Major drainage and landscaping woes

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  #1  
Old 08-03-05, 12:41 PM
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Major drainage and landscaping woes

By continuing to read this thread you promise not to speak negatively about what a horrible yard-man I am or the condition of said yard. I want the maintenance free life of an apt dweller with the privacy of a single homeowner Also any additional picture angles you need can be posted when I get home. Thank you for taking the time to give me your input. This project is very overdue and I need help.

In a nutshell, I'm building a private oasis around my spa. I put some pictures on webshots with pretty descriptive captions so you can read stuff there too...but figured I'd enumerate a few things here. While many of you may suggest even the tiniest bobcat, I dont want to remove my fence - would have to take down 2 section because of trees- and even if I did, there's so much back there that I just think it's tight quarters to do anything in. But I'd still be open to it as a last resort I guess. I don't know much about machinery. I do realize this is a backbreaking job but as long as it's done by November, I'm happy. (and I guess I'd need a 600 dollar tiller which is another thing I'm asking you)

I have multiple goals:

1. the holes next to the spa, where my pool used to be, need to be filled. This is hard clay and water stands in there for days. It has already cracked my spa pad over winter when it got under the concrete and froze. The filled in side of the pad didn't crack.

2. I plan on using dirt from the upper hill to fill in the holes. I don't really care what grade I have after I'm done pillaging the earth from the hill (and I have 1/2 acre i could find more dirt in if I needed it). What is most important is maintaining the fence at it's height and making it mostly maintenance free (of course I have to rake leaves). I do not weed! Though what to do on the slope is really secondary I guess. Just making it 'smooth' would be most important I would think.

3. I positively must install a french drain. When you see the pictures you will see what I mean about it being a long run to the drain. But what happens is all the water from the yard and overspill from gutters comes to a point then floods my breezeway. Can't stop the yard! No sense replacing/fixing tiles in the breezway until the drainage problem is solved. also it's no fun picking up the carpets during storms every time. so before I fill the holes, I actually must dig a bigger hole then fill it with block/stone/whatever is laying around.

4. probably doesn't matter but where the french drain goes there are old concrete pillars and I'm not sure how a bobcat would handle that anyway. With a tiller I figured i'd just go around lol. When I tore down the old deck years ago, I had at least 10 concrete pillars I had to jackhammer down below pool level. I lost some of my hearing because I didn't wear plugs. lesson learned.

Just a note: the fence is not complete. You will see things supporting it and it needs to be stained/waterproofed. I just used concrete blocks to hold it up while I screwed it in place and never got around to removing them. I did everything myself and that was pretty fun on hill at angles while drilling Also most parts of the fence are above ground so they won't rot so quickly. However I do want to plant ivy or something to 'cover up' the lower openings and maybe try to keep the cats out.

General question I just thought of ...but i just realized that the dirt that comes from the french drain may be enough to cover the top of it! interesting....seems like the drain has to be dug first. I guess this really will be a work in progress.

I never used webshots nor posted public pics like this so if there are any problems please let me know and give me other suggestions where to load pictures more easily

Here it is:

http://community.webshots.com/album/411873958xpKWce
 
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  #2  
Old 08-03-05, 02:10 PM
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I believe that you are right, the drain must come first. Your overall view of the problem of where to send the water is the key to the solution.

Start by deciding where to send the water, then plan for the drain to take it there. Grade the soil accordingly. A good design for a dry well is to dig the hole and fill it with hardwood mulch. This will allow the water to collect in the well and percolate out into the surrounding soil. It will also allow foot traffic on the mulch, so there is no trip hazard. Be sure that your gutters and downspouts are clean and sloped properly, so that they will handle the flow of water.

You could leave the hill as it is and plant on it. Landscape fabric over the bare soil, then a layer of mulch, then plant through the fabric. This won't be free from mantenance, but will keep it to a minimum. Over time, some weeds willl sprout in the mulch. Periodically, spray the weeds with RoundUp.

I would plant shrubs to fill the open space beneath the fence. Ivy grows slowly and can be a nuisance if it attaches to your fence. I don't know of a foolproof way to keep cats out.

Hope this helps.
 
  #3  
Old 08-12-05, 04:33 AM
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Thx for the advice. What is hardwood mulch? I always thought mulch disintegrates eventually. If so, then i'd have a 2 ft deep empty hole eventually right?

I guess i'm stuck on what i did when i was a kid for my dad. We ran the washer water to a hole a few ft deep x wide then filled with stones. then it exited down another pipe to the yard. So I thought I should have a stone filled hole and i want to dig it deep enough to take on the water I have problems with. I want to do it right the 1st time.
 
  #4  
Old 08-12-05, 08:24 PM
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The hardwood mulch requires replenishment annually, but not very much. It is easier to work with and use than stones and such.
 
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