Leaks and Landscapes: Is Your Yard Causing Household Water Damage?

It’s a situation that has affected many homeowners: not long after an extensive landscaping project, a major storm hits. Suddenly, a basement that’s never had flooding problems before is knee-deep with water. What’s going on?

The example above is just one possibility among the many ways a landscape can lead to basement floods.

How Do Landscapes Lead to Basement Floods?

Leaks and Landscapes: Is Your Yard Causing Household Water Damage?Both natural and professional landscaping can lead to basement floods. Soil erodes over time if not properly supported, and can change a proper yard slope to one that directs water towards your house.

The location of the soil surrounding your house can also make a big difference. Even if graded properly, soil which is pressed against your house may allow water to seep through the soil and into the walls.

Other times, drainage systems – whether pipes, barriers, improperly installed driveways, or drains – can lead to water backup and flooding. In these cases, piping may become clogged, or the system simply doesn’t have enough capacity to handle a strong rainy season.

Landscaping Tips to Prevent Basement Floods

A single basement flood can be a challenging experience. Recurring basement floods may quickly become frustrating.

The first thing you’ll need to do to prevent basement floods is to find where the water is entering your home.

Leaks and Landscapes: Is Your Yard Causing Household Water Damage?Pay attention to where water gathers around your house. This might mean going outside and getting wet when it’s raining hard, but it may be the only way to determine the source of water seepage!

Once you’ve found where water is entering your basement, you can take preventative steps to redirect the water away from your home.

  • Change your type of mulch – If you use pine mulch in your yard, you’re probably very familiar with it floating everywhere when your yard floods. Using hardwood mulch will help it stay in place and keep your drains from clogging.
  • Plant a rain garden – If your yard has problems with water pooling, or you want to make use of your runoff water, then consider planting a rain garden. This system is not intended to redirect water, but to absorb it and provide the plants in the rain garden plenty of water. You can find a complete list of rain garden plants here.
  • Install a swale – A swale is a concrete structure which directs pooled water away from your property. These are utilitarian but may not be ideal in front yards, or yards with existing landscaping.
  • Build a dry streambed – Similar to a swale, a dry streambed is an attractive way of providing water a way to run off your property. However, these are made of stones and not concrete, and can be shaped to fit the natural curve of your lawn.
  • Check your gutters and rain spouts – Gutters and rain spouts are easy to forget about! Check to make sure that they are intact and not rusted. Clean debris inside and redirect their flow if necessary – either towards lower ground, towards a drainage ditch, or into a rain barrel.
  • Install surface drainage systems or sub-surface drains – If your flooding is both regular and severe, you may want to consider installing surface drainage systems, sub-surface drains, or both. These will have a sizeable capacity to handle flooding from storms.
  • Grade your lawn away from the house – Remember to use fill soil, not top soil, to correct the slope. The fill dirt is less porous than topsoil, and will be more resistant to water leaking through and into your home. You’ll want to plant grass, or use stone on top of the fill soil to prevent erosion.
  • Avoid landscaping options which keep soil next to your home – A good rule of thumb is to keep a 6-inch gap between the soil and the exterior wall. Soil pressed directly against the house is one way for water to accumulate and seep into your home.

As you can see, there are plenty of options to prevent water from entering your home. You can use one or a combination of any of these ideas!

If you live in an area with heavy rain, or if your basement floods regularly, it may be a good idea to install multiple lines of protection in case of a season of extremely heavy storms.

Tidal Wave Response

When water leaks are causing damage to your home, call Tidal Wave Response at 770.693.4568.

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