Solving Drainage Issues

Drainage is a creative arena. There is only one rule and a thousand ways to apply it. The rule: Since water always goes downhill your job is to make it easier for water to go down the hill you want it to than any other hill available to it.

Ways of doing this include:

I encourage you to be creative. As long as you make it slightly easier for water to flow the way you want it to, it will. Water is lazy and will always take the path of least resistance. For more visual ideas search you-tube under such topics as:

One thing to consider as part of an overall landscape plan is gutter water. If your home currently deposits the water from your roof on the ground near the house, consider the following:

It is ideal to collect all gutter run-off in in 4” drainage pipes well away from any area it might cause a problem – preferably to the street. If it cannot be run to the street there are other options, such as running it to a gravel-filled trench where it can be dispersed. PVC straight pipe (usually white) is far preferable to the corrugated black pipe that is often used. The latter gets clogged easily, is not as strong and can be damaged when clearing out a block.

Plumbing for drainage using PVC is similar to plumbing irrigation pipes, with the main difference being that everything is much bigger, from the glue cans to the pipe. By the time you have mastered basic irrigation you will probably feel fairly comfortable with drainage. Jackson’s Hardware in San Rafael and Goodman’s Ace Hardware in Mill Valley have an unusually good selection of drainage fittings, as well as the normal pipes that are common at most hardware stores and building supply stores.

This article is an exerpt from "Successfully Landscaping Your Marin Home."

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From right to left: 1) Quartz crystal tumples create a decorative drainage circle. 2) Accorus "Ogon" can live in standing water. 3) A typical shallow french drain under a lawn. 4) A catch-basin to gather water surrounded by decorative stone.

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