Rainwater Drainage

The Importance of Rainwater Drainage and Diversion

Rainwater drainage is probably not something that you spend too much time thinking about.  If you are like most Americans, you clean out the gutters at the end of the summer and maybe a few times during the fall, and then stop worrying about the problems that come from rain.  Yet unchecked rain can cause a series of problems that if left without remedy can lead to severe complications.  Therefore, if you are getting pooling during storms either on your property or, on even worse, in your basement, then you will want to start thinking about rainwater drainage.



Problems that Can Arise from Poor Drainage

Although rainfall may not seem like a big deal, it can lead to a series of problems.  On the minor side, rainwater can stream across garden plots or lawns upturning plants or making a muck of the front plot.  Over time, such streams can alter the landscape making uneven grooves.

For those who live on inclines, such problem can become even more severe.  Unchecked run-off can lead to slippage or mud slides.  Fences can be upturned, gates made ineffective, and stairs displaced.

Pooling rainwater can become both an inconvenience and a health hazard, as standing water will attract flies and mosquitoes (some of which may carry blood born diseases like West Nile).

Even more severe problems await those hill dwellers whose homes are perched on hillsides.  Unchecked rainwater cannot only threaten the home from above, causing mud to descend onto the property, but can erode the foundation, causing slippage.  Every year, a number of Americans injure themselves and sometimes even die when the decks on the back of their hillside homes slip out from under them.

In fact, over time such erosion can threaten the overall foundation of the home.

French Drains

The solution to these problems is the art of rainwater drainage and diversion.  One of the most effective methods of draining spots that get standing water is French drains.  A French drain—eponymously named for an American farmer named French not after the country—is a trench filled with rocks to help divert water into sloughs and take it to more appropriate destinations.  These are highly effective, as are regular drains, in areas where poor design or shifting have created depressions that fill with water.

Rain Diversion System

If you live on a hill, and want to protect the foundation of your home then you might consider having a rainwater diversion system installed on your property.  Usually this system consists of troughs that redirect water around the edges of your property to a less damaging location.  When installing such systems one always needs to be careful not to redirect water to a neighbor’s property.  Such diversions often lead to legal action between neighbors; especially if the newly diverted water damages either the neighbor’s property or forces the neighbor to construct their own diversion schemes in order to protect the integrity of their home or land.


Rainwater Drainage for Harvesting

Some gardeners like to divert water to barrels and then to use the water from the rainy season to water the plants in the spring and summer—becoming an effective way to remain self-sufficient when it comes to water.  This may seem like a great deal of effort to go through just because of some rainwater, but the long term financial benefits from limiting problems with erosion and pooling will likely pay for the added expense of fixing the problems early.

If you’re not sure you have a problem, check your property out by doing a walk through right after you next big rainstorm.  If you find pools of water or notice a stream trickling through your garden, then you will definitely want to start considering a rainwater drainage system.