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Help! Neighbor's raised flower beds flood my backyard!

Help! Neighbor's raised flower beds flood my backyard!


Old 03-25-08, 06:22 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
Unhappy Help! Neighbor's raised flower beds flood my backyard!

Thanks in advance for any help on this. We live in a fairly new home and have always been plagued by backyard flooding. So we decided to stop watering our lawn in the middle of a hot Oregon summer to see what happened, thinking perhaps it was our sprinkling system leaking. Well, the lawn closest to the house dried up but all along our back fence we still had lush green growth and even spots of standing water! A peek through the wooden fence revealed raised garden beds right next to the fence. Although it's nice that our neighbors are paying the watering bill for us, we'd really like to get our yard in shape and get rid of the bog that is our backyard. Do we have to match their height with raised beds of our own? Is there any way to make the water flood back on their property? Berm? Drain? Help? Please?!

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Old 03-27-08, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 18
Where does the yard drain? This is the first step to solving the problem, determining the bigger drainage pattern. Does your yard drain from back to front? Or does it break along the house and drain to the back? Is there a rear yard storm sewer? If it's a new subdivision, I would assume there's a sewer. Is the nearest inlet closest to the neighbor with the beds, or the opposite direction? Who's fence is it, yours or theirs?
Old 03-27-08, 01:23 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
No help from the city.

I checked with the city engineers today, and here's what I found:

Our house on the corner lot is supposed to drain toward the front of the house and toward the side of the house. The fence is along the length of our backyard and is shared between the houses. Their house is perpendicular to our house and is supposed to drain toward the front (along our back) and into a drain there. They are close to the drain according to city plans. Also, we have no lot-to-lot drainage rules and the city does not enforce plans, so we're at the neighbor's mercy.
Old 03-27-08, 02:14 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 18
Do you belong to a homeowner's association?

Have you talked to the neighbor yet?
Old 03-27-08, 03:57 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3

No homeowner's association, and the neighbors quite frankly scare me after discovering a bullet hole in the fence & tool trailer we park next to the house. The only interaction I've had with them is when they came over to tell us that our weeds were growing on their side of the fence. I was so taken aback that I didn't think to tell them that their water was making our yard a swamp. Arrrg!
Old 03-31-08, 11:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4
I Feel Your Pain

Hi There,
I have a People that dwell next to me..(Jack A--) that We shall call JA. They pulled up my property pin and started tring to take 3' of property iat the top and about 5 ' in back of house. Well not to rant to much I payed to resuvey and My pins were right .So they put there fence right on top of my pins lol (nice side of fence facing them and ran there drains down to my property.

Township did nothing about it.

I fix the new bog this way.

1 I back fill 1' min high again the fence since it is on my prop
and reinforce with clay and stone.

2. I planted shurb that grow 18' high and 4' dia 1'6" of my prop line (I did say he put the fence facing him did I)They are 3' tall now.

3. I made a dog pen 20 ' from the fence and leave my dog out when they are in hot tub when I notice.

4. mushroom fertlizer is really is strong stuff when place down fence line.

A must have for pool parties that I'm not invited to.lol

So, ask nicely if you can work it out and if they are JA's
This is one plan of action.

I'm really A nice guy until you try taking my land and insult my wife and me with fowl words

I do sugest working thing out when you can But he a JA.

Hope this help and I didn't upset anyone.


Last edited by Big Jim F; 03-31-08 at 11:18 AM. Reason: typo
Old 03-31-08, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 18
I'd suggest you talk to the neighbor. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Chances are they've probably got drainage problems of their own, unless the inlet is in their yard. Also, talk to the surrounding neighbors. They probably have the same problem as you. If you all approach at the same time with the same complaint, they might be more willing to listen. Who wants to be the neighborhood bad guy?

Most cities don't like to get involved in these disputes. If you push, they will usually act as a mediator of sorts. My father used to say, "the squeaky wheel gets the oil". If the engineer won't help ask for his/her boss, try the building department, streets and san, try your alderman, go to the mayor. At some point, a jurisdictional party has to mediate these disputes. They don't like to and will give you the run around, but they are the only ones with the power. Raise a fuss.

Originally Posted by OregonBaby View Post
Our house on the corner lot is supposed to drain toward the front of the house and toward the side of the house. ...Their house is perpendicular to our house and is supposed to drain toward the front (along our back) and into a drain there. They are close to the drain according to city plans.
Is the drain in your yard or on their side towards the front of their house? Or, is run-off supposed to go all the way to the street?

Originally Posted by OregonBaby View Post
The fence is along the length of our backyard and is shared between the houses.
It has to be someone's fence. Fences aren't shared; one person pays to have it erected. The stringers of the fence (the horizontal supports) usually face the owner's yard, with the smooth face facing out. Usually the fence is built a foot within the owner's property. Check your Plat of Survey that came with the house. Mortgage plats (if they're done by a decent surveyor) should include the fence with fallings. Also, check if there's a drainage easement along your property line.

It's usually illegal to make any grade changes within a drainage easement. You can determine the specific legalities of the easement, by obtaining a copy of your subís record plat. Verbage is typical, but does vary. It generally depends on the survey company preparing the doc. You can get a copy from the city or county. If they hassle you, inform them it is a public document and under the freedom of information act, you have the right to obtain a copy. The city has to enforce specific grading limitations within a drainage easement that are specifically stated on a record plat.

If it is your fence and it is on your property, you can force the neighbor to clear out from around the fence. They canít make improvements to your property without written consent. Most ordinances prevent improvements within a foot either side of the line, so they may have to clear out 2ft.

If you donít want to work it out verbally, the city stonewalls you, and you donít want to hire a lawyer, then there are several things you can do to get it to drain. The best solution is greatly dependant on slope, location of that drain, and what your budget is. A picture is worth a thousand words. If you can provide pictures of the yard, fenceline, and areas you're having trouble with, it would help. Find that drain. Itís imperative to know exactly where it is located.
Old 03-31-08, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4
I agree with TheOneBigJones

Mine was a worst case move. I did work at it the right way at first but, I talk to him about offer the pay 1/2 survey then paid for it myself then I talk to the township superviser and their code enforement and they would not do anything. Other than going to court over it. I did what was quick and eazy for all he put me and wife though for over a year.

Most people will try and work it out. Mine was a last resort and not the way I wanted it to go.

You could run a french drain setup to at least move it out to were they say it should go.

Old 03-31-08, 04:59 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 1,210
OregonBaby, you're really fishing for corroboration against these neighbours. Why?

Help! They're watering the flowers! How to make it flood back at them?! LOL.

Give yer fellow human beings some slack. Find a worthy peeve.

Get to talking about the yards, I guarantee they'll tell you, "Oh we had that standing water too, that's why we built raised beds. The folks before you couldn't be bothered with their side though."
Old 04-03-08, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
A French drain can be installed along the fence and the water directed to a drainage ditch or French well. A consultation with a landscape engineer would be worthwhile for determining the best way to address drainage issues in the landscape.

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