Can Trench Drainage Fix Your Lawn’s Irrigation Problem?

Two Turtles Rests On A Drain PipeDuring the periods of heavy rainfall in Ann Arbor MI, water might flow toward your house and cause periodic flooding with the consequent soggy soil prohibiting you from getting a start on your spring yard chores. As such, you could be wondering whether you can stop this water and if there is a way to remove the water efficiently and dry the soil.

Fortunately, you can fix your lawn’s irrigation problem, dry out the soil, and prevent the flooding of your basement or crawl space by installing a trench drainage system. All you need is a little help and a single weekend.

The reason for flooding
Soil normally consists of organic debris, small pieces of rock, water, and air. The air content is usually highest in the upper 24 inches in many types of soil. Deeper into the ground, the overall weight of overlying materials compress the soil, squeezing out the air.

Water enters the soil whenever it rains, pushing air towards the surface, after which gravity takes over. For sloping yards, the water in the ground begins to flow downhill. However, level lawns suffer the most since the water movement within the soil is minimal.

The solution and why it works
The installation of a trench drainage system either intercepts and re-directs sub-surface water or helps to accelerate the movement of surface water. It is easier for the subsurface water to travel through open drain pipes and gravel compared to forcing its way through the soil. Like most things, water usually takes the path comprised of the amount of least resistance.

How to construct a do-it-yourself trench in Ann Arbor MI
Trench drainage entails perforated drainage pipes covered in gravel and installed in narrow channels, a “moat” protecting your yard or house from sub-surface or surface water. You can construct this type of drainage by digging a trench approximately 6 inches wide and 24 inches deep. To intercept sub-surface water and dry out the yard, install the trench drain along the highest part of the property, extending it to the lowest part of the yard.

Constructing the trench about six feet from the foundation provides protection to your house from the water. This system is U-shaped in many cases since it passes around houses. You need to dig a series of trenches and then interconnect them if you wish to drain a level yard. You can use an optical or a laser builder’s level to tell the high and low parts of your lot.

Exposing the end of the pipe at the edge of your yard provides the best drainage results. While wearing gloves for protection, use a 6-foot 4×4 to compact any loose soil at the bottom of the trench once you finish digging it.

Because you should never lay the piping directly onto the ground, set up a 2-inch layer of washed gravel on the compacted soil before installation of the perforated piping. The drainage holes through which the water enters ought to be a level above the ground.

When using a rigid plastic pipe that features two rows of holes along the length, correctly install the holes pointing downwards since the water table within the soil builds upwards from the bottom of the soil profile, which means water enters the pipe sooner if than if the holes point downwards. It is also true that although a little water could find its way into an upward facing hole, most of the water will only build up until it can flow into such holes after flowing around the pipes.

Cover the tubing with an inch of washed, rounded gravel once installed in the trench, and use gravel to fill the trench to within an inch of the surface. Disguise the channel by placing a piece of sod over the gravel. You can use large stepping stones or colored ones to create a walkway to conceal the drainage system even further.