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Two Reasons to Install a French Drain

Stormwater runoff can be improved around the house by building a French Drain. A French drain is a sloped channel packed with piping and gravel to divert water runoff. Water will travel to the lowest point pulled by gravity. Often in the mountains, swift currents of water will erode the ground forming trenches carved out in the soil. When observed, this is an indication of how the water is flowing and how the ground has been graded. Spotted in the correct location to collect this flow, a French drain can help with alleviating erosion. French drains collect the water to distribute it more effectively.

When to Install a French Drain

French drains are used to alleviate water effervescence on basement walls. The clay soils of western North french drain-drainage-wet basementsCarolina soak in water and don’t drain well. This water builds up against foundation wall basements causes hydrostatic pressure to build. Too much pressure can occur and deteriorate foundation walls. If cracks are apparent, a trained professional licensed landscape contractor can access the flow of water and give suggestions on how to remedy the situation.

When building a retaining wall, it is necessary to build a French drain behind the structure to eliminate hydrostatic pressure on the wall. Extending this drain the whole length of the wall with an outage will keep the wall stable and free of water undermining the foundation and putting undue pressure on the wall.

How a French Drain Is Built

The average French drain is normally 24 inches deep and 18-24 inches wide and slopes to the outlet 3 inches for every 10 feet. Landscape fabric covers the trench and stapled. Six inches of ¾-crushed gravel is placed in the trench and socked perforated pipe is laid on top. Backfill of more ¾-crushed gravel is placed around the diameter of the pipe to provide primary support against lateral pipe deformation. Depending on how it will be french drain-storm water-Ashevillefinished on top will determine what comes next. There are options. A French drain can be finished with gravel or river stone. It can also be covered and topped with soil and grass or mulch. Depending on the finished look and the advice of your landscape contractor will determine how the final steps are performed.

If you are experiencing excess moisture in the wrong places and want to prevent damage to your basement walls or retaining walls, give us a call. We are a Stormwater BMP Inspector with NCSU and have the experience and can improve your drainage issues.

Hillside Gardening: Steep Slope Maintenance & Runoff

Handling Maintenance on a Steep Slope

Walking up a steep slope demands perseverance and stamina. Making it easier to access is key to maintaining your steep slope if there’s any hope of gardening on it. While aerobics might not be palatable, there are a few ways to access with some pre-planning and not skin your knees in the process.

steep slope-hillside gardeningTerracing your steep slope is an option with retaining walls. Depending on how steep the grade, will determine the height requirements. Retaining walls are a big plus in accessing more room to garden and for increasing usability in your space. As gardeners in the mountain, we try to find every ounce of flat land we can to make it easier and accessible. Having terraces can make it easier to access and give more flexibility in your planting palette. Terracing can also relieve rainwater runoff and slow the water down to soak into the leveled areas on the terrace. This prevents erosion and gives the gardener a reprieve in the daily chore.

In smaller gardens, gardening from the edge of the pathway or terrace will suffice. In bigger gardens, paths, steps and walkways along the grade can be built for easier gardening.

Rainwater Runoff on a Steep Slope

Rainwater runoff can be a problem if not tackled alongside planning the garden. Along with terracing, winding river rock into a natural forming creek bed is another solution. Creating a creek bed down the slope, gentling grading the hillside toward this area can be an attractive and useful resolution. The water is slowed down and allowed to soak into the bed. A rain garden can be added to the base of the creek bed for an additional filtering of water and to take advantage of more gardening space.

Once the water has reached the bottom of the hillside, installing berms and French drains that will direct water away from the foundation and entertainment areas is the next step. This ensures water isn’t eroding away your home and assets.

All of these different aspects can be addressed when planning your hillside garden area. Taking advantage of the many options with a customization plan in mind is what we do. We access each area of your property and determine the best solutions for your property. Give us a call to set up a consultation.