Backyard Drainage Problem

by Tim
(Chesapeake, VA)

Backyard

Backyard

My backyard is fairly small and has a city storm drain in one of the lower corners to help get rid of the rain water. The problem is that over the years, the ground soil has settled and now the city storm drain sits up higher than the surrounding ground, which leaves my backyard looking like a swamp after it rains. I thought about putting in a french style drainage ditch with a drain pipe burried beneath the surface of the ground, but I'm afraid the roots from the trees and bushes would quickly clog the drainage pipe. The other thought would be to add more backfill and then topsoil to help bring the level of the ground back high enough so that the water would more easily drain into the storm drain. But I'm worried it would only be a matter of time again before that soil got washed down the storm drain and/or settled. I have also had problems with sink holes in the area around the storm drain. I've put several bags of rock in the sink holes and then covered them with the clay soil that is in the ground. Do you have any recommendations for my drainage issue?


Dear Tim,

The best way to eliminate water in your back yard is to bring the level of the lawn back up to a level where it will naturally drain into the storm sewer. It looks like other properties may be draining onto your property that only exaggerates the problem and you having to maintain this drainage way. Because of the water regularly draining across this area, when you do the repair, you will have to use sod. Seed will only wash away.
The sink holes around the storm drain are happening because the soil wasn't compacted well when the contractors back filled around the drain after construction. The soil you put in over the gravel may hold, it's hard to say. It also may eventually wash through the gravel and sink again. The only way to fix it properly would be to dig out around the drain until you get to good solid ground. Back fill, compacting the soil every 6 inches of fill that's added. Is this area a drainage easement for your neighborhood? Can you get any help with this work from the developer/homeowner's association?
Thanks for the submission. Hope I helped!

Nancy

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