standing water in yard- trying to work drainage around a tree / high point

Discussion in 'At the Workshop' started by Niagara, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    evenin' folks. my yard is pie shaped (insert favourite pie flavour here) and is 300 feet across the back. We have a large 24" dia oak tree that is very close to the back/centre of the property. Town planned drainage 'should' be E-W and tie into a sloping swale to get to the town main drainage two lots down. My neighbour to the west has issues with standing water too especially in winter / spring same as I have. Last year he installed 'o' pipe and buried it to the edge of my property and said if I want to tie in I'm welcome to do so.
    The issue I have is that my yard is high in the middle due to this oak and I have no intention of cutting it down so I've got to work with or around it. Essentially it creates the scenario whereby the water flows to the low spots in both corners. The east side of the tree has no where for the water to go and it pools, the west side I will work on getting some flow going the right way and tying in to the drain pipe with wither a swale or pipe.

    We've thought about just digging a pond, and letting the water be, however with 2 dogs, constant wet stinky dog is not a great option. (They get into the mud now and its a lot of work).
    We also have a clay soil. 10" of top soil then clay - so the water will not soak in like it would in a sandy loam.

    Can't see my way digging a trench to connect East to West due to the roots.

    Another issue is that 3 years ago there was a very large ash that the neighbour to the east took down, so that would have sucked up a lot of water in the spring as well.

    ok wow.. that's a lot of typing....

    Anyone have any experience with digging a dry well?
    Trying to locate a few pics to help illustrate - thanks for reading.
    Brian
     
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  2. chndlr04

    chndlr04 Guide

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    Dutch apple pie.

    How much volume of water in the space?
     
  3. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Chocolate cream.

    Can't help you but I can empathize with you as a fellow member of the wet yard muddy dog club.
     
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  4. Holmesmade

    Holmesmade Guide

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    Scrape up a slope on the west side and back fill the east side to force water to drain past the tree and on into the system you plan to tie into.
    Maybe add some sand to help build up the slope and help stabilize the soil.

    Just guessing, here.


    ETA: Cherry pie is the way to go!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  5. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    Her are a few pics - the tree that is shown is the ash that has been cut down. (older photo)
    Currently the water is about 3-4" deep over the grass in the shot with my son standing.
     

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  6. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    ....... yup......
     

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  7. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Caramel apple pie of course. Having one on Sat for my wife's birthday party. :)

    First of all, I have standing water all over the place here, and I have been working to avoid that for years. And we are making progress, little by little.

    Water runs downhill. :) If you want water to be gone, you will have to raise the low spots somehow, or make a lower area for the water to go into. When the loggers around here are making roads in the woods, they will use the machine to dig a hole next to low spots in the roads. When it rains and is muddy, the water runs into the holes they have dug rather than sitting in the road. This works great.

    What is under the clay? We have literally about 24+ inches of clay in our yard, BUT under the clay we have beautiful gravel and rocks and amazing drainage.

    Could you do such a thing as maybe dig a hole and put a plastic barrel in the hole, with the top of the barrel at a low spot in the yard? Kind of like a manhole in the street? Maybe fill the barrel with stone for drainage?
     
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  8. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    short term issue resolution - I used a garden hose to create a siphon to runwater past the oak to the drain channel and worked like a charm. Once dried up a bit I can have a look and see how much grade I can change as well as maybe look to create either swale or other options, @gohammergo what you describe is in essence a dry well - so yup definitely an option

    thanks all.
     
  9. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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  10. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    Am also a member of muddy yard club
    Was never a problem in the past but started about 3 years ago
    Seems to be common problem through the northeast i have muddy yard in NE PA
    Just too much water to prevent it completely but redirecting will help dry it out faster between mud spells
    I have a culvert in front of house even that overflows regularly
    Just had to live with it
    I also have 2 sump pumps in my crawl space that often run continuously
     
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  11. Ridge_Runner57k

    Ridge_Runner57k Scout

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    Only solution I can think of would be a french drain but it sounds like digging a trench and having a spot to drain said water to would probably be a whole other issue unto itself. Got to love post winter mud season as we call it around here.
     
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  12. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    I won't be much help other than to relate to your woes. We have a TINY backyard (our whole lot is 60x100), with terrible water issues (I swear we have an underground spring going through our yard!), and the whole back side tends to be damp, but especially one corner. Problem is our land slopes UPWARD towards the road, and is closed in by 3 adjacent properties. Next door neighbor drained through the back neighbors yard and her's looks much better, but our corner is lower, and seems to have gotten even worse since she did that. Ugh. Hubby doesn't want to think about it, but we want to try to sell this house sooner than later.. <sigh>
     
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  13. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    We have two sump pumps, one of which also runs almost continuously, plus a relatively new (under 10 yrs) (10K) french drain down there. I understand your pain.
     
  14. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    The one nice thing is we have a flourishing water iris bunch in that corner! But I'm getting tired of plain 'ole white, and the few pretty dark purple ones don't fare as well..
    OK back to normal bushcrafty programming :p
    :40::40:
     
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  15. Gruxxx

    Gruxxx NRA Endowment Life Member Supporter Bushclass I

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    Your best bet would be to create positive drainage to where it would leave the property, which may involve cutting and/or filling your yard to get water moving in the right direction. It may in involve regrading an entire slope, cutting a swale, or building a berm to direct the water. Getting it to that township swale would be ideal.

    In conjunction, you could see if you could minimize the watershed to your low spot. If your downspouts are draining there, for example, you could see if you could redirect them with piping to discharge elsewhere. Your neighbor's idea of installing a perforated pipe outletting into the township swale should help dry the area up faster after a storm, but it won't help with surface water during the storm.

    You could put in dry well / seepage pit with a small yard drain to allow water to enter, but it will probably need to be bigger than you expect to effectively deal with the volume of water you're receiving. For example, 1" of rainfall onto a 2,000 sf roof will generate 132 cf (987 gallons) of runoff. You would need a stone trench with AASHTO #3 or #1 rock that has 330 cf of gross volume, since the rock only has 40% void space. That means a stone trench would have to be sized 16.5' long x 10' wide x 2' thick to hold all the runoff from just 1" of rainfall onto a 2,000 sf roof. Since you have clay soils, that probably infiltrates water very slowly, so if you get more runoff than the trench is designed for, you'll still have the same problem lingering for a while until it drains.

    Someone mentioned building a sump pit and pumping the water out. That's certainly an option, but pump systems are a pain to maintain, and of course cost electricity to run.
     
  16. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    lol ya lots of ideas for improving the view with rocks stumps and other vegetation that doesn't mind wet feet.
     
  17. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    thats one of the fears is under-designing and of course trying to be budget conscious but I don't think its going to be if I decide to go that way. Thank for your input
     
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  18. Sawdustdave

    Sawdustdave Supporter Supporter

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    Birch trees love water, don't they? Think of all the birch bark you'd have!

    My daughter and SIL have a yard near one of Appleton's ravines, and each year it would be under water. Last summer they hauled in many yards of topsoil and leveled it off, higher than their front yard. Now the water flows to the street, like it should here.

    Another thought I had was a French cistern, I believe it's called. Dig a good sized hole in the ground in a suitable location, lay in gravel, a few feet deep. On top, cover with soil. The water filters through the soil into the gravel layer from where it slowly seeps into the ground. Here's a link that speaks on the subject:

    https://www.tlake.com/blog/french-drain-vs.-trench-drain-vs.-swale
     
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  19. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    @Sawdustdave great link - thanks and we have willows planted as does one of the neighbors.
     
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  20. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I forgot about trees that like water. :)

    Be cautious of the Willow though. Beautiful trees, and fast growing too. The issue with willows is how much they like water. Our sewer pipe clogged up once in town and we had the guy come and route out the lines. He said they were full of willow roots from a nearby tree. :eek: I am not sure what kind of pipe it was, probably old clay pipes, or steel ? But he said it happens a lot of time.
     
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