Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>Yard and garage get flooded...make it stop!
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Yard and garage get flooded...make it stop!

Hi. We have a detached garage that has water seep in when it rains heavy, mainly because of all the water running over from our next door neighbor's yard. I had put some boards along the line a few years ago to try and direct the water another direction and that worked for a while, but now a lot of mud and crap from his yard has built up against the wood making it almost pointless. We have a 3ft wide area of gravel between our garage and his yard, but the garage still gets standing water in it. That's problem number 1.

Our other issue is the opposite side of the garage...our yard. Our house sits up about 3ft higher than the yard (slight hill when you walk out the back door). The yard for the neighbors behind us is probably more like 5 or 6 feet higher than our yard. There used to be a creek where our back yard is...a long time ago. Anyways, now whenever it rains heavy or a lot of snow melts, etc. our yard turns to a big sloppy mess and even involves giant puddles at times. It gets water from our drive, neighboring homes, and our garage runoff. There's a city ordinance (because of some annoying former neighbor) that says we can't have gutters on detached garages so we can't do anything to catch the rainwater off our garage. Any suggestions?? I'd like to get a rain barrel, but if I can't get a gutter and downspout, there's no point. Please help!

Re: Yard and garage get flooded...make it stop!

I would recommend as a first step that you try to get as much authoritative information on this matter as possible---there are enough issues here that involve local ordinances, town laws, and landscaping issues and procedures, and it seems that you have been wrestling with this set of problems for a long time.

A first step might be to have several local landscaping contractors (Yellow Pages) over to assess the situation & give you an estimate of what some of the work would entail & what it would cost; the main benefit to this is that they would be able to tell you (mostly free advice) not only what has to be done to correct the flooding problems, but also you would benefit from their knowledge of local laws & ordinances that would avoid any problems with next-door neighbors; you have to find out what you CAN DO in this particular situation, and what you CAN'T DO, as well as learn what will work for you in regards to resolving the water problems.

Re: Yard and garage get flooded...make it stop!

You may want to look into getting some sort of varience for the gutters especially if you can prove to the municipality the current conditions are creating a hardship for you.

Perhaps adding a yard drain between the garage and your neighbors property would help. It could carry the water to the local storm sewer if you have one.

Re: Yard and garage get flooded...make it stop!

I don't disagree with prev. advice regarding variances, ordinances, & town laws. I will say that from my exp. you'd be better served to solve this prob. w/out bureaucratic involvement if you can. By all means, obey the law/covenants etc., but local officials getting involved is going to make solving your prob. take longer & I wouldn't be surprised if it made it more expensive as well.

Water will find a way. If there was a creek in your backyard before your home was built, it sounds as if the water is just draining the same way it always has. Is there a way to turn this liability into an asset with a landscaping solution, i.e. a stone swale or berm, etc.?

In the past I've solved some sim. prob. myself by watching where the water wants to go when the puddles are forming & helping it by making it easier with my own shovel. In your sit. you need something (like a swale) outside your garage that's lower & w/ a slope to keep taking the water away from your det.gar. I've installed drains, swales (ment. above), & once created a shallow retention area lower than my home for the water to go until it evaporated or drained. These were diif't homes in diff't towns and neighborhoods. My position was that it was just landscaping, so I didn't ask for permission and had no probs. from town off. or neighbors. I've also had to hire contractors and get official blessings & it wasted time and money.

If you need to hire someone to do this for you do it, but have an idea what you want them to do for you before they come over. Also, keep in mind that if you ask five diff't people how to deal w/ this issue you may get 5 differing answers. There's more than one way to skin a cat and cert. more than one way to solve your water prob. here. Keep doing your due diligence, keep it as simple as you can, & you'll solve your prob. sooner than later.

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