Rain, rain, go away. How drainage affects your property.

Dated: 10/17/2018

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Rain, rain, go away. How drainage affects your property.

A little rain may be just what our plants and trees need after our dry summers, but a lot of rain can become a problem for some properties.  I was driving through my neighborhood during a heavy downpour and I noticed quite a few homes with water pooling up right next to their foundation and I saw flower beds become pools—probably not their desired water feature. Proper drainage is an essential factor for property owners looking to preserve their investment and avoid costly repair bills. Here are a few ways that improper water drainage affects your property:

Soil expansion: The type of soil your property is built on can have an adverse effect on your drainage. Soil that is mainly composed of gravel or sand tends to create water pooling. On the other hand, expansive clay soil, found in most of North Texas, swells and expands when it is saturated. That means that your foundation will shift and you could start to see some signs, such as cracks in the walls of your property. Replacing all of the soil is out of the question for most owners so instead it’s better to focus on improving your drainage.

Soil erosion: If water runoff from your roof or gutter pours within a couple of feet of your home, the soil surrounding your foundation will erode as water moves to the lowest point in your yard. The movement could ultimately cause your property’s foundation to slip and move in the same pattern. Check the perimeter of your property during and after it rains to see what’s going on.

Water damage: If you have water draining towards your property, it could penetrate inside and cause unseen damage. Mold and mildew can begin to grow and that can be a health issue along with being unsightly. Any signs of water damage should be addressed as soon as possible to mitigate the damage.

Tips to improving your drainage:

Proper Sloping: To improve the drainage around your foundation, consider hiring a professional to slope the surrounding soil to carry the water away from areas that could cause harm. Next, have the soil compacted with a mechanical compactor. This will press the soil down, making it less likely to move or shift. Loose soil creates water runoff, shifting and changing the rate of settling and eventually resulting in a negative grade. If this happens, expect the water to drain back to the foundation of the property, which is exactly what you are trying to avoid.

Modify Your Gutters: Not all properties have gutters, those that do are not modified for optimal foundation drainage. That water coming down from the roof tends to pool right beside the foundation and probably fills up your flower beds.

Consider extending the down spout to carry the water away from the foundation. Pro tip: You can bury the extension to hide it if you don’t like seeing it or to avoid tripping over it.

Use a catch basin. This will be buried where the downspout ends. Start filling the basin with crushed stones and add an underground drain pipe that comes out the side of the basin. This pipe should run above the ground going straight for a drainage ditch. Or, it can just empty up into a dry well.

If you are getting gutters installed to your property, make sure to ask about the extensions to direct water away from the property. That is  usually not part of a basic installation so keep that in mind when you get quotes on prices.

Landscape: Consider landscaping that is decorative and functional, such as ground cover plants, liners, rocks or gravel, you can keep preventing erosion around your home’s foundation. Most mulch and bark is not heavy enough to withstand a heavy downpour.

Install French Drains: French drains are trenches designed to pull water down a slope and away from the house. Often, these drains can be disguised within your landscaping and are incredibly effective in low-elevation areas where water tends to accumulate.

It is always best to consult professionals who are experienced in handling drainage issues. There are plenty of do-it-yourself tips and videos that can help but nothing beats the work of a professional with years of experience. Or tackle the issues yourself and see how you can improve your drainage.

Send me an email to and I can get you in touch with recommended professionals. 

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