Saturday, January 14, 2017



Drain experts
Many home owners are overwhelmed with problems of proper drainage.
When the heavy rains come their yards become lakes causing many
issues such as, grass and plants dying from to much water, water
entering their homes through weep holes or other areas where there
is access, and just not being able to enjoy their property until the water
dissipates and even then it is a mud hole. These situations become
tiresome and many of the owners look to contractors for a solution to
fix the problem. In a perfect world where everyone is honest and all the
people that have companies are experts in their field this would work
out fabulous. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and their

are landscape contractors that either one do not know proper drainage techniques or two try to do the
job cheaper because the customer wants a better price or the drainage contractor is trying to make more
money. This article is to inform you so you will know the consequence and try to avoid them.

First and foremost you must have positive grade on your property meaning that if you are putting a
drainage system in your backyard then the backyard must be higher than where you want the water to
drain (most of the time the street). How much higher the backyard needs to be depends on the length of
the drain system because to have proper slope you must have one inch of drop per ten feet of drainage
pipe so if you are installing a hundred foot of drain pipe than you need the street to be ten inches lower
than where you place the first drain box (Catch Basin). If you do not have the slope needed than this is
when you must look in to other options such as, bringing in soil and raising the backyard (only when you
have enough foundation showing, you do not want to raise the ground higher than the foundation you
need at least one inch showing at all times), draining into a sump pump box and pumping the water out
(this option requires electricity and a much larger drain box where the pump will be located), and the final
solution that i will mention is installing a series of 30 gallon landscape drainage basins and having the
drains throughout the yard drain into them. The last option requires a hole twice the size of each drain
basin that you will be installing because to ensure proper landscape drainage you must install pea gravel
around the drain basin so the water can seep out. These solutions are usually only used in worst case
scenario situations but I wanted you to know the true options that are available that work. In most cases
where there is a landscape drainage problem and lets say there is only five inches of slope when you
need ten inches a good drain expert can install a drain that will work by creating slope from the back yard
to the front then leveling out to the street because water that is level still flows but not as fast. They will
also be able to incorporate your downspouts from your gutter into the system so that the head pressure
(the water pouring down the downspout from the roof) will help push the yard drainage water out. These
are options that a good drainage contractor will be able to see which drainage option will work best for

Now let’s say you have enough slope to do a regular drainage system in your yard. The question than is
What does a regular drainage system consist of? A regular drainage system consist of catch basins,
fittings and pipe. Let us look at drainage catch basins first there are many type of catch basins that
drainage contractors use and all but a few are in accordance with good landscape drainage practices.
One approved type is concrete basin which these are used in residential and commercial applications the
residential will usually start out as 10 inches by 10 inches and normally have metal grates. They are well
constructed but can be an eyesore in a beautiful landscape. Next you have the plastic drainage basins
these are made by a number of different companies and most of them are built to last a lifetime. These
drainage basins come in many different shapes and sizes but we would not suggest your go any smaller
than 9 inches by 9 inches for the yard drainage basins and 6 inch round for the garden drainage basins.
These type of landscape drainage basins are normally the ones used by the drain experts because they
are more versatile and easier to work with. These drainage basins come with different grates (Tops) for
different applications a flat green grates for the grass and black flat grates for others in stone or flower
beds. The grates also come in atrium grates which are grates that are built higher like a dome shape to
allow water to flow if the bottom of the grate gets clogged. If you clean around the grates after each storm
there will be no need to install atrium drainage grates as they are unsightly in the landscapes because of
domed shape but you might want to consider them if using them directly in the flower beds to keep mulch
from clogging drains. Some drainage experts but very few prefer to build there own catch basins out of
brick and mortar this too is an acceptable practice and some times can be used to get slope on the pipe
in cases where every inch counts because the slope of the land is very minute because this will allow the
pipe to be raised to where they need it and a few inches at this point can mean the difference between
a successful drain or unsuccessful drain. Always make sure that the drainage contractor is using actual
drain catch basins and not sticking a four inch grate on the end of a fitting.

Which brings us to proper fittings to be used in backyard drainage systems. The more fittings used in a
drainage system or as many know as French drains (which we will discuss in this article and more in
depth in a future article soon to follow) will slow down the water so an ideal system is using the least
amount of fittings as possible. The fittings used in a drainage system include a 90° long and short, 45°,
22½°, Y’s, and T’s all these fittings come in different material for the different types of pipe which we will
discuss next. Even though they sale short and long 90°’s the long 90° is the only one that should be used
and is the only one a drain expert will use. I myself prefer to use two 45° separated so to slow the water
flow as least as I possibly can. The suppliers also sell T’s but they are not an approved fitting in a lawn
drainage system unless they are being used as a clean out access which is only needed if you have an
extremely long run without a drainage basin for access. The Y’s are the only proper fitting to be used by
the drain expert to connect another pipe into the main drainage system. All of the other fittings can be
used but always try to find the straightest route possible.

The Final material in a system which is also one of the most important is the type of drain pipe. There
are several types of drain pipe that are used in drainage systems such as Schedule 40 (The thickest),
SDR35 (The next step down), Sewer pipe (Thin Wall), and corrugated pipe. The only two that are
considered correct installation practice by the drain experts are schedule 40 and SDR35 all others are
the cheap way out and come with expensive consequences later on. The SDR35 pipe is the norm and
followed by all of the drain experts because schedule 40 is considered overkill. If you choose to do a
drainage system and not use the approved pipe a few years from now you may have to redo the whole
system. The first of the unapproved options sewer pipe is thin and very easy to crack under pressure
from roots or future digging. Once the pipe breaks dirt and roots can get into the pipe and cause the
system to get clogged and no longer function as it should. Corrugated pipe which is a black flexible pipe
can and will hold dirt in the ridges and after the years will get clogged with dirt slowing down or stopping
the whole drainage system or another problem that can occur is a root can grow underneath it and since
it is flexible will cause the pipe to raise and stop the flow of the drainage system. All of the above
scenarios will cause the system to be dug up and redone which can become very costly.

Installing a drainage system is a big project and one must research the correct procedures to pick a drain
expert that will do it right the first time and stand behind his work. I pray that this article has helped you
in your quest for knowledge so that you can be informed. Please feel free to post in my blog any
questions or comments you might have.

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