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Expert Tips on Drainage

By Jeff Willett, Landscape Designer

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. An old saying for sure, but if you have a home one thing you don’t want to see is water, water everywhere! Proper drainage is of consummate importance to your home’s health. A term which is often used in dealing with water issues is “positive drainage”. What this term means is that existing grade or soil level at your foundation is higher than that of an area a certain distance away. Negative drainage would indicate that rain water, water from your gutters and naturally flowing drainage areas, are heading back towards your home. This is not a good thing. Water is a very destructive element. Water sitting against a foundation will eventually cause deterioration in the masonry elements that make up foundation construction. If you have a basement, this scenario is exacerbated by the fact that the foundation walls are being attacked and there may also be water leaking into the basement cavity.

Achieving positive drainage is a pretty simple process. It can be a bit laborious but simple. In most cases, putting material against the foundation and grading it in such a manner that you maintain positive flow for a distance of six feet away from the foundation will create positive drainage. Some very important aspects of this process to keep in mind, always remove organic matter in areas you are going to be adding material to. Organic material can be mulch, leaves or any other product that can decompose. Remember, always use material that is clay based or compactable to grade with. You never want to use material to fill with that has a high absorption rate such as top soil, manufactured soils and the like. See if these simple solutions help with issues you may be confronted with and of course if you don’t first succeed try, try again!

About Jeff Willett - Jeff has been transforming green spaces since 1975, and brings creativity to everything he does. He has the vision and the experience to achieve stunning results with lasting quality. He is a professional Horticulturist, I.C.P.I. Certified and has experienced all faucets of the nursery and landscape industry both regionally and internationally. Think beautiful, think bigger, think Jeff.

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