Drain issues in yard

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Old 02-25-20, 02:10 PM
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Drain issues in yard

We live in a old subdivision outside St. Louis and my house is the second to last in a row of 5 house. Our back yards have a slight decline that ends in my next door neighbors yard (low point). We have lived in our house about five years and over the past six months have been having drainage issues which leads to a lake in my neighbors yard when it rains hard. The water running downhill is killing my grass therefore making the issues worse.

There has been no new construction during this time uphill so I couldnít figure it out until I remembered that the person who we bought the house from had dug a sort of trench along the high side of my yard in with the plants that would fill with water. Over the years we did not maintain it and it filled up with dirt and leaves. In part of the front of the house he installed corrugated piping.

As we are getting rain today and tomorrow, I dug out part of the line where the old trench was. I am going to expand it this weekend when we have nicer weather. Is there anything else I can do to help the problem (corrugated pile, French drain, etc). I understand the water has to go somewhere and could use a little direction. Thanks and sorry for the long post. I am trying to add photos to it but canít figure out why they are not showing up.

[img]blob:https://www.doityourself.com/05e87166-cf9b-4153-892d-359f257f90df[/img]
 
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Old 02-25-20, 08:49 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

That link is the location of the picture(s) in your phones browser. The picture hasn't gone anywhere.
You can either load them to a site like Imgur and link the address here or try to load directly to the board. You may have to select "desktop view" on your phone.

How-to-insert-pictures.

My home is similar to how yours is set up. Since I have a pool and needed a way to get rid of the backwash water..... I ran a buried 4" PVC line around my backyard all the way out to the street. I have all my house downspouts connected to it. I also have a grate in the middle of the backyard where the water coming down the hill gets diverted to the street.
 
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Old 02-25-20, 09:34 PM
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had dug a sort of trench along the high side of my yard in with the plants that would fill with water
So water is flowing across the back yards and you have some type of drain that is plugged up, where does this drain from and too?

Water flowing across a yard typ does not kill grass so what is this about?
 
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Old 02-26-20, 09:33 AM
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Where did the trench on the high side that the previous owner dug take the water to?
 
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Old 02-27-20, 11:04 AM
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Essentially it would not take it anywhere. He had a ton of plants/flowers that surrounded where the "trench" was. Trench is probably not the best word for it as it was only like 6 inches deep. See photos for what I am somewhat describing.

The water running over it does not necessarily kill the grass but it does make the backyard swampy in places. The kids walking in the mud then kills the grass.
 
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Old 02-27-20, 11:14 AM
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My real question is would a french drain work where you see the small trench that I dug if I was just looking for the water to drain down rather than to some place. Other than digging a basin for it to drain to, I am just trying to stop how much water is getting into the yard. Is there another type of drain (Just fill a trench with rocks?) that would accomplish this better then by using corrugated piping?

Sorry it took me so long to reply as I had to find a desktop to upload the photos
 
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Old 02-27-20, 11:27 AM
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A french drain contains a pipe, so ultimately it's intended to move the water along the pipe.

A ditch or shallow area filled with rocks will just retain the water and allow it to soak into the ground.

The drain would be more effective to removing larger quantities of water but it's got to go somewhere!
 
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Old 02-27-20, 11:39 AM
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So if I don't necessarily have a place for the water to go (outside of digging out a large basin for it to drain into) and I was just looking to have the "trench" retain some water so that less makes it into the yard, should I just dig the trench and fill it with rock?

I am also thinking about tying one of my downspouts that dumps into the yard into the "trench". My only concern with adding the corrugated pipe and making it a french drain is that it will cause more water to pool at the end of the pipe, making the problem worse than before by having a large pool of water. The flip side of that is that I could dig a larger basin at that point.
 
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Old 02-27-20, 11:44 AM
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By digging the trench that I have in the photos, it allowed the water to remain in the trench and did not pool in anywhere in particular. That would be the goal for the project only I would be adding the downspout to dump water into the trench.
 
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Old 02-27-20, 08:52 PM
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If you are trying to stop how much water is coming into the yard, then dumping more in using the downspout is counterproductive by definition.

For water that originated above ground, a shallow underground drain pipe has a disadvantage compared with an open trench in that it could freeze and with repeated freeze and thaw cycles, it could break.

Digging a basin may help but there is a limit. Depending on the slope of the land, the basin might be located so in the rare event it overflowed, the water would run innocuously down the driveway and down the street Or you would need a sump pump in the basin.
 

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Old 02-28-20, 08:02 AM
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The downspout currently dumps into the yard, which is another cause of the swamp. My idea was to route the downspout into the trench or french drain which is among plants/trees which should drain the water easier. I have it down to either doing an actual french drain with the corrugated pipe or just having an open trench filled with rock. I am leaning the way of the open trench as I want the water to stay within the trench and not pool in any particular place. My only concerns are mosquitos if the water stays in one place for a while or if it does not work and I have to put in a french drain later, I just caused myself a much harder problem by having to remove a lot of rock before laying the pipe.
 
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Old 02-28-20, 09:31 AM
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So, basically, you want a backyard that dries out quicker.

Quick suggestions
1) You currently have a "trench" at the high-side of the yard to intercept the water coming from your up hill neighbor. You would do better with a "berm and swale" of the same depth, but wider, with a gentle profile going out about 3' wide perhaps to 6' wide. Wait for a dry day, use a stiff tine garden rake to scratch out the dirt to make a wider swale that follows the path of the trench. Take some removed dirt and create a berm, or levee, towards your yard. Take the rest of the dirt, let it dry, then crush it and spread it into low spots on the lawn.

2) add a rain barrel at each down spout (you can often get them cheap or free from the local ag-extension, watershed organization or Riverkeeper organization.) Most rain storms generate less than an inch of water.
If you can capture that multiple rain barrels, you can control how wet the lawn gets. You MIGHT also try and get the neighbor to get rain barrels for their down spouts facing you as well.

3) Increases the ability of the lawn to hold and "process" water - aerate the lawn, add sand and organics (e.g. mulching mower) to create a lawn that is close to potting soil - rich and open and able to hold lots of water, rather than a dense compact lawn.

4) Plant a few weeping willow saplings. The usual rule of thumb is that willow / cottonwood will pull about 10 gallons of water, per day, per inch of trunk diameter.

5) If you are concerned about "muddy paths" get a delivery of a few cubic yards of gravel or sand. Spread it and work it into the wet areas of the lawn. The gravel / sand will sink/work into the soil, break up clay soils, and create a "stone bed" that isn't as "squishy".
 
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Old 02-28-20, 11:37 AM
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Thanks for the advice!!! I will try out a few of these!
 
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