A little more advise please

ricksample(6)May 5, 2014

Alright everyone... I'm excited to say that I minimal loss this spring. So far everything is budding out, just a few more to go. Even the ones I planted last fall that were totally brown and I dug up to repot last month are breaking bud.

Anyhow, here's what I have done so far this spring. I've dug up everything and potted them that were in low areas of the yard where water gathered. Everything that I planted last fall in my field has been dug up. I pretty much have a clean slate now and I would like to do it right.

For those that have followed my posts, a month ago I decided to do a pond to take care of my drainage issue. After countless hours meeting contractors I've decided against this. They wanted around $8,000-$12,000 to dig a 100' x 50' pond. Which is a very small pond & would only take 2 days to complete. Plus their is a good chance I could hit rock 8' deep which means I would have to have clay hauled in and that would increase the cost a lot more. I've also had a few other people out to see what they think about the drainage issues from regrading to tile drains and they are also just as high wanting nearly $2-$4K a day over several days. I don't make 4K a month, I'm not about to pay someone 4K a day. So I did contact the professionals as everyone suggested, but unfortunately I can't afford them.

To rent a small excavator it's $300 a day... so I would like to try to fix this problem myself, but would like your opinion before I get started. The problem has been identified as not only clay, but hard compacted subsoil starting about 3-4' down which is allowing the water to move horizontally instead of vertically. The water finds the path of least resistance (the hole) and fills it. Just thinking about this logically, I would have to create this hole on a larger scale then reverse it. Meaning dig a large hole, let it fill with water, then pump the water to the street.

I'm having dirt hauled in this week to raise all of my planting beds 1' above the soil. This will fix my drainage issues for the plants, but I would still like to physically get rid of the water. I'm thinking of digging a 100' long x 10' wide x 2' deep. Swale/Ditch/creek/moat/watever you want to call it with a couple french drains running into it. Then build a small bridge to cross over to a small 40' x 40' area that will have a pergola, fire pit, shade trees, etc. My goal isn't to keep water in this ditch, but to remove it. I'm planning to hook up an hydraulic ram pump that will send the water 200' away to my culvert. hydraulic ram pump is just a motor-less pump that I can build myself that uses just a couple check valves to push water up hill and requires no electric/gas. I kind of like the idea of crossing this ditch to the pergola area. Another easier option would be to just delete the pergola area and dig a smaller hole roughly 10x10x8 with drain pipes running to it (and hope) I hit rock so it drains. If it doesn't, hook up an hydraulic ram pump. With the mini excavator I'm renting, you can't dig a pond.

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beng(z6 western MD)

As an old engineer, I adhere to "simple solutions are better" (and cheaper). Why not just plant wet-tolerant trees/shrubs/perennials/annuals in the wet area?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:29AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you might want to talk with your extension office.. and perhaps the soil conservation office..

and insure you have all requisite permits for moving water ... there is some peeps out west living that sort of nightmare ....

and.. how deep do you think you will need to pile soil ... to accomplish one foot ... think about this ... you might need 18 to 24 inches... so its settles to 12 ... dont you think... dont want to be having to redo it in fall ..

have you considered.. that moving might be easier???? ... lol


    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:49AM
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Ken - lol... I honestly wish I could. I built this house during the recession. Every company that gave me quotes to build our house kept lowering their offer until I finally signed. I saved around 100K on building. If I sold for just what I paid for it, today I could only get a house 1/4th the size of mine on a very small city lot.

I prefer to keep the permits on the down low if you will.... I've learned my lesson. Our county is extremely strict when it comes to doing anything to our property. I had a 3rd car garage built a couple years ago. They said my house (2400 SQ FEET) wasn't large enough for this 25' deep x 15' wide new garage bay. My garage square footage was only allowed to be at 900. So I had to physically build a wall to close in a portion of my garage permanently to lower the sq footage of my garage. So I did, got everything okayed by the township and after they left, I knocked that wall down. Same for little shed out back... They said I couldn't have that because I had to much garage space. So I told them okay and the next day I rented a truck myself and bought me a shed lol. Same goes for when I was building my basement last year. They said you can't do this because it'll make your total square footage over 4000 which is to large for our township. Do you wanna guess what I spent last year doing? I don't mind rules... but to tell me I can't do this or that on my property because it's to large or to small is a little stupid. I already know what the county would say about the dry river bed... they would tell me that I can't do it and I'll be out their the next day with an excavator lol.

It won't be a foot in all of the beds... just two. The other beds don't have as bad of a draining problem so I just planned to place a few inches of soil in those beds just to raise it enough so water can drain into the grassy paths which will lead to the spot where water is collected. I'm just using fill dirt for this... not topsoil because I don't want it to compact as much. Honestly, the soil isn't bad where I have raised spots in the yard from dumping excess dirt over the years, it stays nice and dry.

I don't want to have to raise all the beds 1', that's why I'm hoping this river/drainage system will correct most of the problem. The guy I had out here for tile drains said my only way to do this type of a system would be to create a hole for the drains to run into then pump it to the street since tile drains cant work uphill.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 12:50PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

rick ...

it just struck me.. that i may be thinking of someone elses yard ... mostly because you said you just built the house... and i was seeing an older house ...

you used to post pix.. show me your spread ...

i dont know if it will make a difference.... i just want to set it in my mind ...


    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 11:37AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

It seems as if you are fighting it instead of going with the flow.
Lower your lawn and use that soil to raise your beds where needed. Make the new lawn with a pronounced crown like the top of a huge pipe. Dig a small ditch between the beds and lawn and let it drain to the low exit on your property. Put in a pond or ponds where appropriate. Remember, ponds don't generate water, they store it.The lawn shape should reflect the natural drainage patterns. I'm assuming the back of your property is lower than the ditch by the street.
The less it drains, the more I contour with drainage always in mind. A puddle in a landscape is a mistrake. A pond, a stroke of genius.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 3:23PM
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Ken - I haven't taken any pictures of my house or land in a couple years... but here are the ones I've posted in the past. Perhaps it'll jog your memory a little... All of these beds are on high ground... I didn't have to move any of it.

This is the 2 acres past my septic that I'm working on now... all the brush is now gone it's just grass.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:24PM
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Mike - I'm definitely not fighting it this year... just trying to make it right the best I can. The last 3 years I fought it... I just kept planting stuff higher and higher thinking water would just run off. Luckily all of my casualties from the previous years were from junk conifers from very bad nurseries. The 10-15 beauties I got and planted last fall from Conifer Kingdom I was able to pull up a few months ago and re-pot. All except for 1 survived... so I was pretty lucky their. My main objective this year is to get rid of my drainage problem by building the planting beds higher and to have a low point so excess water has a place to drain... then next year I'll be able to plant everything.

Here's another picture of where my wet area's are and my dry areas. I've also included an arrow how the property slightly slopes. It' slopes roughly 2-3 inches within the 500' field which isn't much. Water only lays on the surface when we get extremely wet weather (over a foot of precipitation in a month). But no matter where you dig a hole in the wet areas, water won't drain.

The bed towards the top/left wet area. I plan to just build up to stop the runoff from my neighbors property. This is only because their property is higher than mine and I get all of their run off. The other wet areas I was going to do something like what you suggested... going do dig a small trench in between the beds and the exit point will be the creek (The trenches are the dark green lines between the beds in the Photoshop image). I found a good gas water pump that could easily empty that creek in just a couple minutes. I'll only drain it if we're calling for a lot of extra rain or it starts to turn into algae.

My original plan was to put in at least 1 pond, but after getting several estimates this year they're way above my price and far above the national average. The average price for a pond is $15K per acre... my pond would only be 1/10th of an acre and the guy who I trusted the most wanted around $10K.Others were a little less or a little more. If you do the math, multiply that 10K x 10 to get an acre... people around here are wanting $100K per acre to build a pond.

Here's what I kind of had in mind for that little creek area. Line the banks with large rocks and put grass on the bottom. I would build a small bridge and the pergola would sit on the right side.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 9:34PM
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