2 problems: Drainage & Narrow Space Design

15 years ago

Here's the short version, the long version is below. I have a 7' wide x 45' long side yard with a grade needs to be adjusted to slope away from the house. After I deal with grading/drainage issues, I'm looking for some advice on how to design this part of my yard.

The Long Version (with photo links):

So, I moved into my first house--a great old (1880's) house-- about 4 years ago. Except for the narrow east yard, the house is on the highest part of the lot--the front lawn has a significant slope down to the sidewalk & street from the point where I'm taking the photo in the next link.

I started gardening like a maniac, and one of the first places that I started with was the long (45') & narrow (7') side yard on the east side of the house. People had given me tons of plants, and this side was mostly a place to get plants in the ground before they died. :)

When I started to prepare beds (everything was lawn when I started), I realized that my siding came almost down to ground level with just a glimpse of the old brick foundation showing. Knowing that I couldn't build a bed up any on this side of the house, I dug out the sod to create the new beds. Unfortunately, this has increased the slight slope toward the house--which is, of course, bad. From the picture in the 2nd link above, you can see the grassy pathway & the other bed to the left of the path. I know that both of these need to be dug out (since they are about 2-5" higher than the bed that I dug out by the house) and the grade needs to be adjusted to slope away from the house. However, my neighbor on this side has an even narrower piece of yard adjacent to mine. Probably about 4' wide, mostly sidewalk, with a little 1' dirt bed, which is about level with the high parts of my yard on this side of the house. Here's a photo of an aerial, which shows how close the houses are. (There's lots of pictures in the album that I've linked to, if you need other photos)

So, this is the spring that I'm finally going to tackle this project. I've started potting up all the plants from this side of the house in preparation. But, given the width constraint & height of my neighbors sidewalk/yard, I know that I won't be able to dig out & adjust the grade down enough, withough pulling water in from my neighbor's yard as well. So, I've been thinking that I'll also need to include some sort of drainage trench, pvc pipe, french drains, etc, that can drain out to the front lawn slope. But I'm not sure where to place it--how far from my foundation (I have 7' from foundation to property line).

Additionally, this is the main walkway from the front to the back of my house. For the past few years it's been a wavy grass path, that I liked alot--but after the grading & drainage has been corrected, it might be harder to have a weaving path. I'm looking for some advice on plant placement & design, which is a little tricky due to the long & narrow dimensions & need for a path.


Here is a link that might be useful: Yard Photo Album

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