Backyard Landscaping and Drainage

Backyard Landscaping and Drainage

Where the water table is high, the soils are dense or the land is flat, it’s a must that you consider building a drainage system that works properly. If you don’t have a proper drainage system, then undoubtedly water is going to start collecting and drown expensive plants, undermine structures and turn a large portion of your landscape into a wet swamp. The good news is that this can be easily avoided if you hire a landscape architect.

Are You Dealing With Drainage Issues?

Positive yard drainage is a key to moisture control

If you hire a landscape designer, he’ll first of all carefully analyze the nature of your yard and establish a specific topography regardless of the flatness of the system. When it comes to drainage, ground water also plays a major role in it and it’s directly related to rainfall patterns. So if your area experiences heavy rainfall, then your site can easily be flooded if your drainage system is poorly designed. Because of that, there’s a great risk of severely damaging your property.

Test Your Current Drainage

There’s a simple test you can consider in order to learn more about what’s happening underground. So what you should do is get a shovel and dig a 2ft wide and 2ft deep hole. The top should be filled with water and then carefully observed. If in sixty minutes the water drains away, then your drainage is great.

If it takes half a day for it to drain, then there are problems. Lastly, if it takes more than twenty four hours for the water to drain, you’re dealing with a serious issue that can impact the deep root zone of shrubs and trees.

Problem One: Surface Drainage

A home site with clay soils generally has issues with lingering surface water. In theory, lots are graded to drain so that the O2 in the backyard is going to flow through a swale to the storm drain. However, it seems that not all builders get the grades right and in many cases, water will be trapped and create muddy areas in planting zones and lawns.

So when you hire a landscape designer to create a drainage system for you, he’s going to use surface grading to make sure the fall is right for the drain to work properly.

Problem Two: Underground drainage

If your site has hardpan layers, then it will certainly deal with standing water and poor drainage. In this case, you’ll need to consider a side-wide drainage and grading plan that features an underground system of pipes that are fed by either trench drains or drop inlets. Since plastic piping is quite easy to install these days, using them to move water into the storm drain can be very simple.

Wetland Trees

It could be that you have a yard which has poor drainage or a high water table and in this case it can be pretty hard to find trees that can thrive in this environment.

Wetlands landscaping challenges

Problem Three: Use water loving plants or raise it

Landscaping can become very challenging if the area is a low lying type and has a high water table. During the growing season, the plants rooting in the saturated soil will be denied O2 and therefore begin to rot.

However, there are also plants that originate in wetlands and river bottoms and in this case, it’s safe to say they’re going got thrive in a high water landscape. In this regard, some great choices would be riparian species from swaps, fens and local bogs that are perfectly adapted to your soil and climate.

Other great candidates are trees from other wetlands around the world since they offer a much needed diversity to your landscape.

But if you want to consider a different solution for high water table landscapes, you should raise the planting areas. Yes, no one says this is cheap, but it is indeed a very effective option.

Bear in mind that the raised planter heights are going to range based on what your landscape designer has decided to grow there. For instance, if you want to consider large shrubs and trees, then the size of these planters needs to be bigger for keeping the root crown dry and high.

At the end of the day, the main challenge of your designer is to find an equilibrium between the benefits of his proposed planting and the cost of raised beds.