The Q&A Archives: Dainage Problem Due To Natural Springs On A Hillside

Question: The yard behind my home is a hillside with one flat tiered level. Beneath the flat area, the hill slopes to the base of the deck and house. There are two underground natural springs on either side of the slope resulting in the collection of both standing water at the base of the left side of the house and running water down the slope and to the right of the house into the adjacent property. Supposedly, there is an existing drain underground all along the back of the house and along both sides of the house heading out to the street and sewage pipes. The builder has visually inspected the problem and says that the inadequate drainage of water from the springs is due to the clay base of the soil on top of the drains...i.e., it can not penetrate the soil and so continues to seek out the lowest point. He has proposed digging a small ditch at the base of the slope along the back of yard and deck above the existing drain. He suggests filling that with rock so that drainage will not be impeded by soil. If this is done tastefully with river rock and so that the drain looks like a stream bed, I'm okay with the idea but first wanted to ask if this sounds like a likely long-term solution, or is there a better option. Also, due to the flow and volume of water from the spring which is resulting in running water, the top soil has been carried from that slope. Clearly, putting top soil in place a second time isn't going to cause it to stay put even if the water is adequately captured by the installation of a ditch as described above. Do you have any suggestions for what I might do with that hillside in terms of plants that are deep-rooted enough and succulant enough to thrive there? Or can you suggest something using rocks once again, that wouldn't be unattractive or a safety hazard for my kids? Thanks for your help...I sure need it.

Answer: I'm sorry but the the gravity of the question you are asking precludes my giving you advice; it requires on site inspection by a professional such as a landscape architect or engineer or other licensed and trained professional. Water always runs down hill and there are many ways of directing its flow, which one would be best is always a matter of opinion.

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