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  1. Maybe I did misunderstand that about the swale... But even if it's about moving dirt around, if I did it, I'd still take the tree out that I have in mind because it's a dying maple, a sign that it's not getting enough water as maples seem to be trees that thrive on wet grounds. So if I did remove the maple, that would open some options up for grading and I guess that's why I instinctively blended that *optional* component to your swale concept. My apologies on that--I tend to merge ideas but assume the final product is the original concept when I think things through too quickly. But remove the tree or keep it, it's about moving dirt around to form little passages for the water to be transferred through. Check, got it. But the thing is that, if I do remove the tree by the street, I could lower that area enough to potentially coerce the water down toward that direction, at least on that side of the property. But even doing any of the swale concepts, it's still going to be way more than I can do on my own and pickings are pretty slim for contractors who do this kind of work around where I live. We mostly have what I call "pretend landscapers" who specialize in conning 80-somethings into mowing yards for thousands of dollars and calling that landscaping. To me, whenever I think of landscaping, I think of exactly the things we're talking about, but since that usually requires machinery or manual labor beyond planting trees or cutting grass, you just don't see many people who do that kind of work. If they do, they're usually called excavators (at least, they are in my area), and pickings for those types are pretty slim, too, at least for good ones.
  2. I'm curious about any distinctions that exist between the swale + pond idea vs. French drain + dry well idea. The swale + retention pond sounds okay but it also sounds like it would be the most disruptive to a yard without providing the more efficient medium to transfer water. One difference I can see as being better with the swale + retention pond idea is that the final point where the water ends up would be open to daylight and more likely to dry up faster whereas a dry well would likely retain water longer due to its encapsulation and less air movement, etc... Both benefit from percolation, which is an issue with my yard due to it consisting of clay loam... Regardless, the swale + pond would require my yard to undergo major landscaping. I'd have to take down a tree over in a corner in the front yard, perform some massive grading with the dirt, then install the actual swales + pond and that would be only the front yard (albeit the area which would benefit the most from something like this if it does anything at all). However, with a dry well--assuming it's fairly close to the same functionality one gains with the swale + pond--would be completely hidden under the ground and still enjoy the drainage you'd observe with the swales emptying into the pond, only better because it would likely use a more efficient drain line with tarp and pea gravel on top of that covering the pipe, etc. With all these ideas being floated around, I'm almost tempted to consider taking tons of my yard out to be replaced with a better more percolating dirt in an effort to facilitate better absorption, only at a grade to motivate the absorption away from the house... I shudder at the cost of something like this. But again, the pond idea would benefit from daylight + wind movement, thereby increasing the likelihood and speed of drying, or at least, I'm assuming... I'm just not sure what to do and I'm worried that I'd just be chasing my tail with these suggestions. But whether anyone on here likes it or not, I'm definitely doing an internal drainage system before I do anything else as part of that project is going to entail joining my two sump pumps together via the trench to incorporate redundancy that I don't currently enjoy. In other words, right now, my perimeter drain pump is on it's own circuit. So this drain system will join the two so that if one goes out, the other one can keep the drainage going. I've got 2 water proofers and a plumber coming out to the house next week with another construction guy who did my 2 basement wall rebuilds coming out sometime after that. I plan on asking them all about these ideas to see what they say. I'm afraid they'll poo-poo it and say that it's unlikely to do much for me, especially considering subsurface water issues I have (i.e. - high water table). Not saying they'd be right to poo-poo it, but just saying that this has been a common reaction to similar ideas when they're floated to these kinds of guys that have been out to my place before to talk about things like this.
  3. I see... If you did it yourself, how did you do it? If you hired someone, what kind of person did you hire to do it? Did it have that much of an impact on water and drainage to feel like it was worth doing? When I think about doing that with my yard, it's hard for me to believe it would put a dent in the amount of water I sometimes deal with in my basement, but I'm not at all dismissing this as a possible option... I guess a lot of it just depends on how it gets graded and how much gravity it gets to use.
  4. Hmmm... I'd have to think about that. I'd have to swap no less than about 1 foot worth of pea gravel in areas above the perimeter drain to have a substrate I could use for something like this unless I opt to use some sort of drain pipe approach...but the dirt substrate would allow molding a swale shape to encourage water to sink into it. I'd have to think about the depth of the pond, too, because I can't see anything less than 3' working as I'm assuming this kind of system depends entirely upon gravity and grade to work well. Then there's the placement of the pond or ponds themselves: if I did something like this, a larger pond would have to go in the front yard directly to the West of the house as close as possible to the street (which would be close to 35-40' away from the home) with maybe a smaller one installed behind the house to the East as close to the alley drive as possible (which would be about 30' away from the house). But basically, it sounds like your vision of this swale system consists of a "grassy trench path" that would be designed to channel surface water into said ponds, correct? If I did something like this, I'd probably opt for something that would transfer water better than that grassy pathway such as digging a 1 foot deep by 3 feet wide trench of topsoil completely out to carve a path that leads to the pond, then place tarp down on the exposed dirt path to prevent water bypassing this path... Then, I'd lay down pea gravel bed for a 4" pipe to rest on but then cover all of that up with the topsoil that was taken off (leaving a swale impression all along its path to encourage the water to sink into but due to the dirt covering everything, would appear as grass and not gravel--in time, at least, once the grass grows back). I mean, I guess this is a possibility. But is there any difference between this approach and the installation of a few dry wells? If I dig the pond(s) deep enough to provide gravity incentive for any water to want to use, it could work, but it would only trap whatever is on the surface (doing nothing about any subsurface water that might still exist beyond whatever gets trapped in this). Also, assuming the water eventually dries up in these ponds, I guess I'd be looking at a bare spot out in the yard whenever the water dries up or are these supposed to appear as grassy sunken spots in yards after the water dries? Leaving only a visible swale (or pipe, if I chose to use one) leading into this sunken grassy spot?
  5. Pretty much. Looking at it from the outside, you wouldn't really think it because it doesn't show an obvious bowl landscape but once you see how water behaves during rains, you realize it needs grading but because of the property itself, it's just not very possible. The closest I might be able to do is take down a tree by the city street and then bulldoze the heck out of the land to grade down the street direction, but I'm not convinced it would be impactful enough to merit the money and effort. I've attached 2 images: both basically show the house and the land it sits on. I'll try to find one that shows the rear of the home and lot, but these two might give you an idea of what I'm up against. The South face has the best options where grading is concerned but considering how my perimeter drain sits basically 7-8 feet below the driveway level, it's somewhat moot from what I can tell, which is why we decided to bring the water into the basement to be pumped out to the city rainwater drainage (the 2" discharge pipe currently runs through some crawlspace and travels underground from under the add-on master bedroom on the South side of the home). Both images I was able to grab from Google Maps but neither show the 20' 4" solid PVC downspout extensions I currently have attached to the downspouts, with one being on the South corner of the porch and 2 being behind the home on the East side. The place that I get the most water is right there on the North-West corner: water tends to come in at a corner in the basement where the old wall meets up with new. Some of this is because the contractor made no effort to compact dirt or cement anything where the old block was exposed which runs underneath the porch. Instead, they simply dumped pea gravel down into the trench after putting a thin layer of tar sealer on their new walls whereby their masonry guy tried to seal everything as well as he could from the inside using some cut-to-size CMU along with mortar. So it's no surprise that water comes in right there and I'm currently trying to get a quote about how much it would cost to dig up the pea gravel and redo that as a worst-case approach, but it still wouldn't do anything about the water coming in as there's nothing that I think can be done about it from the outside.
  6. Bill, the problem with my home is that I don't have the yard to do any grading with and since my downspouts are already at 20' out, I'm basically out of other options besides spending gobs of cash on replacing each remaining older wall. I wouldn't do that even if I had the cash to because the older walls aren't structurally problematic. But even if I did, I'd still be dealing with managing the water once it's inside because no way exists to prevent it from coming in, especially now that I have a perimeter drain line that channels water into a sump basin through the footing for it to be pumped out. I guess the sad fact is that this house is landlocked because nobody has any real solutions for this situation except the constant critiquing of ideas that have been proposed, which isn't anyone's fault, it's just the cards in the dealt hand. The only options here--to my knowledge--is an interior drain system.
  7. Thanks for that insight, Marc, but what does that mean for weep holes?
  8. So I'm on the verge of pursuing a basement drainage system which uses weep holes. It's basically your typical French drainage along each wall where it drops into a trench some perforated pipe at the footer's edge and on top of that is pea gravel followed by a drip board that encapsulates both the trench as well as about 4-6 inches worth of wall after weep holes have been drilled into the block. The bad thing about my basement is that it has a few walls that were built with what I understand as being "structural clay block," which have horizontal voids. I believe these have been "kiln fired" (see attached image and judge for yourself). The house is an older home, likely built back in the 20s or 30s and this unfinished basement was dug-out after the home was built, which is one reason these blocks might've been used. The contractor who will be doing the work seems confident that drilling into this kind of block is a simple issue and he didn't seem to expect any problems in doing it. I have 2 other walls that were recently built back in November with your common CMU block and I'm not worried about him drilling the holes into those, it's just these older clay blocks I'm worried about. My fear is that he (or his team) could either use the wrong bits or improper technique, whatever, and cause a confluence of failures forcing me to replace an entire wall. Is it worth the risk? My heart of hearts says "no," but I'm so tired of worrying about rainwater in my basement that I'm close to taking the gamble anyway. Thing is, my yard lacks necessary height to properly grade it, so there's no options with any landscaping beyond what I've already tried to do (add berm against house, etc.). I've already extended my downspouts 20+ feet out from the house with solid PVC pipe, which did help a little. The new CMU walls that were installed this past November are the only walls that have a real perimeter drain. This drain line is connected to one of my sump pumps (I have 2). The drain line itself sits on top of the footer (the contractors didn't put it at the edge, but the top of the drain pipe is below the bottom block of the new walls by at least a couple inches and it's a 4-inch corrugated-perforated black drain pipe that was used). The perimeter drain does work, both pumps pump like crazy during heavy rains, but I just get seepage along the cold / cove joints and corners where the new walls meet up with the old. Through discussions, I've been told that it can be dealt with using this interior drain system / weep hole approach, but drilling into those clay blocks keeps me up at night. Would love to know if you think it's doable... Thanks in advance.
  9. I know for a fact that it needs some grade work--the garage is a bit lower than the road. What isn't known yet is whether much room exists to do the grade work. I think I'll have (maybe at most) around 6-7 inches to work with or else do a dip towards the road but then do a sharp incline to the road to have as much grade as possible). I'll know more about that after I get the concrete barrier installed around April (if I have the cash to pull it off). I agree about the channel drain. I'd love to install one along the length of my entire driveway on both sides at some point.
  10. That came up and when I brought it up to my neighbor, he seemed to be a little sour about it for fear of water being backed up into his yard. Thing is, it's HIS water anyway, so it's like he's more concerned about me preventing HIS water from being allowed to come over into mine instead of him being a responsible home owner and dealing with his drainage problems... He can be pretty irritating sometimes about things like this but when he's not being this way, he's a great neighbor. So yeah, the berm would mean that some of this would be on his property line to make it work, so I think that's a dead-end but what I think I'm going to do is this (which is best of both worlds): Along that location--which is where the water enters into my driveway--there's already a pre-existing concrete divider. It's basically just an old and long curb boundary that someone installed years ago. It's not very pretty, has cracks and low-spots near where the water crossed over, so it doesn't block any of that water once it reaches a certain height. So after I spoke to a concrete guy this weekend, I'm going to replace it with a much higher and deeper boundary next spring. The main part I need will be on my property per a property stake I found yesterday but there's a small 4-5 foot length right on front of my garage that does a 45-degree angle to meet my garage's Northern-most edge. According to my neighbor, the previous home owner apparently built the garage with about 2 or 3 feet of garage being on my neighbor's plot. Judging from the property stake (unless he put the stake there while I wasn't looking!) I think he's right. So what this means is that for the main length of the area where water creeps over, I'll be okay to do the new concrete boundary because that's on my property but for the part closest to my garage, I might have issues with the neighbor but I doubt it since there's already boundary rocks there that I use to lay down a boundary for my driveway. I plan on speaking to him about this once the time comes to do the work but I'll be fine for the main part I need the concrete divider for where the water comes over. But once I get done with this divider, I'm going to grade the driveway down as much as possible. I kind of think I should grade everything first but I don't want to lower the area any that might be blocking water as-is. I'll try to post an image of what everything looks like at. I'm at work right now but I'll try to do that later.
  11. I had thought about adding a simple surface grate opening (like this one from Menards: https://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/water-systems/landscape-drainage/catch-basins-grates/nds-reg-3-4-plastic-round-grate-green/m13u/p-1534141687657-c-8633.htm?tid=-7052075211146383363&ipos=1) right in the yard where the water begins to pool up but close enough on my side of the yard to avoid problems with the neighbor, and connect it to my drain line that I was going to connect to the city rainwater trunk by the road. It's not a box drain but it's at least an entry point that wouldn't become compacted or stopped by the gravel in the driveway. Are there any grate systems I could install directly in my driveway? I was thinking about installing one of these somewhere near the pool-up area but in the driveway and not in a section that undergoes a lot of traffic: https://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/water-systems/landscape-drainage/catch-basins-grates/nds-reg-9-x-9-catch-basin-with-grate/900gkit/p-1534141687510-c-8633.htm?tid=-4079200001551132842&ipos=8 Sorry, but I'm sold on the adding the external sump pump in all this at some point. I just don't think there's enough grade to make everything gravity-based and when it rains hard, having it be involved would be too helpful not to have. The location I would install it at would be within proximity to an external power receptacle, leaving the only complexity left to worry about being the actual install and connection of the pipes, which I can handle if it comes down to me doing it but that depends on the other outfits I have coming out to give me options between now and the next couple weeks, too.
  12. Hi, Jim. Well, I don't have the money right now for a paving like that and even if I did, I doubt the grading is sufficient enough to handle the type of gravity lead you're thinking of. For whatever it's worth, I am definitely in the process of liaising with various excavation outfits to see if room or opportunity exists to fix that because I think I might have enough clearance to modify it a little... But not much, which is why the drainage system is coming up as being married to an eventual external sump pump. Hope that clears up some stuff.
  13. Yeah, I can't do myself any harm by looking around some more for better outfits to give me some ideas about how best to proceed... I'm in the middle of arranging some times for 2 other excavator companies to come out and talk about all this. I did some more thinking about the driveway and I'm considering using one of those longer grate drains to lay down across the middle of the driveway and use that as a dumping point for some of the 6" drainage line system I'm planning on installing. I figure that can't do any harm and should ensure proper entry, regardless of anything being packed down but this is just an idea I'm kicking around right now.
  14. I live in a home that experiences fairly bad drainage issues during bad saturations or heavy rains and I'm trying to get ahead of it by attacking my driveway with better drainage... You see, my driveway is one of the worst areas where a lot of water tends to move over from my neighbor's yard (who is either unwilling or unable to do much about it from his area). The bad thing is that much of this water makes its way into my home's old basement, which causes all sorts of problems. I have plans in motion to deal with that this coming January but in the meantime, I want to do whatever I can about the external stuff. So I spoke to an excavation guy in my town about the possibility of installing a 6" PVC drainage system underneath my entire driveway. Basically, my idea consists of laying down multiple "fingers" of this pipe along the length of my driveway (maybe 4 fingers, total) and in the future, connecting those fingers to an external sump pump that would also be in a special spot of the driveway to maximize its efficiency. I'd like to lay down a thick vapor barrier underneath each finger for added capture capabilities but initially rely on gravity alone to direct whatever these fingers catch so that the water would be moved into the town's rainwater trunk at the end of my driveway--I think I have enough grade to do that, especially given how that rainwater line is about 1.5 feet underneath the end of my driveway, easily enough to provide an 8th of an inch per-foot of decent for the 15 feet or so of distance that this would play in. Bear in mind that my driveway isn't paved or blacktopped, it's just a basic crushed lime rock base and the majority of its rocks are about half the size of a golf ball. Anyway, when I floated all this to the excavation guy, he said that it's possible the drainage PVC holes could get covered up once the gravel becomes compacted. This could lead to an ineffective drain system. He also advised against the external sump pump due to maintenance issues that sometimes come up... While I'm sure all of his considerations are 100% possible, my rationale for doing it despite his insights is that even if some of the holes get blocked up or even if the sump pump needs occasional maintenance, it would still result in a much better outcome than the one I'm currently banging my head against where the water just does whatever it wants. Sure, some of the drainage holes along the pipe my get covered but not all... And sure, the sump pump might give out at some point but not all the time. When we were discussing all this, he floated an idea about adding a box grate near the areas where water tends to pool up and just connecting that to a 6" pipe that connects to the rainwater trunk and said that the thought this would have a better impact than my idea. So I figure, why not just do both and have the best of both worlds? I'd first build out the 6" PVC finger drainage system (with the vapor barriers) and then after that, add the box grate or grates, and then sometime after that (once money gets built back up!), add an external sump pump to everything and connect that to the rainwater trunk. This sounds like a good idea, right? God, it can't hurt anything. I know it will be pretty expensive to do it all but in the end, once all the pieces are in play, I can't imagine that this wouldn't have an awesome impact. Any insights into this would be appreciated. I'm pretty convinced that this is what I'm going to do but thought I'd see if any of you have anything to add to this before I get started on it. Thanks in advance. ( I posted about this over on a different forum, too, so if I get any responses from there, I'll update this as a means of helping anyone else who might be a similar situation.)
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