In St. Louis, we get rain cycles that last 4-6+ weeks at any time of the year. Remember the flood of 1993 happened in August and in 2016 we had flooding in December. This rain can lead to serious drainage issues and serve to expose less serious but annoying issues.
From new construction to established properties, Poynter Landscape Architecture & Construction has reduced drainage issues, erosion control, and basement water complications to a science. If you have noticed puddles throughout your property, areas of streaming water during storms, erosion, or basement water, you may have a solvable drainage issue.
Drainage engineering is fundamental to outdoor design success and just as you would expect your house to be level; your outdoor space should drain properly. Diagnosing drainage issues begin with math; a topography to be specific. A topography is a measurement of your property which may reveal existing issues and more importantly potential drainage issues that could occur after construction. When designing a new outdoor space it is just as important to avoid creating drainage issues.
A topography takes the guess work out of determining drainage concerns. Trusting your ‘eye’, as many companies often do, is never the correct path to resolving a drainage problem and a competent Landscape Architect would never make this suggestion. Different surfaces such as turf vs pavers or asphalt require different degrees of pitch (% of fall) to have proper surface water flow and a respectable Landscape Architect will be able to explain these differences.
Once your site’s drainage issues are determined there are many ways to address those issues, such as grading, dry stream beds, creeks, flow wells, trench drains and French drains.
Many times, water in the basement is an indication of surface water issues. Basements are particularly prone to silent and non-visual damage or wear. ‘Hydrostatic Pressure’ happens when the air cavities in the soil are fully loaded with water. Hydrostatic pressure can greatly increase the potential for leaks into your basement and is a major cause of basement water problems.
During wet weather, the soil around your basement is saturated with water and there could be tens of thousands of pounds in hydrostatic pressure on your foundation. This pressure pushes the water into the basement through cracks and joints. Any standing water or excessive roof water near your home substantially increases the basements’ hydrostatic pressure levels.
Erosion is often due to natural occurrences like the effects of high rainfall and happens when there is not enough vegetation to hold the soil in place due to the surface water flow. Landscape Architects will have knowledge of local soil types, slope angles, average rainfall, plants that thrive in your microclimate, and proper irrigation techniques. This knowledge will help guide you when determining what solutions are needed to treat and control your erosion problems.
There are many different types of erosion control you can implement which are harmless to your surrounding landscapes, lawns and gardens. Plants are natural protectors of soil. They cloak the ground in foliage which prevents rain drops from falling directly onto soil particles and plant roots help to bind soils underground. In addition to plants, some alternative erosion solutions include water diversion, rain gardens, retaining walls, grid systems, geotextiles, and piping.
Erosion is a problem that should be dealt with immediately to prevent further damage and to prevent small problems from escalating into large problems. Finding the proper solution for your erosion issues will secure a healthy and vibrant landscape.