How best to handle water draining onto driveway
November 9, 2016 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Water drains onto my driveway from the bed next to it and I'm unsure how to fix it.

It does not do this just when it rains, but constantly. Pictures are here. What might be causing this? What would be a good way to prevent this? I have thought about building a retaining wall like this. If I were to call a professional to diagnose and fix this problem, what would that person's title be?
posted by ND¢ to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would dig a hole deeper then the driveway and it's under bedding. Then fill it with gravel topping it with garden fabric and topsoil. This should allow the water to drain into the ground instead of out onto the driveway.
posted by tman99 at 9:30 AM on November 9, 2016

You say it does this when it's not raining. Where is the water coming from? Is it surface runoff, or does it come up from the soil?

Couple of possibilities. That looks like the low spot of your concrete. Is the soil saturated from water running off the concrete? If not, and it's not surface run off from sprinklers, you have a broken waterline of some kind there.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:31 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd call a landscaper. Anyone who could build you a retaining wall could help with other ways of managing the drainage.

I don't think that a retaining wall would stop the drainage (you actually need to put weep holes in walls like that to make sure that they aren't getting eroded from behind by water), but you could maybe direct it to a better place.

My amateur gardener read of this situation is that the planted bed has crappy drainage, likely due to the build up of organic material over the years.

Do you own the bed? My salt-the-earth strategy might be to dig up that entire berm (including the hedges)maybe put in a gravel drain field, then add sandy soil to build it back up and replant. I might even consider purposefully creating a depression and planting that as a rain garden to handle the storm water run-off.

To be honest, you probably even have room between the hedges and the driveway to dig a long ditch which could be left as gravel/grass or planted as a rain garden if you wanted. That could leave the hedges alive (though you'll probably be messing with their root systems). Basically, you want the water to go straight down into the ground, as opposed to down the slope.

If you don't own the bed, you might be able to make this at least partially your neighbor's problem, as their landscaping shouldn't be causing damaging drainage onto your property. I'd consult with some landscapers for ideas, then go talk to the neighbors and explain the problem and offer to pay half in the spirit of neighborliness. If they are mean, you might want to consider lawyering up.

And on preview/reread -- if the water is seeping down even when it's not raining, that sounds like a sprinkler or plumbing related problem, probably coming from your neighbor so I'd work on tracking down the source.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:36 AM on November 9, 2016

Agreed that a landscaper is what you need. If this was a larger-scale drainage issue you might call in a civil engineer or an environmental engineer; but they're more expensive and I suspect there aren't many who'd want to bother with a small-scale residential project. And you'd need a landscaper or a contractor to implement the solution as well, so you might as well start there.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:45 AM on November 9, 2016

Seconding the possibility of a broken water line. Depending on your location, you should be able to get the utility company come out and mark the location of the water main for no charge.
posted by exogenous at 10:20 AM on November 9, 2016

Thanks everybody. I have reported the issue to the city and will wait to hear from them if it may be a broken water line. If it is just drainage, I will call a landscaper and discuss solutions.
posted by ND¢ at 11:02 AM on November 9, 2016

broken irrigation line, or maybe mini-septic (sometimes used for washer dryer). anything coming from neighboring house (downspout, etc)?
posted by youchirren at 11:17 AM on November 9, 2016

At that location on your property, I'd be surprised if it's a public line. I'm thinking an irrigation line.

Free utility marking usually stops at the property line as well.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:16 PM on November 9, 2016

Both the neighbors and I have sprinkler systems in our front yards, so I suppose it could be a leak in one of those. Nothing above ground of mine or my neighbors is anywhere near this spot.
posted by ND¢ at 12:47 PM on November 9, 2016

It looks like your driveway slopes to the street? If so I'd dig a ditch along the driveway about a foot deep; drop a length of socked Big O into the bottom leaving the end exposed to daylight and then fill with drainage rock.

Of course a leaky pipe should be fixed.
posted by Mitheral at 4:23 PM on November 10, 2016

« Older herniated discs and dealing with chronic pain   |   Good mechanic in San Francisco for Japanese... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.