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Is Your Landscape Taking on Water?

We believe your landscape should be a functional, pleasant and personal environment. As we strive to make our outdoor spaces our own through the addition of structures and hard surfaces, water volume can start to significantly increase. It is important, when given the opportunity, to anticipate any changes in the water table. However that is not always the case. Events such as the death or removal of large trees and severe weather can unexpectedly affect how much water is in the ground.

The natural water table level helps determine the land’s vegetation. Well-aerated soil allows for warming making it easier for plants to thrive. Soil should be porous enough to allow air, water and plant roots to penetrate it. Good subsoil drainage must also be present. Plant health requires quick drainage of excess water even where plants need generous water. It’s not always top of mind but below the surface, water movement is both vertical & horizontal, and needs to be a consideration.

Excess water can be problematic for many reasons. The smallest bit of standing water is a breeding ground for pests like mosquitoes. Water retention is also damaging to such things like retaining walls, fencing and patios. Water can cause the ground to slide and shift, weakening and shifting these installations. Wooden fence posts in soggy conditions will not only shift, but have the potential to rot. Most importantly abundant water can be severely damaging for your home’s foundation, drive and walkways. You may be asking yourself how you can adapt so your landscape will be both beautiful and usable for outdoor living while keeping harmony with the surrounding land. The answer is by interrelating natural features with refined sub-structural elements.

Be prepared for the worst. Before planning any landscape improvements it is best to make note of any water flowing toward walls or your home’s foundation. Are there standing water areas? Does water run on walks and/or driveways? Where does the drainage from your house, other structures or a neighbor’s property empty? Are there any low spots or steep inclines? Is erosion present? Even if your property doesn’t typically have water problems, it is best to be ready for nature’s surprises. Once the above have been identified, there are options both sub-structural and natural that can control the water table to prevent or remedy water issues.

Underground drainage in places where soil remains soggy or stagnant is a great solution for expeditious water removal. This is the best way to deal with a lot of runoff and gives the most control over a situation. Drainage can happen in various ways:

  • Perforated drain pipe
  • Tiles to storm drain or drywell in more severe conditions
  • Drains and catch basins

Selecting and installing the proper perennial plant material can also help make a difference in excess water. Do some research, deep-rooted plants, trees and shrubs can go a long way toward soaking up water. And basin-tiered rain gardens can be designed to collect runoff and offer a natural and beautiful solution.

Always feel free to seek professional help before implementing a design, especially with severe drainage issues. Remember you can always change the slope, direct the flow, take it underground or use plants to slow down water’s flow and correct drainage issues. The number one priority in protecting your landscape integrity and investment is proper drainage.


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