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Drain Systems

Drain Systems

Drainage and grading are an obvious concern in rainy climates, but even in areas with little rainfall, proper grading can prevent problems such as water puddling in the landscape or draining towards the foundation.

Types of drain systems

  • Grassy swale.
    A swale is an area of the lawn which is carefully graded to direct water. A swale need not be obvious. “As little as a 1 inch drop every 10 feet will provide enough flow for it to be effective. A swale helps dissipate water over a larger area, or directs the water to a bog planting or a drain.
  • Bog area in landscape.
    Landscaping plants can be a great drainage solution for areas with a small amount of excess water. Red-twig dogwoods, willows, and many native plants in each region are well-adapted to periodic bog conditions.
  • French drain.
    A French drain is the most well-known type of outdoor drainage system. While the specifics vary, a French drain is usually comprised of a perforated pipe which is surrounded by gravel then wrapped in filter fabric to keep mud and particles out. A French drain directs water to a drain rather than dispersing it within the landscape.
  • Dry well system.
    Paine recommends a newer type of drainage system called a dry well. A dry well is an environmentally-friendly alternative to a French drain, because it discharges the storm water on-site. Downspouts or drains are directed to an underground storage well. The water slowly filters out of the well and eventually ends up back in the groundwater tables.
  • Corrugated plastic tubes.
    This is an inexpensive solution for directing water from downspouts. It’s simply a corrugated tube made of plastic which sits over the end of the downspout and can be buried underground to direct water within the landscape to disburse, or to a drain.

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