Preparing Your Yard’s Drainage System to Fight the Floods

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Ohio, along with the entire Mid-Western United States, can experience severe storms and flooding year-round. If you are unsure of the kinds of storms that affect your area, contact the local floodplain administrator as soon as possible to find out if you are in a flood-prone area and available options.

Storms and flooding can cause serious damage, fast. Protect your property before the damage starts. Before it has a chance to flood, consider updating the existing yard drainage system. If you don’t have a yard drainage system, you might want to implement some of these options:

Capture and Store Runoff

Rain barrels or cisterns can capture and store rainwater or runoff from gutters for later use, but make sure to check the local regulations; collecting rainwater and runoff are illegal in some places. This may seem like a small-scale solution to a large-scale problem, but cisterns that hold several thousand gallons can help prevent flooding in your yard. Most rain barrels hold about 50 gallons and should be used in conjunction with other measures. However, several-hundred- and thousand-gallon cisterns can provide water to your home.

Depending on the type of soil in the yard, planting a rain garden could help control runoff. A rain garden is a heavily planted and mulched manmade depression in the direct path of the runoff. Beneath the mulch is a deep layer of soil, which covers an optional layer of sand or gravel to store the storm water and let it soak into surrounding soil. Rain gardens can cover problem areas of all shapes and sizes. While rain gardens are very effective, they do require extensive time and excavation.

You can improve the dense structure of the infertile soil found in most urban and suburban yards by using a compost pile. Improved soil structure leads to faster rainwater absorption, decreasing the risk of flooding. Additional runoff capture measures include terracing, soil amendment, and installing a dry well, and not all measures are equally effective across soil types.

Redirect Your Runoff

You can use redirection measures along with or in place of capture and storage methods if there is a vast low-lying area nearby. Digging a swale or ditch can carry runoff to a safer area. A swale lined with stones can prevent soil erosion. Without this lining, a swale is a dry ditch with thick vegetation to protect it. Both can work to redirect the runoff, but a swale is most effective.

Installing a French drain (a perforated pipe lined with fabric, buried shallowly in the soil, and covered with stones) is another common way to redirect runoff. French drain ditches are usually one and a half feet deep by about one foot wide and are available assembled from brands like EZ-Drain. Catch basins, splash blocks, and downspout extensions are other redirection options.

Preventing the trouble floods before the rainy starts will ensure that your drainage system can handle the difficulty of the season. To help you get a system in place, contact the Eco Plumbers, who can stop the troubled waters before they start.

Post by the Eco Plumbers