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Drainage Systems
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Landscape Drainage Systems

Landscape drainage systems are necessary for homes in the Houston area, which sits at about 39 feet above sea level with 21 major bayous crisscrossing the greater metropolitan area and sees the regular appearance of downpours, tropical storms and hurricanes. A properly designed and functioning landscape drainage system helps your green plants flourish while working to keep your home and family safe, thus becoming an invaluable asset in your overall home investment.

Landscape Drainage: Planning and Installation

  • Drainage plans. The total landscape drainage area of your property for drainage purposes is called a watershed. Watershed means the total water drainage area with its different slopes, rates of water run-off, soil porosity and the dividing line between each drainage surface area such as roof, deck and lawn areas. A property watershed analysis by a drainage expert will identify these different areas and will recommend the appropriate fixtures and pipe size for the landscape drainage system.
  • Permitting. Many cities require the submittal of a drainage plan with regulations concerning minimum pipe size.
  • Engineering plans. In addition, some jurisdictions may require an engineered landscape drainage plan with submitted runoff equations.
  • Tree preservation. When installing a yard drainage system, it is recommended to hand-dig trenches around trees to minimize damage to them. It is best to tunnel under tree roots by using compressed air. This method exposes tree roots so they are not torn. Alternately, pressurized water can be used to dig deep trenches and expose roots, which also minimizes damage.
  • Types of drains. Drainage systems may include gutter downspout tie-ins, catch basins (also known as yard drains), channel drains, French drains and deck drains.

Landscape Drainage: Affect on Other Systems
Drainage systems and irrigation systems can work in concert with each other. Landscape designers or landscape architects can develop a whole-system approach so that the nuts and bolts of both systems are hidden as much as possible. When that is not possible, the use of custom decorative drain gates can be used to reduce the negative visual impact. The design and location of the two systems should be seamless with the rest of the landscape design.

Drainage systems impact residential landscape maintenance as well. Since they drain water from low-lying areas, they prevent standing water that can cause slippery surfaces, mosquito breeding grounds and drowned landscaping. A proper drainage system is essential for the care of your lawn as it moves water off of your property in a timely manner, thus encouraging healthy grass and allowing your maintenance crew to perform their regular lawn service duties.

Expertise Required
“In Houston, storm drainage issues are very serious due to our flat topography, dense clay soils, and heavy forested lots compacted by years of construction that have increased impervious surfaces,” explains Jeff Halper with Exterior Worlds. “These factors have caused more streets and homes to become flooded during the heaviest rainfalls.”

Consequently, local ordinances are beginning to follow the model used by the Memorial Villages that require minimum pipe sizes, flow rates, temporary drainage systems, engineered drainage plans, calculations, topographic maps, and as/built plans. If drainage contractors embark on a drainage project without a thorough understanding of these demands, homeowners may find themselves dealing with the clean-up of a very expensive mess.

River Oaks, Tanglewood, West University, and the Memorial Villages, including Piney Point Village, Hunter Creek Village, Bunker Hill Village and Hedwig Village, are just some of the neighborhoods in the greater Houston area served by Exterior Worlds since 1987. Providing high-end landscape design and services, Exterior Worlds can be reached at 713-827-2255 to discuss a drainage system for your home and property.