Raising/Leveling Backyard

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  #1  
Old 05-20-15, 01:05 PM
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Raising/Leveling Backyard

Good afternoon everyone!

My wife and I moved into a home that has been in her family since the 60's a couple years ago. It's a very poorly designed house and hasn't been maintained, nobody lived in it for the 5 years before we moved in. Anyways, our backyard floods any time we receive any amount of rain. When walking out into our backyard, the neighbors to the right and behind us have raised their yards, which is obviously contributing to the flooding. There's a field to our left, and to the best of my memory, it's not raised (at least not considerably.) The front yard doesn't flood abnormally, but the backyard is a monster. It is causing tons of undue stress and if it's a bad rain, I can't mow for over a week, plus the dogs/kids track mud into the house for weeks afterwards, which makes mopping pointless and the whole situation very frustrating.

What is the best course of action? We also have to get the trees trimmed because we have very little grass back there as well, but that's a separate issue/budget concern. Two weeks ago the backyard flooded so badly that our boxer (70 lbs.) was chasing a squirrel during the storm ended up having to swim while in pursuit.

Oh! We have a covered back porch area that obviously floods as well. Would we need to tear that down and raise it as well? This all seems like a good summer project while the kids are at their grandparents and I have time to really get after it.

Thanks!
J.C.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-20-15, 03:46 PM
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First, generally it's not legal to alter the natural flow of water. So, it may not have been legal for the neighbors to fill in their yard if it altered the natural flow of water and sent additional water into your yard. That's a tough card to play now but it comes into play if you fill in your yard. Where will the water go? You could be liable for changing the natural course.

Your comment that the back porch floods and you consider raising it? That makes me think the house is in a low spot.

I think the first thing is to study the lay of your land. Where does the water drain now? If you filled in any low spots where would the water go? You don't just want to fill in the yard willy nilly because you may have a nice dry yard but end up making your house the low spot and cause even bigger headaches.
 
  #3  
Old 05-20-15, 04:35 PM
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Thank you for the response, Dane.

I was reading up on what other people have said on other threads and I saw that it may have been illegal for what the others did, but what's done is done /:

I was having the same thought, but nobody around us seems to have the problem.

This house is designed very...oddly. We don't really have a backdoor - our backdoor goes into the garage and the only way to get to the backyard is through a garage door in the back of the garage. This last time water started coming into the garage from the backyard and my wife opened the front garage door (automatic, new door) and it was apparently acting like a dam. Once that happened, it relieved the flow of water out of the garage and kept it from coming in through the "back door" anymore than it already had.

Right now, in the backyard, the water doesn't appear to drain anywhere. Since everyone around us has raised up, we're essentially a pool that collects everyone's water and we have to wait for it to evaporate/soak into the ground. Would building some type of drain system to the ditch in the front be an idea?

I'll try to get pictures today or tomorrow.
 
  #4  
Old 05-21-15, 06:59 AM
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You obviously have to give the water somewhere to go. If you're talking large amounts of water I much prefer open ditches so they are easy to clean & maintain. French drains in the back yard opening to daylight in a ditch can help but they rely on how fast the water can soak in to get to the drain. Hopefully you have the elevation to make everything drain by gravity.
 
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