word "drainage" is a word you either hate or
love. Excessive water around a house and garden is bad
for everything — plants and home.
drainage around a house is often the contractor’s
failure to properly grade the structure once
construction is finished.
lot should be graded to drain surface water away from
foundation walls, according to Jamison Brown of Home
Inspections by Jamison & Co. in Poquoson, Va. —
good grade slopes a minimum of six inches within the
first 10 feet; when that’s not possible, drains or
swales can be constructed to get the job done.
or reverse lot grade allows roof water run-off to flow
back toward the home where it can wash out the soil
around the foundation and lead to foundation failure,
over the long term," says Brown, who has been
inspecting homes for 28 years.
the short term, water that gains access to the soil in
the crawl space allows wood destroying fungi to form. A
wet crawl space can lead to distorted framing and
flooring, and creates an environment conducive to
water is the main cause of moisture-related problems in
the crawl space, according to Kimberly Houston,
president of Colonial Exterminating —
www.colonialext.com — in Newport News, Va.
moisture leads to fungal growth and damages," she
also invites many pests, including termites.
good options to improve drainage around your home
include: install gutters and downspouts, keep gutters
and downspouts clean of debris and grade soil away from
your home’s foundation."
Virginia Beach, Va., Steve Nassan tackles yards that are
too wet from expansive roofs dumping hundreds of gallons
of water every time it rains. Unbelievably so, for every
one inch of rain that falls on a 1,000-square-foot roof,
expect 600 gallons of water to flow onto your yard’s
surface, according to drainage experts.
get that massive amount of rain water away from a home’s
foundation, Nassan installs Speedy Basin Drain Systems
with collection boxes located in the lowest areas of the
yard. The collection boxes and PVC connectors on gutter
downspouts feed the water into four-inch, no-hole
flexible pipes that flow to strategically placed pop-up
drains. The system is customized to meet the yard’s
size and configuration.
than 80 percent of my business is drainage
systems," says Nassan, who owns A-1 Lawn and
Landscaping Services — www.a-1lawnandlandscaping.com.
water around a house is bad for the foundation. It can
cause the house to settle, compromising the foundation
and possibly leading to cracks. Too much water around
plants can cause roots to rot and kill plants.
Sped Basin Drain System takes care of all that.
drains work in the beginning but dirt, grass clippings,
etc., start to get into the gravel, causing the water to
slow down going into the pipe."
addition to downspouts, your AC drain line can also feed
into the underground pipes. Central air-conditioning
systems can easily collect 10, 15 or 20 gallons of water
daily, depending on the size of the house and system
cooling it. Consider directing that water away from your
foundation, at least to a gardening area where
moisture-loving plants can drink it up.
GARDENS & BARRELS
from gutter downspouts or an AC drain pipe can also be
directed to planting areas called "rain
gardens." Simply put, a rain garden is a special
spot that collects water for plants to drink. Usually,
any clay or bad soil is excavated to a depth of about 30
inches. A shallow layer, or about six inches, of gravel
is placed in the bottom. Fill the area with good, porous
soil, install your moisture-loving plants and mulch
gardens can also be used to collect water from low-lying
hard surfaces like driveways and walkways.
barrels attached to downspouts are the easiest and most
effective ways for catching rainwater from your roof.
Water collected in those barrels can be used to water
plants, wash off garden tools or moisten your compost
with spigots can be purchased at garden centers and
your own rain barrel with directions from AskHRgreen.org,
a public awareness of 17 Hampton Roads Virginia city and
county governments and the Hampton Roads Planning
District Commission, at http://askhrgreen.org/how-to-build-a-rain-barrel.
more about rain garden design and usage with
AskHRgreen.org at http://askhrgreen.org/rain-gardens and
the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension
Center in Virginia Beach at www.arec.vaes.vt.edu/hampton-roads/gardens/rain-garden/index.html.
plants are ideal for rain gardens and low-lying,
though all these plants are labeled as
"moisture-lovers," they do not like to sit in
standing water. Organic compost or finely shredded
hardwood mulch worked into the planting soil around them
will help the area drain better.
Van Mullekom is the garden/home columnist for the Daily
Press in Newport News, Va. Follow her on