stuff as that clogs. Do NOT use the hard pipe with holes in it as they clog.

Do use surface drainage whenever possible. If you have to, add a hard surface (driveway, walkway, cement gully) for the excess water to run over. Hard surfaces are far easier to keep clear over grass or rocks or gravel.

Re: Flooding

i have a similar issue. I had the trees removed (they were unhealthy) and contacted a landscaper friend. He told me about a program in my county that is offered at a discount to help home owners manage water drainage on their property. They came out and put a swale (fancy name for a ditch) along the back and one side of my yard and drains to the street. it helped some. I mean, it turns out my house was basically built on wetlands so my yard is still mushy, and the swale offers its own challenges, but it wasn't terribly expensive and I no longer have a swimming pool as a yard. you might have a similar program in your area.

A. Spruce
Re: Flooding
erikamc wrote:

iThey came out and put a swale (fancy name for a ditch) along the back and one side of my yard and drains to the street.

I have used this method to deal with water under a house. The swale was cut lower than the ground under the house, providing the water a place to drain to, as well as redirect water that would have otherwise gone under the house. When I cut in mine, I used a gentle slope on the sides and top lips then reseeded grass. You could see the depression where the swale was, but it was still useable lawn AND mowable

Another means that is similar would be to actually cut a ditch and fill it with river rock. Many have used this method to add appeal to their landscape with a 'dry creek', yet get the added drainage the need.

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