Preventing Poor Drainage

The Itsy-Bitsy spider is not the only one who had rainspout issues. A poorly designed gutter and rain spout system are among the causes of drainage problems around your house. Poor stormwater drainage can not only lead to water damage in and around your home but ultimately also affects the environment.

As we all know, water flows downhill – and that is the key to proper drainage. If water is collecting in a large area, rather than moving along at a steady rate where it can flow easily into a municipal sewer system, major damage can occur. Lawns, shrubs, and plants can be damaged or destroyed by soggy, poorly graded ground. Incorrectly designed runoff from the roof can lead to water in your basement, warped floorboards, and cracks in the foundation. Once a foundation is damaged, a home may shift and sink, and cracks may appear in both the inside and outside walls. In the worst-case scenario, portions of the building could collapse. A major problem cited for the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida last year was poor drainage in the building’s design. When a multimillion dollar building can be felled because of rain, it allows one to see what a powerful force misplaced water can be.

However, there are different ways to avoid these problems before they begin. One way is to live on a desert hilltop. But this is not practical for most people, especially if you prefer to live in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. A more efficient way to ensure that your home and vegetation are protected is to have properly designed gutter systems and landscaping which may include bioswales and/or rain gardens.

A bioswale is a type of channel built into an area which allows stormwater runoff from roofs, roads, and parking lots to be conveyed to a municipal sewer system in a smooth, guided, measured way. It prevents water from overrunning and adding debris into the sewer system or pooling next to a home’s foundation, seeping inside and causing damage.

Rain gardens, on the other hand, are created by planting vegetation above a depression in the ground, allowing the excess rainwater to be filtered naturally and soak into the earth. It can also be a cost-effective way to reduce runoff. In addition, rain gardens can provide food and shelter for butterflies, songbirds, and other wildlife-friendly to the environment.

Bioswale drainage also filters out contaminants that would otherwise end up in a natural body of water, in our case, the Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay. Bioswales also prevent your runoff from being allowed to flow to your unfortunate neighbors down the hill, causing them more problems. In addition, bioswales recharge the groundwater and prevent erosion. They are not only good for your home and garden, but they also help to save the environment.

Besides being functional, properly designed bioswales can be quite beautiful. It’s always best to landscape your property with native plants for the greatest environmental impact and this is especially true in the area of the bioswales, where native plant roots are most suited to every area. These types of plants are naturally adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, making them hardier, more sustainable vegetation.

Let Y&L Landscaping help you find the right solution for your home and garden and enhance your unique landscaping needs.