Wording With Purpose

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Storm water pouring from downspouts can do untold damage to a home and landscape. In this article I’ll explain one way to give that water safe passage.

Your drainage application may be more complicated, and I suggest donning a raincoat to inspect the water flow in your yard during a downpour. Choose a storm that is not punctuated with lightning, though. Take note of pooling water, flowing water, and derive a suitable plan for addressing the matter.

In this case a gutter was installed across the back of the house/carport and the downspout dumped water around the deck pilings and into the basement wall. One season of erosion exposed the concrete footers for the deck. We’re going to make it right.

The yard slopes away from the house into the woods beyond so 25’ of buried drainpipe will resolve the problem. Given the yard will one day display lush grass, I need to bury the pipe deep enough to have 4” of dirt above the pipe. Burying the pipe too shallow may allow the grass to germinate, but it will likely not survive.

Mark the planned path for the pipe using stakes and a string. This serves as an aid to keep the ditch-diggers on target.

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Every job is a blast when we mix in a little fun.

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This magical shot is Daniel at the end of a 10’ pipe.

Yard Drainage (5)Wear suspenders or plan on hitching up your pants often. Wardrobe malfunctions are common among ditch diggers. Doesn’t matter. It’s time to get cracking.

Yard Drainage (6)Digging a ditch is about…getting it done. Start at one end and dig. Daniel and I are working from opposite ends, and the string guide will increase our odds of joining in the middle.

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Amanda display great form with her mattock.

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I centered the catch basin under the downspout with the grate at grade level.

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The ditch is nearly done. We opted to place the dirt in wheelbarrows and on tarps to protect the grass. Note: verify the air pressure in the wheelbarrow tire before loading it with heavy soil. A wheelbarrow with a flat tire is not easy to move.

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The catch basin will slope slightly downhill.

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Begin attaching the drain pipe. We used solid rather than slotted pipe since this is not intended to be a leach bed.

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Look for high spots before covering the pipe.

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Begin back filling at the catch basin since its location is critical.

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Daniel is thankful for his college degree and his cushy inside job. I was delighted to work with him on this task and can report we finished the job in half the time I estimated.

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At the drain end of the pipe we discussed snakes, toads, and critter that like dark holes.

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Stones, gleaned from the property will slow the water exiting the pipe and prevent erosion on the hillside. I expect to adjust this part of the job after we see how the water flows.

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Daniel is ready to install the plug at the drain end.

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And that should prevent snakes from taking residence in the tunnel.

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Cover the pipe. Level the soil. Sprinkle grass seed. Call it a day.

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Cost: $50 for 3 sections of pipe, the catch basin, and the cap assembly

Time: Less than 2 hours with 4 workers.

Note: This lawn was backfilled with top soil in the recent past so the digging crew encountered no rocks or roots. Sweet!