Flooding and Drainage Issues

Residents of our Western South Shore Community in Long Island are all too familiar with yard flooding and drainage issues; which are at the worst in the early spring as snow melts, the ground is still hard or frozen and the spring rains start. 

Poor yard drainage can cause a variety of problems. When water sits on grass or in the garden, it can kill plant roots. Without roots to hold the soil together, the next rain event can create mud and erosion that wash away your lawn or garden.

If water is sitting on your driveway or the walkway to your home, it can make it hard to get into your home or vehicle during a storm. It can also cause safety issues. Perhaps most damaging of all is water that pools near the foundation of your home.  It can cause severe damage to your basement or foundation that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.

Fortunately, you don’t have to live with poor drainage. In most cases, once the cause of the drainage/flooding issue is determined, finding the right drainage solution is not complicated.

Elegant Lawns & Landscaping can help you identify problem areas and create permanent solutions to keep your yard and home dry. An investment in fixing drainage problems upfront will save thousands in the long run! Contact us today to create a solution to your water problems and enjoy your yard and home worry free.  Act early and take advantage of our current fall promotion.  Act now before the spring to ensure a great start to the 2022 season.  Don’t get caught with flooding and scheduling delays in during the height of the season.

Causes and Solutions to Flooding and Standing Water

Problem: Poor Grading and Eroded Backfill

In most cases, when a home is built, the land around it is backfilled and graded so that it slopes gently away from the house. This helps direct water away from the home’s foundation and safely toward storm drains and other water control areas. However, over time, backfill can erode, and the gentle slope away from your home can be reversed. When this happens, instead of water flowing away from your home, it can flow toward your home and pool along your foundation. Water pooling along your foundation is one of the most destructive flooding issues. The water can enter your basement, where it can destroy property and lead to mold that endangers your family’s health. It can also affect the structure of your home, leading to expensive repairs.

There are other more minor grading issues that can occur throughout your property. Ideally, water should flow off of your lawn and toward a drainage area. Water will always flow to the lowest spot, and if that spot is somewhere on your lawn, water will pool there instead of draining.

Solution: Regrading and Restructuring the Landscape

If the cause of your water problems is inadequate grading, eroded backfill and pooling, the solution is to reverse those issues. If the backfill around your home has eroded over time, the simplest solution is to install new backfill to help direct water away from your home. All solutions work on the simple principle that water always flows to the lowest spot. A yard drainage specialist can add backfill to raise the earth around your home by just a couple of inches. This creates a gentle grade that sends water flowing away from your home and back into your yard or gutters where it can safely drain.

If the issue is improper grading in other parts of your property, the solution is most likely modifications to your landscape:

  • Swale
  • Dry Creek Bed/River Rocks
  • Rain Garden
  • French Drain

Problem: High Water Table

Many of us on the South Shore of Long Island experience flooding because of the high water table. A high water table is difficult to overcome, but there are solutions that can help to avoid damage to your home and landscaping.

When the water table is high, underground water lies close to the surface so that adding even a small amount of water can lead to severe flooding.

Solution: Raised Planters and Native Plants

A high water table can make drainage challenging. Most plant root systems don’t do well in saturated soil. One way to deal with the problem is to use raised planters for your trees and plants. These keep plant roots away from the wet ground. Another possible solution is to use native plants that are suited for the local soil conditions.

If you want to grow a lawn or bushes without using planters, you can raise your entire yard by adding soil held in place with retaining walls. It is a more costly fix but it will provide you with the most permanent and complete solution to a high water table.

Problem: Hardpan and Poor Soil Drainage

Sometimes, the issue is simply that the soil does not collect water, and has nowhere to go. This can occur in certain soil conditions.

Hardpan is an example of one of these. It is a layer of dirt or clay cemented into a hard layer impervious to water. There are different types and causes of hardpan.

  • The most difficult hardpan to overcome is soil that has hardened through chemical processes that have cemented the soil together. This can form a layer up to several feet thick that requires heavy machinery to break up. Other hardpans can be broken up more easily.
  • Clay hardpan is caused by a dense layer of clay, and it can usually be broken up with a regular shovel when it is wet.
  • Other types of hardpan are caused by mechanical compression from plows, vehicles, or construction machinery. This type of hardpan is usually close to the surface and only a few inches thick.

Solution: Break It Up or Plant Over It

To break up hardpan, you can use a shovel or, in some cases, heavy machinery like a backhoe. In some cases, you may only need to break through the hardpan in a few places near where you are planting trees and bushes to allow water to escape and drain.

Another way to deal with hardpan is to plant over it. You can add high-quality compost, hummus, and planting soil to create a layer of soil that can sustain your plants and drain adequately, even with the hardpan still intact.

Problem: Inadequate or Broken Drainage

Sometimes flooding issues are simply a lack of adequate drainage solutions. In this case, there is nothing inherently wrong with your property; it just lacks essential drainage solutions or the drains it has are inadequate or broken. For example, water may gather along a walkway or driveway due to a lack of efficient drainage, or a patio may flood because it lacks a drain. In some cases, rain gutter downspouts are not extended far enough from a home or dump water in an area without adequate drainage.

Solution: Add Drainage Systems

Luckily, the lack of adequate drainage systems is straightforward to fix. All you need to do is install the appropriate drainage. In some cases, a French drain can help direct water away from a foundation. In other cases, you can install a drain in a hardscape area like a patio or walkway. Sometimes, all it takes is adding an extension to a gutter downspout to send water away from the home’s foundation and toward a storm drain.

Finding the Right Drainage Solution

We are proud community sponsors who are actively involved in our community and work to improve it. We hope to help you improve your quality of life by enhancing your outdoor living space. We can help diagnose and solve your flooding and drainage dilemmas. Contact us early in the fall to beat the seasonal spring flooding issues typical of the western south shore of Long Island and Queens.