With how angry Mother Nature seems to be every passing year, flooding problems become more frequent in many homes. But do not fret! There are ways to alleviate these problems by a simple landscaping installation and technique to help keep flooding under control.
Below are several ideas to get you started, whether it be DIY or by hiring a landscaping company to help you out:
(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Table of contents
1. Diverting downspouts to direct water away from the house
- What is it? It is a roof gutter accessory to redirect water into a specific location, whether into a rain garden or in a drain leading away from the house.
- How does it work? It works like an extended pipe that routes excess water from the rain gutter and dumps it out some distance away from the house’s sides. Just make sure the existing downspout isn’t clogged; otherwise, it wouldn’t work as well.
- When should you use it? When the cause of your flooding is water runoff from rain gutters, and it is ruining your home’s foundation, it’s a good idea to install a diverting downspout.
- Can you DIY it? Yes, but I highly suggest hiring a professional to do it for you. It involves a lot of trying to find the perfect pipe that will fit your downspout and then making the dang thing fit like a jigsaw puzzle that refuses to comply with your demands. It’s a skilled trade, really.
2. Rain garden
- What is it? It is a low-level garden with high water-tolerant plants, bordered by a raised barrier called a berm.
- How does it work? Rainwater is directed or collected in this garden, where it soaks through the soil, holding it for 24 hours. It’s a great garden that utilizes the rainwater runoffs and nourishes the plants, preventing soil erosion. Another bonus is that it requires little to no maintenance too!
- When should you use it? If there’s a particular area(s) in your yard that tends to get flooded, digging a hole and creating a rain garden would be the best way to go.
- Can you DIY it? Yes! It can be easily done as long as you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. However, be sure to call up your local utility companies to send someone over and mark where the utility lines are. This way, you can situate your rain garden away from any utility lines or septic tanks to prevent damages. Also, ensure it is a few feet away from your house as well to avoid any overflow that might flood your basement and foundation.
Prepare the following items:
- Non-invasive, native plants that love soaking in water and will develop deep roots.
- A spade
- A rope
- Optional: Gravel mulch
Important note: Make sure to check your garden’s soil type. If it’s the porous type and will absorb water after 48 hours, you’re good to go! But if it isn’t, then a rain garden is out of the question for you to make. Check out this link to find out what kind of soil you have!
Here’s how to get you started:
- Using the rope, line up where you’ll be digging your rain garden. Go for any shape you like!
- With your spade, start digging the ground until you’re about 4-10 inches deep. Make sure the bottom is nice and level. Note: The depth level will highly depend on how much runoff the specific area tends to get.
- With the excess soil you’ve dug up, create a berm around the rain garden. If it is on sloped ground, place the berm downhill to prevent water from escaping.
- Arrange your chosen plants in the following sections of your rain garden:
- Center of the garden – water-tolerant plants such as soft rush, tussock sedge, common arrowhead, and blue flag iris.
- Edges and slopes of the garden – semi-water-tolerant plants like sweet grass and great blue lobelia.
- Optional but recommended: Spread gravel mulch all over the bottom of the rain garden to help with additional drainage.
3. Catch basin
- What is it? It’s basically a storm drain that you see in public areas where a questionable clown may be hiding, but you can also install one around your home. The storm drain, not the clown …
- How does it work? Like storm drains, it is installed at the lowest part on your property to drain water runoff. It usually comes with grates specifically to block off large debris from entering the drain. The runoff is carried off to a reservoir or treatment facility, although some are used to store rainwater.
- When should you use it? When your yard tends to get so flooded like a lake, even a rain garden won’t help. Installing a catch basin will act like a bathtub drain, getting rid of that accumulated water.
- Can you DIY it? Absolutely not. This is some heavy landscaping installation that you need to leave up to the pros, including maintenance.
- What is it? It is usually a natural depression on a sloped ground that can be dug up to form a channel or weighed down further with heavy rocks.
- How does it work? It redirects water, specifically in sloped properties, towards a dry well, a catch basin, a rain garden, or somewhere safe where water should be deposited.
- When should you use it? When water is streaming down your property due to the sloped ground and flooding other areas.
- Can you DIY it? Yes! Although make sure you’re not digging or weighing down above any utility or pipelines. Again, call up your utility companies to have them mark these down for you to avoid. There’s also the importance of where you’re directing the runoff, so make sure it is not being deposited onto another property but directly into a water draining system.
Here’s what you can do:
- Dig a shallow trench to create a path for the runoff to flow into the drainage system.
- Add more rocks to the natural contours of the sloped ground.
- Place plants with deep roots on the slopes to absorb some of the runoff.
5. French drain
- What is it? Also known as a drain rock column, it is an underground drain pipe designed to carry water away from the property.
- How does it work? Water drains down into the soil where the drainpipe is planted to deposit the excess water somewhere safe and away from the flooded area. The drainpipe itself is permeable for this to work and usually weighed down with gravel mulch for drainage.
- When should you use it? When there are specific extended areas where the water is pooling, like driveways and gutters.
- Can you DIY it? Yes, but I highly suggest you hire a professional to do it for you. Because you may not have the permit to dig up your lawn or install it and it’s generally safer to leave it up to the pros to do it.
6. Gravel driveways
- What is it? Rather than a cemented or asphalt driveway in which runoff can cascade off, gravel driveways absorb the runoff into the ground instead.
- How does it work? The porosity of the gravel used makes it a viable drainage system for runoff to be deposited into the ground.
- When should you use it? When the cause of your flooding is primarily caused by the driveway, then it’s probably time to change things up.
- Can you DIY it? Definitely not. You’ll need to leave this up to the pros! This is actually a more complex project than it might appear and obviously would be quite laborious without heavy equipment.
7. Retaining walls or natural barriers
- What is it? Retaining walls or natural barriers act as a shield to prevent your home from getting flooded with runoff and reduce water damages.
- How does it work? Retaining walls usually just straight up block water from seeping, while natural barriers like tall grass can redirect the water towards your water-tolerant plants.
- When should you use it? When water tends to pool too close to your home’s foundations.
- Can you DIY it? Definitely not; you need an expert plant and landscape designer and contractor to help you work this problem out.
8. Dry streambeds
- What is it? It’s similar to a swale, but it is lined with pebbles to create a streambed to aid in drainage.
- How does it work? It follows the natural direction of where your runoff tends to come from and slows it down by absorbing the water instead.
- When should you use it? It applies to any scenario, provided that the runoff is directed away from the yard and into a proper drainage system.
- Can you DIY it? Yes! It’s pretty simple to get done; you might even consider doing it as a DIY project.
Prepare the following items:
- Large rocks or pebbles of your choice to decorate the streambed.
- A spade.
- Landscape fabric.
- Landscape staples.
- 5 lbs of gravel mulch.
- Optional: Non-invasive, water-tolerant native plants.
Here’s how you can get started:
- Observe where the natural direction of the runoff usually goes from and to. Mark these out with a few rocks.
- Dig a shallow trench and get rid of any plants in the marked area. Ensure that the end of the streambed leads to a drainage system.
- Mound the excess soil along the streambed like a berm, so the water doesn’t escape.
- Place landscape fabric along the trench and secure them with landscape staples. This will prevent weeds from springing up.
- Fill the trench with a layer of gravel mulch.
- Top the trench off with your chosen pebbles and rocks all over the dry streambed.
- Optional: place plants and other decorative items alongside the streambed for aesthetic reasons.
9. Level a sloping yard to prevent water from flooding in
- What is it? This requires mounting dirt or otherwise around your yard so water slopes away from the home. Also known as “grading”
- How does it work? By locating the high and low ground on a property, the ground is graded, so no water flows towards the home’s foundation.
- When should you use it? When your home is prone to flooding due to the sloping nature of the property.
- Can you DIY it? Definitely not; the pros will know what they are doing here, and you will need their expertise to make sure it works.
All in all, an easily flooded area can be dealt with using simple landscaping ideas that you can even implement yourself. With some help and construction, you can say goodbye to those wet days when you have to wear boots around the property to stay dry.
Leave a Reply