Purchase house with Storm Drain in back yard?

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  #1  
Old 11-19-08, 03:11 AM
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Purchase house with Storm Drain in back yard?

We fell in love with a house that may be a great value (bank owned) but I am weary of the storm drain that dumps the neighborhood run off right into the back yard. I noticed that they have put in a poor man's dry well...but it looks pretty bad. The rest of the property is quite nice...including the front yard and the house!

So...I think that it will probably cost me about 10-15K to fix this...and that may still be worth it depending on the purchase price/value of the house.

Where can I get some ideas (already started to look into landscaping companies)...really looking for before/after pictures of what the final product could look for?

Also...what issues do I need to be aware of that I may be overlooking. I want to make sure that I don't inherit a huge problem.

I knocked on the neighbor's door last night and inquired about the storm drain. He told me that when it rains real hard, the water collects in a wide puddle in the back yard...but doesn't appear to come close to the house.

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-19-08, 12:51 PM
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Some things to consider are...

1. Is this water a threat to the house at all? Is there enough grade/pitch from the house to this water runoff area that it wont go to your foundation or in your home?

2. Does the house have a sump-pump? If so, does it connect directly to this dry well or does it have tiling or PVC connecting it to the well?

3. Is there a lower point or perhaps a storm drain that this could be connected to? Not all towns allow you to dump into a storm sewer so check before you get into trouble by doing this.

4. Does the entire neighborhood dump into this area? As in, they are all connected via a single tile that runs in a "valley" behind all the houses?

5. Look for mosses or different grass types near this area... this may indicate how high this thing regularly floods to, or how bad/slow the drainage is.

6. Check for evidence of clay. Just a few stabs in the ground with a shovel with confirm this. If its clay, and it most likely is, it will take a long time for this to dry every time it rains.
 
  #3  
Old 11-19-08, 01:23 PM
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A consultation with a landscape engineer to discuss drainage issues would be helpful.
 
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Old 11-19-08, 05:21 PM
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Answers:

1. Hard to tell...I spoke with the neighbor and he noticed a pool of water that was wide but nothing that looked like it threatened the house getting wet. It is probably about 15 feet away from the foundation.

2. Doubt it has a sump pump. It looks like the only thing connecting to the well is the storm drain itself.

3. It's hard to tell since the brush is overgrown...but I will take another look at it this Saturday...I think the very back of the section is not overgrown...and may show an area that a decent landscaper can create a connection or swail into.

4. Looks like only 5 or so houses or just north and higher ground. I assume that only runoff from their areas hit the drain. There are more than one storm drain in the neighborhood (at least that was what I was told by the neighbor)

5. what do you mean by this? Different grass types? I know that there are some weeds and brush...but weeds grow anywhere..even when there is no water so it is hard to tell.

6. This is Georgia....everything is hard clay!

So...I was thinking if I bought this, I would have to re-grade, lay some sand and put some riverstone on top...maybe build a bridge over the bed of stone and plant some shrubs around the base of the drain pipe to bide it. I would like it to function properly and look nice.

Thanks for the advice!


Originally Posted by TheCaptain View Post
Some things to consider are...

1. Is this water a threat to the house at all? Is there enough grade/pitch from the house to this water runoff area that it wont go to your foundation or in your home?

2. Does the house have a sump-pump? If so, does it connect directly to this dry well or does it have tiling or PVC connecting it to the well?

3. Is there a lower point or perhaps a storm drain that this could be connected to? Not all towns allow you to dump into a storm sewer so check before you get into trouble by doing this.

4. Does the entire neighborhood dump into this area? As in, they are all connected via a single tile that runs in a "valley" behind all the houses?

5. Look for mosses or different grass types near this area... this may indicate how high this thing regularly floods to, or how bad/slow the drainage is.

6. Check for evidence of clay. Just a few stabs in the ground with a shovel with confirm this. If its clay, and it most likely is, it will take a long time for this to dry every time it rains.
 
  #5  
Old 11-19-08, 06:36 PM
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one more thing to check is will doing any thing to change the drainage need to be approved by the city, county permits office? if the storm drain serves the neighborhood you might not be able to do any landscaping around it.

if we're not supposed to eat animals why are they made out of meat?
 
  #6  
Old 11-19-08, 07:23 PM
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Landscaping > Purchase house with Storm Drain in back yard?

If there is a storm drain on the property, there may be a easment that prohibits you from changing that area.

Check the title/deed to see if there any easments that will affect what you can do or expect.

Also, a talk with the city engineer may be a big help to give you a real idea of the situation and what is planned.

Dick
 
  #7  
Old 11-20-08, 01:14 AM
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Talking with the city engineer as well as the person in charge of state watershed management may be helpful. For onsite watershed management, a landscape engineer will be very helpful.
 
  #8  
Old 11-20-08, 06:30 AM
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Sometimes a builder will show the two ends of the drain they intend on running and never actually connect it. Its a bad practice but it happens. If you find any tiling at one point you can run a garden hose in it for about 10 minutes or so and see if it actually drains or connects to this drywell you mentioned.

This will also check for non-builder errors such as it being kinked by something after it was laid in the ground such as any utilities, irrigation or anything else that went in the ground.



By different grass types... there are some thinner grasses that grow in overly wet areas. Some may be red-thread which you get from over-watering and some are natural grasses that thrive in extremely moist areas. These types are typically very thin-bladed and grow tightly packed. It may or may not indicate flooding in the area. You just need to take everything into account when surveying this.
 
  #9  
Old 11-20-08, 06:34 AM
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Thanks so much guys! I will see what I can dig up from the City/County and make some better observations of the property once we take a closer look this weekend.
 
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