Hot Topics: Backyard Flooding

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Original Post: Backyard Flooding

Rick Harris - Member

My back yard is flooding almost every time it rains. The neighbor behind me had a garden put in along her side of the fence line, thus filling in the natural drainage swale. my back yard now gets flooded with surface water alot. I think I will put in a drain like what thay have on golf courses, is that a french drain? How would I go about doing that? 1) dig a trench 18" deep. 2) put 2" gravel in trench. 3) perforated pipe??? should I use solid, or perforated? There is only foot traffic in the back yard. Should there be a white sock around the pipe? Do the perforations face up or down? Should the high end of the pipe be plugged or closed? Is there ant thing else I amy not thinking of?

Thanks for any help. Rick

mattison - Member

The way we did ours was to install the green perforated pipe about 18" deep in a gravel base with the holes up and covered with gravel. Didn't bother capping the high end and used no sock. We also used a few area drains every 15' "the 3" x 12" ones". Our yard and all of our neighbors yards would be like a swamp after a rain. I can now mow my grass just a couple hours after a rain. It made a world of difference.

logcabincook - Member

In some areas, you are not allowed to alter your landscaping such that it causes drainage problems in others' property. Personally, I would check with the county/city to see if there is such a rule, and if so, kindly go chat with the neighbor to see if there is a solution you can both come up with.

jemayes - Member

I agree with logcabincook, look into if you neighbor is allowed to do what they did and maybe come to a compromise with them. If you still need to fix the problem, ever think about it as an asset rather a problem. Look into water gardens online and see what you think....

If that isn't your cup of tea, google french drains and they have alot of pages on how to install one. One word of advice, I would use a sediment fabric around your drain so it won't fill with sediment. If you don't it might clog in a 1-5 years and you have to dig it up and replace it....

Rick Harris - Thread Starter

BackYard Flooding Thanks to all

An update to all. My city will do nothing. They say there is no by-law for this problem. The neighbor has no interest in "MY" problem, very rude. One more Question if anyone can tell me, how does the perforated big O work? With holes all around the pipe how does the water drain to the end of the pipe? Why would the water not just go in the top of the pipe and out the bottom?

PLEASE feel free to give me any more suggestions concerning "MY" problem.

My back yard is only 50' wide X 20' deep. To small for water garden.

Thanks all.

the_tow_guy - Group Moderator

And if the neighbor goes ahead with his plans I would make sure I knew exactly where the lots line was and I would make sure neither he nor his workers was ever one inch over the line for any reason.

Jman7559 - Member

I have been reading about your problem for a few days now and I empathize with you. Prior to regrading my backyard, I used to experience pooling/flooding where the lawn sloped down into the patio area just from watering my grass!

Although I know it will not answer your prayers, I would assume it will spark ideas for drain design. I located the sight by doing a Yahoo search and typing in "yard flooding drainage". A little Internet browsing will go a long way and provide a wealth of info.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

knavekid - Member

My Solution

I had a similar back yard drainage problem. The surrounding lots were built up after my house was built and all are slightly higher in grade. The rainwater would stand for a week as I have a clay/shale hard pan one to two feet below the surface. My paver patio would be under water for several days after a hard rain and water would seep from the patio into my screened porch.

The first thing I tried was to fill the low spots with 10 yards of sand. While this eliminated the lily pads in the yard, the grass was still very soggy and I still had water on my patio and seeping into my screened porch during a hard rain.

I then hired a contractor that dug trenches from the middle of the back yard to the street and installed drainage pipes surrounded by sand. Drain grates below the gutter downspouts were attached to the drain pipes as well. A french drain was installed along the outside of the screened porch and connected as well. This helped the yard drain, but was very slow. After a hard rain, the yard was no longer soggy and the patio would be dry after a few days. Water still would seep into the screen porch during hard rain as the water from the downspouts backed up into the french drain.

Next, I installed a dedicated drain pipe from three downspouts going directly to the street. I also disconnected the french drain from the drainage system to prevent the water from backing up into it. This helped a little bit more and the screen porch flooding was less frequent.

Next, I bought a 30 gallon plastic drum with cover and drilled several 3/8" holes around the top half of the drum as well as in the cover. I wrapped landscaping filter paper around the drum to cover the holes. I then dug a deep hole in the yard behind my patio and dropped the drum into it. I ran a drain pipe from the french drain into the drum. I also installed deck-o-drain at the edge of the patio and connected it to this same drain pipe. I poured gravel around the drum.

I put a submersible sump pump in the drum and ran 1.25" PVC pipe out to one of the drain boxes near the street. I installed PVC electrical conduit and wired the pump to its own GFCI circuit breaker. I put the cover on the drum, covered it with filter paper, laid a metal grate on top and covered it with gravel. Another layer of filter paper on top of the gravel, then dirt and sod.

This did the trick. When it rains, the water on the patio and french drain are quickly pumped away. Any water in the yard also seeps into the sump basin keeping the yard dry. I have not had water seep into the screened porch since installing this system.

Jman7559 - Member

Nicely done! For every problem, there is a solution. Such is the case for Rick, he just needs to find what will work for his situation.

jhomeowner - Member

Also improve the soil in your yard.

Loose rich soil holds more water. If you have clay close the surface, no amount of improvement will help much, but aerating and enriching the soil with organic compost is still a good thing.

Drains: I used the sleeve on one, and double wrapped the other in landscape fabric, and both are functioning fine.

Drywells: I could only find huge ones that cost the earth, so, like knavekid, I made my own, but much smaller ones out of schrub pots [I could not dig a hole for a thirty gallon drum by hand].

Compost: Is there a farm nearby that sells compost from the animal barns?

Is putting an old car up on blocks, ideally surrounded by plastic pink flamingos, in your yard right on the property line out of the question?

Coward. At the very least direct the drains toward the Evil Neighbor's new garden.

Rick Harris - Thread Starter


I have decided to put a 2x2x50 dam or as I will call it "A GARDEN" along my back fence line. If this does not keep the water out of my back yard and in my rude neighbors back yard where it came from in the first place, then I will put in a french drain. Thanks for every ones input.

flooding - Member

back yard flood

Hey just sign up, hoping for some heplful ideas. I live in NY and the zoning laws require new homes retain there own rain water, with that being said,i own my home for 20 yrs and in the last two yrs they have build three new homes around mine (have the lowest grade of all three)when it rains iIget about standing water from the back fence out about 15tf and it gets around two feet deep I have a garage that is set back by the fence Not taking water in the house but getting some in the garage and the water will be there for about seven to 10 days after the rain so the part of the yard that gets flooded is some what closed in and the street is about 100 ft away any ideas on how to fix this would be great

zr2sms - Member

I have the same issue in my yard. I decided on a french drain. Here's what I did. Dug a 20 foot trench. About 18 inches deep and 14 inches wide. Lined it with Landscape fabric. Then I filled the bottom of the trench with about 3-4 inches of stone (use washed stone preferably, however I didnt). Then I laid in two 10 foot long perforated drain pipes with socks (purchased from Home Depot).

Then cover the pipe with rock leaving about 5 inches or so to the top so you can fill it in with dirt and cover it with sod. Before I added my dirt I put more landscape fabric over the top. The reason for the fabric and socks is to keep dirt and debris out of the drain pipe.

I hope this helps. Its hard work to dig it out but well worth it for the drainage improvement you will gain. Good luck.