Drainage Issues? We’ve Got Answers!

It’s not uncommon to find families with drainage problems in their yards, and that can pose a huge problem when heavy rainstorms come through. In the last few weeks, hurricane weather brought 5-7 inches of rain into the Mid-South, and we received tons of calls about drainage problems as a result. Many homes were flooded, and those that weren’t could end up having problems with a rotting lawn or pests due to standing water. Here at Memphis Landscape, we want to make sure that no natural disaster adds any unnecessary damage to your yard. We understand the dangers that come with poor drainage and want to help you keep your yard resilient no matter what disasters come your way.

Good water drainage can be created with an assessment by a professional and just a few simple steps. The most important thing about drainage is making sure that water is being carried away from your house quickly and consistently. If not, it can cause your lawn to rot, which will keep your garden from thriving and make it easy to harbor pests. Standing water is dangerous and water draining against your home is even worse. The last thing you want is for it to water to leak into your house and cause damage.

Since drainage problems are common in the Memphis area, we’ve put together this list of common drainage problems and how they can be solved.


flooded street

Common Drainage Problems

Problem #1 – Yard Pitch or Slope

Most of the problems we find with drainage are the lack of slope or pitch in a yard, which prevents water runoff from being diverted away from the house. The issue can often be made more complicated by downspouts that don’t pipe away the rainwater from the property. A lot of issues can also be caused by houses that are set too low by the builder.

Fortunately, there are several solutions to this problem! When lawn areas are set too low, a French drain or catch basin can be used. However, keep in mind that French drains can get clogged after three to five years of use. You can also create a lower area called a swale (shallow gully) to direct water away. It is always preferable to have runoff water flow naturally over land without resorting to catch basins and French drains.


Problem #2 – Front Entrance Walkway

One of the biggest problem areas we see is the space between the front sidewalk and the house. Usually the sidewalk is parallel to the house and creates a piece of land in between them. The sidewalk will then act as a dam and will keep standing water in that area. What makes the problem worse is that downspouts are often directed to this area which means that all the water from the roof will be routed here as well.

One of the more aesthetic ways to solve this problem is by taking a portion of the walkway out and replacing it with stepping stones or you can cut the sidewalk in a design that lets the water through easily. Another solution is to install a pipe and catch basin underneath the sidewalk that can pipe the water away.


Problem #3 – Downspout Issues

It’s not uncommon for newer homes to have issues with drainage because builders don’t install downspouts, and this causes water to stay in one spot and not get diverted away from the house. There are also some downspouts that divert water towards the house rather than away from it. This is an issue because water that is directed to the house can end up in the basement or too close to the foundation of the house.

Your solution should not be to send the water to your property line and into your neighbor’s yard. Instead, what you’ll want to do is redirect the water into other areas into your yard where it could do some good.

If your yard is flat, then your only option is to create a pop-up. You start by pitching the slope of the drain pipe. It’ll go down below grade and when it gets to the street, it “pops-up” out of the ground and spills water out onto the street. The only problem with this is if there’s a major storm or water issue, since this can cause water to get backed up in the downspout. The alternative to this is to route the downspout to a dry creek bed or another sub-surface drainage system.


Problem #4 – Erosion from Water Runoff

Some problems can occur from excessive downspout water that comes from pipe openings, and this creates erosion areas in your yard. One way to fix this is by installing a dry creek bed to carry the water off. Not only are they functional, but they can become a nice feature in your yard. You can create a natural look by you can use river slicks and boulders. Although it may cost more than it would to install a catch basin, it’s a much better solution to have water running over the surface in a more natural way rather than underground where clogging problems can come up. We can put down a rubber liner and then put rocks on top of it and it acts as a water slide so that there isn’t any silt build-up.


Problem #5 – Soggy Trouble Spots

Child standing in flooded yardA lot of people with drainage issues seem to have certain spots in their yard that never dry up, no matter what the weather’s like outside. There are several different reasons this could be happening: you could have a spring or underground creek that might have fractured and is emerging on your lawn, or it could be caused by a large depression in your landscape where all your water is draining.

One solution is to install a rain garden in the location of the problem. It’s a great way to keep water on the property instead of sending to the street curb or into creeks. The best kind of rain garden is an area that has been excavated out and a gravel soil mix being put back in so that the water can be absorbed into the surrounding soil. You can fill these spaces with water-loving plants, and if the area is in a sunny spot, you can plant colorful flowers like perennials to create colorful accents to your yard.


How Memphis Landscape Can Help

Whether your problem is small like soil improvement or big like a whole new drain system, you can trust Memphis Landscape to help you get the yard you’ve dreamed of without standing water. We want you to be able to enjoy your home without the worry of storms ruining your property because of flooding and water damage.

If you’re in the Memphis area and have noticed that your yard doesn’t drain as well as it could and need assistance identifying and fixing the problem, get in touch with us so that we can come out and have a look at your yard and decide the best solution for you. Contact us here for more information or give us a call at 901.343.6400

This entry was posted by Johnny Adelmamn on at and is filed under Blog, Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.