bellily

Drainage Issues in Back Yard - French Drain

bellily
last month

Hello,


My house sits at the bottom of a hill. I have an existing 70 foot French drain in my backyard that runs parallel to the back of my house. However, it is 20 years old and no longer working. So, I planned to dig up the old French Drain and put in 2 Catch Basins, PVC pipe and a drywell with overflow. The drywell would sit next to a drainage collection (runs underground to creek). Questions/comments:


1) What do I do with the rock in the existing French Drain? I will be purchasing clean river rock.

2) What size rock should I purchase?

3) How deep and wide should I dig the French Drain?

2) The drywell is a sump basin measuring 32" H x 24" D. I have clay soil. How deep and wide should I dig this to make it effective?

3) The PVC pipe will have a slope to carry the water to the drywell. The current French Drain is corrugated pipe which slopes downward and then comes up to ground level to drain. But, I don't think you can do this with PVC pipe so that is why I thought of the drywell.


in the first picture, the dead spot on the left is where the current French Drain starts and where I would put the first catch basin (water pours down the hill when it heavily rains). The French Drain would run across the yard to the second picture where you see a gap between the Arborvitae trees. That is where I plan to put the Drywell and the drainage collection is on the other side the fence.




Thanks for any help! This is the first time doing this an greatly appreciate any ideas/comments.

Chris

Comments (78)

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    last month

    I have often used dry streambeds to handle the pooling issue , maybe a combo of french drain and dry creek bed.They can often make a plain yard quite attractive too.


    Best Answer
  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    The only way to get out rock out would be digging or renting a trenching machine. A vacuum -- haha :-)

    As I look at this trench on a slope, I can't help but wonder why it exists. If water were spilled out at the top, on top of the ground, it's going to run down hill and find that catch basin at the bottom of the hill. Why does it need a buried pipe to get downhill? It seems to me to add complication.

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  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Yardwork - the vacuum works great. Was clogging due to wet clay thought. Now my trench is open to air and hoping it will dry out some today. My wife is helping me. :)

    In regards to your comment about the buried pipe, I am just trying to replicate the previous French drain with improvements (no drain sock, fabric around pvc pipe and rock). Not saying that’s right, but the old French drain system worked 15 or so years.

    During rain storms I have seen runoff water coming down the hill into the start of the French drain system. So I thought catch basins would be good to put in places I have pooling of water. But that excess water may just be there because old French drain pipe was clogged.

    Are you saying I don’t need a pipe? Just dig the trench with rock and wrap in fabric? I understand what you are saying that the water will run downhill to that huge inlet/sewer basin.

    Thanks for your comments!

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    My comment is not a diagnosis. It has not been demonstrated to me that an underground drain is needed. I'm not clear on what the drain system is draining or where the start of it is. All along, I'm wondering why drainage has not been taken care of by surface grading.

    Rock wrapped in fabric with a hole-filled pipe inside of it indicates an underground collector drain. Still, I don't know what is being drained that needs this. It sounds like something that would be used at a house foundation or retaining wall footing. But it doesn't sound like that's what it's draining. So ... it's a big mystery.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Yardvaark - I should have rented a trencher. I can’t believe all the rock we pulled out of the old French drain. Vacuum worked much better today as the clay dried out due to sun finally coming out.

    Now that I dug it up, the old French drain had 65 feet of 4” corrugated pipe running parallel to the back of my house at the lowest point of my backyard. The pipe had a sock on it that was clogged. Also, the slope of the pipe was even with the yard (I think about 3” of topsoil on top of pipe) in the direction of the huge drainage inlet with the exception at the end that had to rise up to ground level. So back to your point rain runoff will flow that direction.

    We will see what happens. Will check slope tomorrow and keep going. Thanks again for your help.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    The big mystery for my is -- what is the pipe connected to at the upper end? What is it draining? Was the pipe covered in a sock and gravel throughout its entire run? Does all the pipe have holes in it made by the manufacturer? Or is it a solid corrugated pipe?

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    The pipe at the upper end wasn’t connected to anything. It just started there at the highest point and ran to the other end of the yard. The pipe at the beginning started at almost ground level and was open to the elements. Chipmunks were getting into it! During heavy rain, I could see surface water coming down the hill into this pipe. That’s why I thought about a 12”x12” nds drainage basin (connected to slotted pvc pipe, with clean gravel, wrapped in geotextile fabric)

    The old french drain had 4” corrugated pipe and was slotted and had a drain sock on it. Lots of gravel was around the pipe. From my amateur understanding, the pipe was collecting water coming down the hill during rain storms and diverting it away from house.

    Thanks for your insight.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Sorry. I said drainage basin above. Meant catch basin.

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/NDS-12-in-dia-Catch-Basin/1165799

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    With the upper end of the pipe being open to the elements, not connected to anything, means that it is not draining anything in particular. With the pipe being slotted/perforated and surrounded by gravel indicates that it is collecting water along its route. But if that route is the downhill run, it makes no sense whatsoever. Why would anyone collect water that would already be running downhill, place it in a pipe, and let it finish its journey to the same destination it would have otherwise already taken? Why couldn't the same water, if not placed in a pipe to start with, just run downhill at the surface grade, to the same place? If it was a horrific volume of water (more than what a 4" pipe will carry), running at high speed, it might make sense to capture it at the upper end, which would require containment in a basin and a catch basin, and transport it to the bottom end in a pipe just to save the yard from potential erosion. However, then it wouldn't be a collector drain, collecting water along its length. It would just be a buried, solid wall pipe transporting water, which would be expelled at the lower end. To me, so far, it seems like you have this unneeded apparatus in the yard, serving no real purpose. But still, since it is carrying some of the water, it's able to clog and look like it needs maintenance, when actually it needs abandonment or removal.

    The subject does remind us that there probably is a collector drain installed at the house foundation footing. Do we know where that water is being drained to and is it functioning properly?

    Pictures that earlier would have been helpful, but I'm not sure if they are still needed: stand at each corner of back of house and show a view across to the other side of yard which includes the back of house. We'd be seeing the back wall, patio/deck and at least the upper portion of the yard. We'd be looking for anything that would catch water and prevent it from draining downhill on its own ... such as a seat wall built in to the outer edge of patio, raised beds spaced away from the house, or just unusual grade conditions, etc.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Worked on the slope today. From YouTube videos, I used the my level showing slope. Also someone said to use a rubber ball or marble and it rolled to the other end. Lol.

    The water coming downhill does eventually makes it to the storm sewer. My understanding was that the corrugated pipe would catch the water coming downhill in the trench (surface and ground water) during rainstorms. At the top of my backyard, water flows at an insane amount downhill from the neighbors backyard. Also, the neighbor to the left of me put in a pool with retaining wall a fee years ago. I wonder if that might be contributing to my problem? Picture #1 is from my second floor showing an Ariel view. Also my front side yard (thus my house) is lower than their house. See picture #2. The grade starts dropping at the neighbors sidewalk then comes up towards the side of my house. Not totally in the picture but I need to bury my drain pipes from gutters in front yard.

    Now to backyard. It’s a mess due to all the dirt. So I need to move it away from foundation. Picture #3 is up on the hill. The tree in the middle left is blocking the sump pump and gutter discharge that drains to storm sewer inlet.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Here are picture of where the sump pump and gutter discharge are (picture # 1). Also pictures of back of my house closer. I hope the pictures help.

    Also in regards to your question where this pipe drains to it’s that huge sewer drain in picture #4. This is where all the excess rainwater eventually drains to due to the slope of my yard. And yes it drains! I checked it during a recent rainstorm. Thanks again for your help!

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Here is a link to a video my wife took during a torrential downpour. Runoff water is flowing down my hill than diverting right to the huge sewer basin. So it shows runoff water eventually making it to the huge sewer drain due to slope. This is after the existing french drain stoped working (as I didn’t have issues before this). However, could it be due to neighbors pool and retaining wall recently installed? As when you do a project like this, I would think the flow of water would change.

    What can be done to fix this? IlThanks!

    https://youtu.be/x8AmB-ww7V8

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    We should have started with broad scenes of the overall yard. Finally, I'm starting to get an idea of the lay of the land. I understand the concept of the collector drain now as I see it lies at the bottom of a swale that runs parallel to your house. Even though you said early on that it ran parallel, pictures had me questioning that and thinking it may be running in a transverse direction, which made no sense whatsoever! Whoever installed it must have been thinking to speed the drying of the bottom of the swale after rain stopped. It would have been better to put in a flume (like a mildly trough-shaped concrete or brick lined "walk" ... a gutter) at the surface of the swale bottom. Then there would have been no mystery about it and no clogging ever. However, the collector drain is not needed because you already have the swale. The collector drain pipe might have helped drying of the bottom of the swale, but that's all it would do so questionable as to whether that would have been worth it. A flume would be dry enough just as soon as the water stopped running, But a flume would not really be necessary as long as grass could successfully be grown. Or, as long as the bottom of swale did not stay wet for so long it couldn't be maintained. I'm not saying you need to install a flume, just that it would have been a better idea for this situation. I am showing an example of a yard-sized flume (minus the street and curb, of course!)


    I think you should be exploring the source of water in the above picture. Not saying this is alarming, but that you need to know. The water could possibly be redirected at the top of the hill so as not to form a rivulet along left side of yard. Does your property go all the way back to the neighbor with the dark wall or fence?

    It doesn't appear that there is significant water coming from the left neighbor, but explore all along this line in a heavy rain in order to make sure.

    So far, what I'm seeing with all the back yard drainage would not be impacting your house as all the water collection is downhill from your house.

    It is not clear where your sump discharge is draining to. I see it going into a pipe that goes in the ground. Does it go to the big storm sewer catch basin? And its function has been verified? (Good that you verified the downspout drains function.)

    I see you're readying to install PVC pipe, but from all I know now, I can't see that this will be helpful. It will end up being a pipe in the ground that does next to nothing.

    In areas with hilly land, it is not unexpected that there will be sizable amounts of water running in "gullys," swales and ditches during storms. What matters is that these are made safe for property and people and that they drain and dry up after the storm such that yards can be useful.

    For basement water infiltration, I'd be looking closer to the house for anything that is awry, starting with sump drain verification. Also, for basement wall footing drainage. Do we know where that's going and how it's getting there? It would be the same type of collector drain system with sock and gravel that you just dug up.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Wow. Thanks for the detailed comments and question. :)


    Yes, the collector drain is at the bottom of the swale. So the previous owner put the existing French drain into help the water along the way. And that‘s what I am trying to do. It had to help somewhat due to what I see now when it downpours. I like the idea of flume. Never heard of this, so good to learn something new everyday.


    In your picture with questions, the grate on left is a sewer discharge. Just says sewer on it. The grate comes off. And the neighbor used it once when installing their pool (drained water into it).


    Second question about water coming down the hill, yes I have explored. Yes, my property line does go alone that fence. The neighbors backyard is on a downward hill also and there is not good drainage (lots of weeds, dirt, etc). From the first choppy video I posted it showed at first a trench with water in it. This is my backyard property line.. I dug this trench to catch water coming from their yard and it drains in my woods to the collector drain (the same one we have been talking about the swale drains too). So this trench was dug after that video was done and is working. In regards to the other neighbors with the pool, I don’t see runoff water coming from their yard but will watch in future.


    Sump pump discharge and gutter drains to (guess what) the huge collector drain. During heavy downpours water flows into this drain no problem. Sump is working witnessed from last storm. I verified water was discharging being outside and see it flow. Also, if it wasn’t working, my basement would have flooded, like in previous years. original house was built with exterior drain tile connected to sump pit and pumped out. However, part of it clogged so I put an interior drain tile in the basement. They had to dig out the concrete floor and the pipes discharge in same pit.


    In in regards to your question about basement water filtration, a few years back we had heavily rains for days and flooding everywhere. Interstates were closed. This is after the new drain tile put in my basement. The sump pump couldn't keep up. This verified for me the new system worked, however, too well. Lol. Called company that installed it and said it should be plenty strong. I had to use a utility pump during this storm in addition to get water out if the pit. I saw limited of what they installed in new drain tile. They jackhammered concrete around the.Perimeter of most of my basement (back wall and sides). Cleaned it out and put rock in with 4”corrugated pipe. I have a few pictures, but would need to dig them up.


    So That’s why I thought I needed to do something in the backyard. But like you said my house is higher than where the swale is so water would be running away From house. I am trying to put dirt around the foundation to maybe build it up.


    we have been talking about runoff water. What about water underground? How does water travel through clay soil?


    I hope I answered your questions. thanks for your time and patience with me. Grateful for your comments and I am learning new things.



  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    All that basement business is quite a sob story. The way I understand it is that there was originally the typical footing collector drain (corrugated/sock/gravel) outside the basement walls, and this ran into a pit inside the basement where it was pumped out by the sump pump, and on to the neighborhood storm drain catch basin. The exterior collector drain eventually clogged and water began infiltrating the basement. The repair company cut a perimeter slot from the basement floor, created a perimeter channel and installed a new collector drain on the inside of the house, and this runs to the original sump pit where it is pumped out the same as before. During periods of heavy rain, the sump pump cannot keep up and a supplementary pump had to be employed.

    One fact to consider is that the sump pump is feeding into a relatively small pipe. My guess from looking at the picture is that it is 1 1/2" PVC. Maybe it's 2" but, still, that's relatively small. Consider if increasing the capacity, either by adding a second duplicate system, or replacing what exists with a larger capacity system, would be useful. What happens to the system in the event of a power failure?' Is there some method of battery backup? We know how power has a way of going out during storms. It wouldn't be good to happen here.

    Ground can be in layers and water can move laterally within these layers, so it is very difficult to ascertain exactly where ground water is coming from. One basically must protect themselves from it no matter where it comes from. Thus, the perimeter basement collector drain, and most universal of all, is making sure that grade slopes away from the house, all the way around. Since this is usually exposed, one can tell by visual inspection if it is happening. We haven't discussed front and side yards here, but does grade, for sure, slope away from the house at those areas? If not, that could be a source of basement water.

    Keep in mind that soil expands and contracts. We've all seen how clay can develop a multitude of large cracks as it dries and shrinks. If a potted plant dries out, the soil in it, too, can shrink and pull away from the pot. Then, when it's watered, the water runs right on through and drains out of the pot immediately without wetting the soil. A similar condition can happen along the basement walls. When the earth dries out enough, it can shrink and pull away from the walls leaving a thin gap. If big rains come, and grade is pitched to the house instead of away, then water can run immediately down this gap, and then into the basement. The gap will not close until the surrounding soil is again moistened, which takes time and soaking .... like wetting an old, dry, crusty dishrag.

    In the back yard, I'm not say that the collector drain at the bottom of the swale didn't function. Surely, it allowed some water in the swale to penetrate the earth, go into the collector pipe and move on to the neighborhood storm drain catch basin. I'm just saying that this has no material value. Without the collector drain, the same water would have moved to the same place without some of it being sucked into the ground. Thus, you would see more of it. But what difference does that make? Hiding some of the water in the ground might only have you think that less of it is travelling to the drain. But it causes no harm along its path of travel. The collector drain has no actual value other than possibly getting the bottom of the swale to dry up a little quicker after a rain. Installing the collector drain seems like a lot of bother for basically nothing, other than hiding some water so you can see less. I am a proponent of old school, tried and true, keeping storm water at the surface if at all possible, where it can't develop a hidden clog, where it works, and where everything can be seen. Today, everyone wants everything hidden, but that potentially has a price. Also, if you install solid pipe where the collector drain was formerly, then it will no longer be a collector drain. It would only be moving the small amount of water that was captured in a catch basin at the upper end of the pipe. But this is a relatively small amount of water that would have moved on to the same end destination, without being put in a pipe.

    Where in the yard are we here? Is this water leaving the neighbor's property? Where and how this is leaving his property needs to be explored. Is it coming from a single point, or from many points and coalescing as it reaches your property? It would have been good to see upstream of where this water started. Do I understand that you've created the trench? And whose fence is it running toward? And what happens to it on the other side of that fence?

    To sum it up thus far, I believe that whatever excess water we've seen draining in the yard, has nothing to do with the basement water infiltration issues. But we've only seen 1/4 of the house perimeter.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    What u say about my basement issues are correct. I do notice the sump pump doesn’t go off as much. I wonder if rain water is coming into the new perimeter system and accumulates in the rock before flowing into the pipe in its way to the sump pit.

    I have a little giant backup pump with a huge battery in a black box. However, I don’t think it’s that powerful (vs. new pump). Also due to my issues I left the utility pump in the pit connected to a water sensor. If water rises to a certain level in the pit, the utility pump goes off. Probably overkill, but u never know.

    I do agree I need a bigger outlet pipe, never thought of that. So the sump pump may have the power, but the outlet pipe can only discharge so much water.

    Now slope around house. I think The front and sides are ok. Not like the back. Picture 1 has the right side of my house with small downspout not connected to anything. Maybe I should. Also to the right up the hill is the drainage collector. Picture 2 left side of house. As discussed, the neighbors side yard slopes down but slopes up towards the side of my house. Now see picture 3. It’s a closeup of side of my house. This is where the water came into basement! So theory is the clog in drain tile is around here. Also is a window well. With the dirt/clay from the trench, I have been trying to slope the side here. Am I doing this right? I used a tamper tool to try and pack down the dirt. Picture 4 is behind my fence from picture 3, looking towards front of house. I used the rock from trench to fill in the area under the Japanese maple tree. I know I need to slope this better like in picture 3. Will respond to your other questions in another post....

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Yes. I dug this trench. It’s open, but wanted to do something to divert the runoff water. The white fence is mine and that’s in the right side of property. So the trench in that picture starts at the top of my backyard (where fence is). It goes parallel to the fence for maybe 20 feet. Then I turned the trench and took it gradually downhill to take advantage of slope. It goes through my woods. Exits at my white privacy fence into a drain into the drainage basin. So trench starts at picture 1. Then turns to right and gradually down hill to exit on other side of fence (pictures 2-3). In picture 4, this is an old picture, but is on the right side of my yard, upper hill. When it pours, water runs down a another stream from woods (not from my property) into a big plastic drainage pipe (15-20 inches) that goes to the same collection basin we have been talking about.

    Sound like lots of water goes into this collection basin! Maybe I should draw a picture or take better pictures.

    I agree with your comment about the French drain. These systems fail and water is eventually making it to the collection basin. However, I have already dug the trench so I need to finish the project. I hope it works. But I understand if it doesn’t work, why. And I may have future issues with it. Also, learned not to buy a house at bottom of a hill.

    Thanks for your tips!

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Here is a picture of the end of the trench I dug that came from the top of hill at fence. Picture 2 is the collection basin all my excess water drains into. Up the hill is the stream i was talking about in previous post. Also up the hill is the end of the new trench I dug that connects to the stream. Picture 3 is an arial from my second floor bedroom. New trench starts at top left, to woods and then steam downhill to drainage basin. Not the best picture but thought I would share.

    Thanks!

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    " I do notice the sump pump doesn’t go off as much." Do you mean shut off, or start off? Typically, a pump and pipe would be sized for each other. A bigger pump warrants a bigger pipe. The same way that the greater-electrical-using stove and dryer get bigger cords than the lamps. I wouldn't know if your pipe is actually throttling the pumps capacity, I'm mainly commenting on the fact that there is a limit to how much water a 1 1/2" pipe can move with a given pump. If the pump can't easily keep up with how much water is infiltrating the basement drain system, moving up in size in pump and pipe is warranted. I think the back up pump is a great idea. Hard to think that anything preventing flooding is overkill.

    It's hard to tell from a picture unless way obvious, but along the right side of garage does not look like grade is pitched away from house. It looks level. But it may be pitched and I can't see it. If it is, all you need is a splash block under the downspout in order to keep the water away from the wall, and then let the grade to the rest. If it needs to be pitched, would not be too difficult to do because greater slope is not far away.

    "Now see picture 3. It’s a closeup of side of my house. This is where the water came into basement! So theory is the clog in drain tile is around here. Are you talking about the original footing collector drain? The left side of the house, like the right, does not look like grade is pitched away from house. It looks level. Hard to say where I sit if it actually needs greater pitch. We like it to be 1" per foot drop for the first couple of feet next to the house and then no less than 1/2" for the next couple feet and then no less than 1/4" per foot for the remainder of 10' total distance from the wall. Those are minimums. In real life one can't always do this. If one doesn't have drop for 10' away from wall, then it should be slightly steeper pitch, the objective being always, get water away from the wall. Was any water coming in the window well?

    That lesson about not buying a house at the bottom of a hill is a good one to learn. At my first house, I learned don't buy a house with an inadequate crawl space. Or one that has a hill aimed at it. Well, the moles gotta love you. You saved them so much work in their tunneling around the yard! :-)

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Good morning. First off Happy Memorial Day! I hope you are enjoying it and staying safe with family.

    The sump pump not going off comment I meant starting or even noticing as much water in the sump pit. I was thinking the runoff water was maybe absorbing in the drainage rock from the new interior drain tile system. But will keep watching and look into a bigger discharge pipe from the pit.

    I don’t see a slope on the right side either. Do u think the exterior drain tile went around the garage ? As the house is a big rectangle with basement and the garage is just a concrete slab. I hope it does go around the garage. I added a splash block for now. See picture 1 I took from the ground. Maybe slight slope? But that is suspect.

    The other side of house I took a ground level picture #2. It’s from the neighbors sidewalk. The clay along the house is where I was trying to grade it.

    Picture #3 is a downspout from the other side of garage. It is connected to corrugated pipe but I have no idea where it’s going. I need to check this!

    I have another question for u another post. Thanks

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    So, from obtaining knowledge from you and a recent rain storm delaying my project, your comments make more sense. Since I am almost done with the project, I will just hope for the best. Nevertheless.....

    So I have 2 catch basins connected to pvc pipe with holes at bottom. Pipe is wrapped in rock with the geotextile fabric. Picture #1. I had a “brainstorm” to do a dry well. So I dug a hole 30” x 24”. Now it rained and water is just sitting in it. Not absorbing into soil due to clay. No percolation! So my question is should I fill this back up with dirt or rock?

    The perforated 4 inch pvc pipe from the other end was going to end at the beginning of this drywell. So now maybe run a solid pvc pipe from this to the drainage collector with pop up emitter?

    Oh, in your previous question about water coming in basement, yes that’s where the old/original drain tile failed. And there was no water in window well.

    Thanks so much. Really appreciate your comments on what U think about the dry well mess. Your have given me so much to work with!

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    Good morning and happy Memorial Day to you! Hopefully, you will get a break from digging!

    I think the pump would not start up as much only because less water is entering the sump. Not that more it would be "accumulating" in the gravel. The gravel trench has only so much air space so can only hold a finite volume of water. The pipe is carrying it to the sump as it should and as it can.

    There does seem to be a slight slope right of the garage. Not to worry then about that area. There wouldn't be a footing drainage for the garage.

    At the left side, your neighbor has a much better slope for his garage than you do for your house.

    So that would be an example of the dry well's limitations. They are a finite space, fill up with water and are no good for the rest of the storm. It looks like this is at the end of the run of pipe that's going in the swale. I can't see any value to this. I would just fill up the dry well with soil. (You could get rid of rocks in it if you want.) Am not sure how the water from the pipe gets from there into the neighborhood catch basin. It would be good if it could go in straight and direct. If it has to climb out of the pipe in order to get into the catch basin, it will eventually silt up at the end. (I think pop-up emitters are bad engineering on account of this. They are good in theory.) You might use a catch basin instead, as at least you can remove the grate and manually clean it out ... to some degree at least. I do not see it as a calamity if that pipe stops working, as it's function is to dry the bottom of swale faster. Only you could gauge how well it works. Even if it stops working, the swale is still working.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Been working on this since project since Wednesday so I am ready to be done. My wife is too. Lol. Since the gyms are closed, this is good exercise for me :)

    It makes sense what you say about the pump not starting as much. The pump runs constantly only when we have had rain pouring for days (and lots of flooding in the area).

    I may want to add drain pipe for that downspout to the right of garage. But that is more digging! Glad the picture helped with your observation.

    So for drywell, I will fill with dirt. I now understand why they are a bad idea. Good in theory. But I see water would accumulate, maybe backup in trench, mosquitos breeding ground, etc.

    So back to the picture 1. Behind the white fence is the neighborhood drainage basin. I think it makes sense to run a solid pvc pipe from the beginning of the hole to the other side of fence (this pipe would connect to the 65 feet of perforated pvc pipe). Does that make sense?

    So the new perforated pvc pipe that is buried now in rock is 9 inches below. I would have to bring the pipe up to daylight so it could drain in neighborhood drainage collector. However, u say it would silt up at end. So put a catch basin (use a 12” x 12” nds like I used at beginning of trench?) at the end and water can flow out of the top of it into the neighborhood drainage basin.

    I thought catch basins would just take water in. Now it sounds like you can also use a catch basin to discharge water! If that is correct, cool!

    Thanks again for the tips.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Here is some more pictures.
    First picture is neighborhood basin. The pipe going into it at bottom is from sump pit and gutter discharge. To the left is the swale/trench I dug. Sounds like put a catch basin in front of this concrete collector basin?

    Picture 2 is Ariel showing the flooded hole in one side of fence and concrete drainage basin in other side.

    Picture 3 is me standing on concrete drainage basin looking across my trench. So I am at the lowest point of yard as this is where eventually ends up.

    Hope this helps show you better the layout.

    Thanks!!!!!!

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    "I think it makes sense to run a solid pvc pipe from the beginning of the hole to the other side of fence (this pipe would connect to the 65 feet of perforated pvc pipe).) I can't see the exact particulars but if you can avoid having any water climb out of a pipe in order to get to ground surface or neighborhood catch basin, all the better. Where water must climb is where silt will settle out of it, accumulating at the bottom of the climb. If there is not climbing, then water washed the silt farther down the drain.

    I think the splash block is OK at right of garage so long as there is actual pitch to the grade, away from the garage wall.

    The only reason I said to add a catch basin at the end of the swale drain pipe is because if the water must climb in order to get out of the pipe, then there is going to be silting up in that area. A catch basin has a removable grate you can take off in order to clean out the silt at the end. In order for water to climb out, there must be pressure behind it, created by the slope of the water draining. (It looks like this will happen to some extent.) It's not a good a good system and a catch basin was the easiest way for you to access it for cleaning. It's purpose would not be for water entering, though whatever rain hit it would do that. It would be so much better to run the swale drain pipe directly into the neighborhood catch basin without it having to climb. But I see how that probably presents physical and/or legal problems

    I hope to add a couple of explanatory pictures tonight.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    I agree with your point about drilling into the neighborhood catch basin. I inquired about it a few years ago when doing the sump pump and gutter discharge and then there was a notice in our sewer bill (don’t do it).

    So pretty much the 65 feet of pvc perforated pvc pipe is in the trench down 9 inches. Because of the slope, I didn’t need to deviate from that. So the last 10 feet of pipe would go through that “dry well” hole with water and then in front of the neighborhood catch basin. But since I can’t connect to it, I can get a catch basin to end it. That seems like the best or only option.

    Does it make sense for that last 10 feet of pvc pipe to have holes in it or solid? I thought solid at first. Then I just emptied the dry well pit with a utility pump and starting dumping clay dirt back in. I know u can’t see it, but the dry well pit seems to be at a lower spot than the neighborhood drain basin. When I was pumping water out of the pit the discharge was coming back (downward) to they dry well pit. So I got a longer hose for the utility pump and put the hose in the neighborhood catch basin. Then it emptied out. So this sounds like an issue! It makes no sense because I think the lowest part of my backyard where trench starts is not even with where the neighborhood catch basin is. It’s hard to see because I have the fence. But if you look at the picture at where the trench starts and then look at the other end. The neighborhood catch basin is to the left of where the trench ends (where the first tree is. If take pipe straight through the fence as it is it would end up in front of the neighborhood catch basin!

    Like you said, the swale works so this may be a waste of time (French drain). But I am learning about other improvements I can make to my yard thanks to you.

    Looking forward to the pictures, but please enjoy your holiday. Thanks again.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I read and reread your description of emptying the dry well but could not understand exactly what the problem was.

    Here are 3 views of the same area, which is next to my mom's driveway, between her house and next door neighbor. The first two are views that look toward the back, with her property on the left, and the third looks toward the front. (The groundcover looks dead because I had it hacked back to the ground 2 days ago.) I know it's hard to see grade but this is a 10-foot wide strip of land that slopes downward to the front/street. It used to have no swale and the grade pitched toward my mom's drive. 3 Downspouts at the edge of the drive/carport emptied into underground pipes that went to no-one-knew-where. About 2 or three minutes after rain started, water would back up out of the pipes and flood the driveway, which also happened to wrongly pitch toward the house. Since this is Florida, it rains hard a lot and this was an extremely annoying problem. I ended up digging up the underground pipes to find that they went to the street where the water was supposed to climb upward back out of them and spill out onto the street via a modified catch basin. However, because, as I described to you earlier, the system is certain to fail on account of silting up, if not maintained. Naturally, thick grass has grown over the outlet, making it invisible, and the last 10' of pipe was full of roots and soil. It had ceased to function long before my parents bought the house. I did away with it and created the swale that (I hope) you can see in the pictures. Between the driveway and the mowing strip at the edge of her yard (10' away) the swale has a drop of about 5". The cross slope is not steep enough to impede walking, yet it creates enough water carrying capacity to handle any amount of rain coming off of the roof. (Something similar would be good along the sides of your house in order to make certain that water is flowing from the foundation.) In creating this swale, I did away with all underground pipes. Water from downspouts hits a splash block which directs it toward the swale and on away it goes. (You can see a piece of one splash block in the last picture.) As opposed to the underground pipes, this setup has no mystery whatsoever. There is nothing hidden to clog.

    We weren't going to fix the wrong-way cross-pitch (toward the house) of the drive because too costly (replace drive) but it is now a manageable problem as only about 3 times per year wind comes from the east and blows rain onto the drive. But it isn't near to the level of what the flooding pipes produced ... with EVERY rain!






  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    The dry well hole is full of dirt and rock on top now. So glad you gave me some good advice there. 😀.

    In picture 1, where the French drain starts I have a catch basin. That’s the lowest point of my yard on the left side. One would think straight across would be the neighborhood catch basin, but it is not. So now follow it to the end. The neighborhood catch basin is to the left of the rock and behind the green tree. But excess water is draining into the big catch basin so all is ok.

    You did a great job with the swale. And removing the underground pipes and explaining the situation that French drain systems fail. The old one in my backyard worked for maybe 15 years and then clogged.

    I do like the Florida pictures. My parents are in the Naples area. In that area, the weather is perfect December though April. But the summers you roast.

    So you raised some other issues and with your questions I have some observations about other areas of my yard:

    1. in front of the neighborhood drainage basin you recommended putting a catch basin (I know not the best solution). But I also have the corrugated pipe from the gutters and sump pump going into this. See picture 2. The pipe goes up into this drainage basin (comes up from ground into this). I know u said water sits in this pipe after rain, but when it rains water is pouring out of this pipe. Should I leave this pipe as is and put the modified catch basin from French drain to the left of it? Or should I connect them into catch basin? I worry if I connect it will get overloaded with water.

    2. it rained. The gutter in right of garage with the spill guard did not flow away from the house. So that’s an issue. Bummer. How do you do slope? You need lots of top soil and how do you smooth it out? Also, how do you measure to make sure slope is correct. I have a level.

    3. see picture 3. This is the front of my house looking at neighbors yard on left. I have 2 corrugated pipes from drainage I need to bury. I think when it rains there is minimal slope because I see standing water around the pipe. So this may be getting into foundation when it rains.

    4. this one is back to where neighborhood drainage basin is behind white fence. Look at picture 4. My fence is 6 feet tall. It is looking to my neighbors yard on right. The top of the fence is even with their patio!

    Thanks again for your help.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month
    last modified: last month

    OMG, Houzz just reversed the order in this thread and it's a nightmare trying to follow and respond. I hope they undo this soon!

    Your first question, about the swale drain/catch basin .... again, I'm having an impossible time understanding the question. I think it has to do with particulars of how to "connect" the swale drain to the neighborhood catch basin. But I can't figure out what you're asking or identify the problem. If you'd say what you think is wrong about it, maybe I could get it. In theory, I think you're going to have water climbing and spilling out of the end of a pipe (the swale drain) and working its way over to the neighborhood catch basin by gravity. The purpose of ending the swale drain with a catch basin is to give the water a way out, so it's not trapped in a sealed pipe, AND protect someone's foot from falling into the pipe. If the pipe is not terminating vertically, then the only thing you'd need to do is cage the end, protecting it from animals making a home in it.

    #2 ... land not draining at right of garage. The only way to create slope on flat ground is raise one end (add topsoil) or to dig away the lower end. Regrettably, the soil is high enough already along the garage wall that you probably do not want to, or should not want raise it. That leaves digging away the lower end. I know this is not great news since the area is sodded, which makes for harder work and destruction of landscaping. But adding topsoil along the garage creates a situation that could invite wood destroying insects and moisture problems for the garage framing. The general idea is that you need a swale parallel and alongside the garage, a few feet from it. The swale begins at the uppermost portion of the area that needs to be drained and continues until it connects with general, already established drainage of the yard. If the bottom of the swale runs at a 3 or 4% grade (3' or 4' drop per hundred foot of run) that is enough to do the job. If we go with 3% slope, in a run of 50' that would be a drop of 18". At some point as one excavates along, following the red line, the digging will end because the existing slope is falling away faster than the 3% pitch. At that point, the swale ends by blending with existing slope.


    Here's how I would go about it:

    1. rent a sod cutter and remove all the sod from this area of the yard. Stack it nearby on pallets for immediate reuse.



    2. in the following picture, #1 represents the area cleared of sod. #2 .... cut a single, shovel-width trench at the path of the swale bottom, following the 3% grade (if that's the pitch you decide to use. Steeper is faster drainage and shallower is slower.) After the bottom of the swale is cut and verified correct, #3 in the picture below (chartreuse lines): begin digging out adjacent soil, feathering to the surrounding soil ... blending to the existing grade at the perimeter of the area. (The perimeter won't change.) Carving out the swale, between the bottom trench and the perimeter of removed sod, would be similar to the form that you saw in my mom's side yard. At the uphill end it's going to be almost imperceptible. As it travels toward the back yard, it will become more pronounced.

    Tip: even though the sod was removed, there will be roots so kind of tough digging. You won't be able to use the shovel to create the finished swale form as you dig. Instead, you'll be chunking out a rough swale form with lots of texture. After the rough carving is finished, it can be smoothed out with a hard rake and a little shovel whacking. (Thank goodness you never landscaped this side of the garage! :-)

    Before beginning, think about where in your yard you can use topsoil, as a good bunch is going to come out. You don't want to have to pay to haul it away.


    Continuing on with your earlier questions and comments, Issue #3, the picture seems to show pipes draining toward the street. Is that correct? I'm not sure if you're asking will burying them help. I don't understand where they're draining.

    The last picture (of neighbor's patio) shows that you're definitely downhill of the neighbors! I live on 6th floor of a downtown reinforced concrete apartment building so never have worries about drainage, flooding, hurricanes ... anything. Too slow elevator is my biggest problem. :-)

    Editing to add: Great, now that I've finished my post, they've fixed the order of the posts. Crazy!

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Sorry you had issues with the post. Appreciate you hanging in there. I have issues when replying and pressing enter, my post disappears. So, I am doing the post in Word and copying over.

    So, in regards to the neighborhood catch basin, my question is connecting all the drainage pipes. I have the gutter and sump pump discharge pipe that runs to the catch basin. Also, I will need to run another gutter discharge pipe. And lastly there is the French drain discharge into a makeshift Catch basin. I added a picture with all the thinks going on. Should I connect all these pipes into a huge catch basin? If so, I just worry the flow of water will be too much.

    I made a video today as it was raining to hopefully show what is going on. I have a popup emitter where the end of the French drain is, but I will replace with catch basin soon.

    Also, where the dry well was I started putting rock. But there was a lot of water. Maybe I should of put more clay/dirt instead of rock? Does clay/dirt absorb water better?

    In regards to the side yard on the right of garage, the downspout splash guard I moved out more and water was going away form the house. :) When they built the house with the exterior drain tile, do you think they put it around the garage? As I thought they put the drain tile around the footer which is more towards the basement floor. The garage is on a concrete slab at ground level. I will wait on doing anything for the slope for now as that sounds like a big job!

    In regards to the pipes in the front, how should I bury them? I was planning on connecting the two downspouts into one pipe and then to the street. However, there is no way to end at the road. The neighbor used these outlets, but like you said water sits in them! And, they get buried in the grass.

    Sounds like you have a good setup. Always worry about hurricanes in Florida!

    Here is the link to the new video. I talked during it. I hope it gives you a better perspective. Thank you!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hac9bm-04F8&t=8s




  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    "Should I connect all these pipes into a huge catch basin?" Isn't the grade around the catch basin such that it acts like a bathtub drain, and whatever water is in the bathtub cannot help but go down the drain? ... (the bathtub being the surrounding yards.) Then it is not necessary to physically connect drain pipes to the catch basin, but merely let their water exit in the vicinity of it. From where the water leaves the pipes, it runs downhill to the catch basin and enters it. [I can't speak for your city, but most municipalities either outright discourage people from "feeding" water to the catch basin, or prohibit it by law. They want the water flowing over the land as much as possible so that it has an opportunity to sink into the soil so that the city drainage system is not overwhelmed.] As long as you are guiding water toward the neighborhood catch basin, even if too much arrives for the catch basin to handle it, and a pool forms, the pool will be away from and downhill of houses so no danger of flooding them. Even if a pool formed, it would be temporary as the catch basin will keep absorbing water until the pool is gone. (Even if it takes a while, as long as the bathtub drain is empty, the bathtub will drain.) This illustrates another reason I like surface drainage as opposed to underground pipes. Surface drainage relies on slope guiding water away. In addition to having no underground pipes to clog, one does not need to figure out what to do with the outfall end. Start adding up a bunch of and they can not only be ugly, but hard to coordinate in tight spaces ... like having too much electrical wire running to a small junction box ... it might even be hard to get the lid on.

    I would not say that clay, dirt, sand or gravel necessarily "absorbs" water. They all create 'pockets of air' between their particles and this space can be filled by water instead. The larger the particle (rock), the larger the air pockets and thus, the more water a volume of material can hold. Clay is the smallest particle so holds less air or water for the same volume of material. But the so-called drywell, is technically now a non-functioning device, no longer intended to hold water. It's just there, and it doesn't mater if water is in it or not. so it doesn't matter if it's filled with rock, sand, clay or whatever. The nearby catch basin is the water evacuating device.

    I can't speculate about whether the house builders put perimeter drain around the garage. Since it's not a wall with hydrostatic pressure building up behind it, I doubt it.

    "In regards to the pipes in the front, how should I bury them?" Oh man, now I have to say again much I like splash blocks and slope! The fact is, there is no good way to run them anywhere on, more or less, flat ground. The system of running downspouts into pipes only works well when you live where there are hills and you can run the pipes downhill until they can come out the side of the hill, somewhere a safe distance from the house. But on flat ground they are a total PITA, and prone to silting up at the outfall end. Isn't there enough slope (1/2" per foot near the house and 1/4" per foot farther away) that you can rely on slope to carry water away. That's what I'd be trying for because it is a trouble-free system to use splash blocks and slope. The only real way you could bury pipes and have them work right is by running them to the back yard where there is greater slope and letting them out in the swale, where that would carry the water toward the catch basin. But that would be a total PITA! Where the pipes are laying in the front yard, the small puddle seems like a minor depression that wouldn't show if filled with a little topsoil. I'm sure you have sheet drainage to the street but it is concealed on account of the grass. It's also soaking into the yard.

    I just watched the video. I'm glad you narrated so I didn't have to sit through a silent movie! :-) That sounds like one soggy yard! Squish squish with your every step. :-)

    It seemed to me that you probably have slight pitch from house to street, so I'm thinking you could eliminate corrugated pipes at downspouts and rely on splash blocks and slope. It would be the way I would go. If the downspout at left garage corner is draining OK, fine to leave as is. If you need, or want, to change to splash block system, you'd need to put a tailpiece on the downspout that turns it toward the walk and set the splash block under it. Then the water would flow toward the street. I can see that people don't like the splash block system because there is some surface water draining that is sometimes inconvenient (like washing over the walk). But other than that, it is a vastly more trouble-free system.

    I don't know how much you use the hose in front, but aren't those hose storage boxes the biggest pain ever to rewind?? I tried one but could not stand it. I installed a wood post in the ground, in concrete, and mounted the hose reel to it. It is rock solid and sooooo much easier to rewind the hose.

    Have you ever considered getting bluetooth drains? Then you would not need all those pipes. :-)

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    So I will just have the pipes run in the direction of the neighborhood catch basin as water does flow into it. I can understand water coming down the hill into it, but didn’t understand the other direction. Due to slope, I witnessed water coming in the drainage basin in all directions during a rainstorm.

    I need to figure out a drainpipe from a gutter. In picture 1, on the left side that corrugated pipe carries the water to where dry well hole was. As long as I run it in the direction of the drainage basin, the runoff water will flow into it. So if I dig a trench for this pipe, how do I end it? As I want to get the gutter discharge away from house.

    Do u remember in video from yesterday, I showed the hole in the corrugated pipe from the right gutter? Also in picture 1. Water was coming out of it. Also, the sump pipe has a hole in it too. How do I fix this? Can I seal the corrugated pipe somehow? Or should I start with new pvc pipe going down and connecting to the corrugated pipe underground ?

    I will see what happens with the gutter to right of garage. If still an issue, Maybe I could run discharge pipe around front corner of garage with runoff to street. But that may look stupid and I would probably hit with car. Lol.

    The pipes in front are working, just didn’t know if the water is running back to the house perimeter and goes in drain tile. How far should pipes be out from house? I will have to check the slope and fill in the area with topsoil.

    When u say rely on splash blocks with slope, are splash blocks what I have on the right side of my garage? Trying to figure out if I need the corrugated pipe or leave as is. I do like your idea about running pipe to swale but that would be a lot of digging. I need a break!

    When contractor came out, I remember he said I should regrade my yard around house. The slope goes towards the house around the perimeter so runoff water would flow into my drain tile. He said over the years that new soil from construction has sunken in. Hope that makes sense.

    And yes I hate those boxes with hose, especially when they r too small for my hose. I did have hose attached to side of house and the part holding hose kept breaking.

    I’m sorry. The comment about Bluetooth drains, does this exist? I see u have a :) face so don’t think so but just wanted to make sure.

    Thanks again and have a good night.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    Bluetooth drains ... haha! I was making a joke because you are ending up with so many pipes running everywhere ... having to look at them, bury them, or trip over them. Was thinking how bluetooth is able to eliminate so many rats nest of wires that people used to have to look at, hide or trip over. Would be great if people could have drains, but no pipes to hook up. In another universe! :-)

    The downspout at the back, outside corner of the garage, your choices are to let the pipe lie across the ground surface -- very annoying! -- or bury it, or, if pitch away from the garage wall exists, which it should, then get rid of pipe and place a splash block under the downspout and let it and the grade carry the water away.

    At the front, outside corner of garage, yes it is splash block.This system works perfectly when you have slope running away from the building. And houses are always supposed to be built with that condition met. Greater slope means faster, more positive drainage. But even modest slope will drain. It just can't handle water at the same speed or volume. The flatter the ground is, the slower the water drains.

    I happened to be at my mom's house today when a gulley washer sprung up. I tied to take a video of it for you, but I messed up so only have a couple of pictures. The first pic is from right after water started gushing down the downspout. The second is after 3 or 4 minutes and you can see that, even though a fair amount of water is in the swale, none is in danger of running toward the driveway. All runs downhill toward the street and the street carries it away. Water is also coming from farther back of the yard (behind the camera). Note that the swale also exists, though very subtly, in the paver walk.

    When the neighborhood was originally developed, a swale SHOULD have been created midway between the properties. But it wasn't (because they went with the buried, and failed, pipes I described earlier). When I added the swale, since I couldn't dig up the neighbor's yard, it forced me into squeezing it all on my mom's property, making the swale much skinnier than it would have otherwise been. Under ideal conditions, land is supposed to be pitched away from the house for at least 10', where the water would blend with overall yard drainage. Where one doesn't have 10', one must make do with what one has. In your case, a drainage swale (the one with the neighborhood catch basin in it) was placed midway between the properties. (At the left side of your yard I don't know how it is between the yards.)

    I think you might have some distress at seeing a small river of water flow through your yard, on top of the ground, but as long as it keeps moving away, there is no harm in it. Here, at my mom's, all the water will drain out of the swale within a few minutes of rain stopping. The ground will still be wet for a while, but that's the way it is everywhere outside. But there won't be any standing water in the swale, though.


    As far as fixing leaks in pipes, if a hose clamp won't do it, you may need to replace connections. It really depends on the pipe, the hole and how it's connected. If you can take a picture of it to Home Depot, they might have an idea how to plug certain leaks.

    Your question about "how far should pipes run from the downspout?" ... in my world, I'd be doing away with them and relying on splash blocks and then slope to carry the water way. Pipes are a huge nuisance in relatively flat ground as there's no good way to bury them and let the water out.

    That you had a contractor visit the site and tell you that you needed to regrade around the house in order to have better drainage, seems about the same as what I'm saying. Develop positive drainage away from house, using slope, and then the farther away parts of the yard pick up the drainage and carry it on away. Relying on all the buried pipes to drain gutters seems likes its much more work, trouble and mystery than it's worth. Old school splash blocks, slopes and surface drainage are much easier and more reliable. I can see that at this point, you're invested and wouldn't want to change anything you didn't have to.

    BTW, today I watched a Youtube video on installing a patio. If you ever decided to improve the drainage around your house by regrading, the beginning of the video shows using a sod cutter. Even better, you can see how they used the sod cutter to do the actual excavation. Loosening soil with it to make a shallow swale would be so much easier than hand digging with a shovel. Everything that applies to your situation happens in the first minute and 30 seconds of the video.

    Good night yourself! Though I'm sure you've long been asleep. :-)

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Happy Friday. :)

    I need to go out in my yard and determine the slope around my gutters. When I moved to my house, there were splash guards on the gutters and sump discharge. However, in the back of house the rain water was coming out of of the gutter and sump pump discharge and just sat there which resulted in that water going into sump pit. Then pumped out and in again! Vicious cycle. So that’s why I did the buried corrugated pipe to divert water away from house. So now I understand the issue with no slope. Thanks!

    Thanks for the pictures of the water runoff during the storm. That’s a lot of water! But the swale is doing its job. I noticed the water in my swale that I was complaining about puddling disappeared pretty quickly after the rain storm lets up. Thus, the swale is working as you described.

    The YouTube video was very interesting. I have never seen that before. After removing the sod, they dug down 7 inches. How do you do that evenly over that wide of an area?

    Another question in regards to run off water coming down the hill. I heard someone planted a weeping willow tree and they said they absorb water. Is this true and would you recommend?

    Also, over the years with water coming down the hill, I have erosion. I am seeing rocks that have been uncovered. So, that’s why my question about planting trees. Or maybe I should plant grass? See picture.

    I am hoping with the new trench at top of the hill this will help with the erosion issue and maybe I can get rid of dead spots. But planing grass on a hill is tricky. So may need to do sod.

    I have leftover rock in my driveway so in my front yard, I am going to take the old mulch and put down new rock. So, that’s my project for the weekend. :)

    Have a good evening. And thanks again.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    "However, in the back of house the rain water was coming out of of the gutter and sump pump discharge and just sat there..." You mean that water just puddled up around the house, close to the foundation? That's a sign that the mandatory pitch-to-drain-slope around the house does not exist as it should. It should be there regardless if there are underground pipes draining the gutters, because you want even the rain that falls around the house to drain away, too ... not just what's in the gutters.

    That was the main thing I wanted you to see in the video ... that they were able to use the sod cutter to loosen all the hard packed soil -- while keeping it flat -- to make excavating a shallow area easy. Waaaay much easier than all hand digging with a shovel. I was just thinking if you ever decided to fix grade around the house, the sod cutter would not only cut off the grass so you could save it and put it right back, but it could do all the hard digging.

    I would never use a weeping willow expecting it to suck up water. Yes, they love and tolerate water, but first of all, they're a junky tree that makes debris like crazy. They belong on farms, on the far side of the pond, where no one has to see or clean up their mess.

    Many times, when grass isn't growing well it's because there's too much shade. In that case, a person is better off to convert to groundcover for those area. If it's a natural area that's not too visible, free power company mulch might be good enough. Especially if one is going to convert to groundcover. They can convert to mulch first and when weeds are well controlled, begin the conversion to groundcover.

    Suit yourself on converting to gravel mulch instead of wood-based mulch, but personally, I think you may be shooting yourself in the foot on that. The number one problem is when you want to make a change, it's a huge amount of work to undo. It does not help keep weeds down any better or as good as wood based mulch. It's a pain to plant anything in it. I have nothing good to say about it actually. I would offer up the gravel on craigslist, or Facebook --. free-for-the-hauling -- just so you didn't have to haul it off. If you're going to use it, you shouldn't tell me!! :-)

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    I am learning so much about slope. I never paid attention before but I wasn’t looking for it because of a lack of knowledge. So I have to work on this over time and watching when it rains. Thanks!!!

    I am exhausted from all the shoveling. Wish I would have rented a trencher. But this is a learning experience for me. I didn’t spend much, just my labor and help from my wife. I will definitely look at the sod cutter for that kind of project as that would be a time saver and would save the grass.

    The dead spots in my yard are in shaded areas but are also where the runoff water comes down the hill when it downpours. But one would think I would have dead spots all along where the water pours down the hill. So now I am back to your shaded spot comments.

    Are you saying to put mulch on these dead spots? What do you mean by convert to ground cover? If mulch, maybe you mean building up that area? Then maybe plant grass seed or it may not grow if it’s in shaded area?

    Ready for a break from shoveling. But I have some things to look into. Thanks again for your great advise. Have a good night.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    I totally hear you on being exhausted from all the digging work. It gets old pretty quickly. I wish I could have saved you from some of it. But in the end, instead of saving you from it, I'd probably just have you digging as much but in a different way ... slopes instead of buried pipes.

    As trees grow, they generally produce so much shade that if there is grass below them, it has a hard time continuing. One possibility of improving light conditions is by either removing lower tree limbs, so light coming from the side can get under the tree, or by removing whole trees. If removing lower limbs isn't enough and one doesn't want to remove whole trees, then eventually, grass will no longer grow below them ... at least not grow well enough that it looks good and is effective against erosion.. At that point one has the option of having just mulch below trees, but it has its drawbacks, too. If must be periodically replenished (expense and work) and it can wash in storms. Usually, once it weathers and fades some, it does not look all that good. The alternative with none of those drawbacks is converting the area to groundcover, which is having another kind of low growing plant cover the ground solid like grass used to do. But it wouldn't be grass. There are usually several options for what kind of plant makes a good groundcover in a given situation in a certain locality. Once grass doesn't work well any more, it's better to create a line that forms the division between a lawn and a landscape bed, and kill all the grass remaining in the landscape bed. Then mulch the area. And then plant it with groundcover.

    You would not want groundcover mixed in with lawn. They would be different areas that are maintained differently and separately. Sometimes groundcover is used in sunny areas if there is too much slope, making it difficult to mow.

    BTW, where are you located? If you said, I forgot.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    Good morning.

    Good tips. I took down 2 big dying oak trees last June ($500 cost) in this area where the dead spots are. However, I have two tree stumps at the top of the hill. Should I get a stump grinder? Wondering if this might help with runoff water coming down the hill? I didn’t worry about it because the extra expense and being in way back of my yard/hill.

    So, maybe I might be ok trying to add some topsoil and plant grass and see what happens. Also, I agree I should to cut lower level branches on existing trees. More projects!

    I am anxious to see where water is going in that pipe to left of my garage (from gutter). The gutter is small, but it collects runoff water from the corner of my roof. So wondering if this pipe is clogged and water is just not going anywhere as there is no slope.

    I live in Missouri and the clay dirt is terrible. It sticks to everything.

    But now it’s getting to be summer here. Hot! Stay inside. But from what I remember in Florida, it’s even hotter in the summer. Where my parents r in Naples, it’s perfect weather December to April. Jealous! So my days may be numbered on outside projects (power wash fence), but I greatly appreciate the tips!

    Have a great day. 😀

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month

    I'd say "good morning" back to you but it is in fact late evening now. I hope you had a great day.

    Missouri! Ha! I never would have guessed that. For some reason, my first guess would have been Ohio. I don't know why, but when reading someone's messages, I start imagining facts filled in based on clues in the pictures or verbiage. Wasn't getting Missouri though! Damn straight Florida is HOTTTT in the summer. But worse, it is JUICY! If I'm working in my mom's yard, I'm sopping from the minute I start all the way through the drive home. So glad for AC when the work is over! And it is amen true that our winters are the greatest. Best of any place I've lived. South Texas has great winters, too.

    The good thing about cutting lower limbs with a pole pruner is that a humongous amount of work can be achieved in a single weekend, so one can feel very productive about what they've accomplished. And the result is a much more handsome yard for at least a couple of years on account of it. Eventually, more limbs will start hanging lower again. If you get into this project, hit me up for clues as to how to go about it and the equipment to use. I can save you effort.

    I can't see that grinding stumps in the way-back of the yard will make any difference for water movement or for appearance. Usually, I cut them down as low as possible and then cover with mulch or let groundcover run over them. When they are up front and highly visible is it worth having them ground out.

    C U later.

    John

  • bellily
    Original Author
    last month

    So I grew up in Southern Indiana and moved to Missouri for a job. Guess your Ohio guess wasn’t far off. Lol.

    For tree limb cutting, I think your first tip would be not to do it now? Do it in the fall after the leaves fall?

    I have 2 trees I have that I have questions on. How do you trim Japanese maples? See picture 1 and 2. I planted emerald green arborvitaes along my fence, probably too close as I am getting dead spots on lower parts of the arbs. The Japanese maple I planted and it needs to be trimmed but I don’t want to mess it up.

    Now in to the second tree. Picture 3 I would like to cut the branch on the right that veers to the neighbors yard. I worry about cutting it and falling on the fence. I hope you have some tips. I have a tree pruner with the rope pull and also an electric pole chainsaw.

    Thanks for offering your advice. But no hurry assuming you tell me to wait until the fall. 😀

    Take it easy. Chris

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I'm from northern Illinois originally. So we know all about corn!!! :-)

    You're probably aware that when you cut a bunch of growth off of a tree, it will turn around and and soon start pushing out new (returning) growth in the parts of the tree that remain ... often, directly where the cut was made, or around the upper regions of the tree, where new growth would normally occur anyway. There are really only about 2 big concerns with tree pruning. 1) Don't cut so late in the growing season that returning growth comes right before it freezes, as it may be destroyed, and therefore wasted. 2) Don't cut tip growth of a flowering tree such that you're cutting off all of this or next year's flowers. What is the downside to violating these rules? Well, in the big picture, not much! If new growth gets destroyed by a freeze (which happens in nature) it will recover later. If all the flowers for this year are cut off, there won't be bloom. But it will be back next year. So there's really nothing life or death about it. I don't know when it freezes in Missouri, but if you do the cutting not later than 8 weeks before the freeze, that's good enough. Maybe that's sometime in September, so you'd have all summer to do any shaping or structural type pruning. Flowers are probably not even an issue with the trees you're asking me about, so nothing to worry about there. Then, after trees have entered into winter dormancy, comes another time any pruning can occur, with the exception of cutting off flower buds, if that applies. It sums up that there are only a couple months at the last part of the growing season where structural and shaping pruning should be avoided.

    If one wants to trim a flowering shrub or tree to keep its size down, it's best to trim it right after the bloom is finished, as there will be plenty of time for next year's flower buds to form. There are exceptions for trees and shrubs that flower the same year on new growth. Usually, these are trimmed for size/shape anytime during the winter dormant period, up to before they start growing in the Spring. Crape myrtles would be an example of those.

    Now and through summer would be a great time to remove any bottom limbs/branches. For the limb that hangs over the fence, cut high up (it might require a step ladder), and maybe a couple feet back from a plane that extends straight up from the fence. The cut off portion will not be too large. When it is cut 3/4 through and finally folds at the cut line, it'll mainly be hanging on your side of the fence, low enough where you can grab the tip. Likely, it won't fall though until you make the final cut. You can either grab it and pull it into your yard while making the final cut, or tie a rope to it and have someone else pull it toward your yard while making the final cut. Cut off the remaining sections of the limb in small enough chunks that when they fall, they are not long enough to reach the fence. BTW, for any cutting that you are able to reach and that is less than 6" diameter, my favorite tool is the 10" folding pruning saw, either made by Corona, Fiskars, Felco, etc. It cuts like through butter. The other tool needed is a sturdy pair of loppers, the strongest possible as otherwise the handle will break. Here, I far prefer the anvil type blade arrangement as opposed to by-pass blades. When the latter gets the slightest dull, material will have a tendency to bind in the blades instead of being cut.

    For the Japanese Maple, I can't see surroundings so don't know if it has a specific landscape purpose that it is trying to fit. If not, then its purpose is just to be a pretty ornament for the yard. To create that, one needs to have a basic vision of the finished product fully grown, such as whether it is a multi or single trunk, and the proportions of the canopy to the clear trunk, and the overall shape and size of the canopy. Here, I'm going to guess that it is single trunk, will get 15' to 20' tall and have a rounded, dome shaped canopy. Given that it's close to the house, it's likely that you'll want to be able to walk below the canopy when it's fully grown. There is very little pruning involved at any one time to achieve this. For the canopy roundness, trim lightly (at any time) to snip off any portions that stick too far outside of the dome shape. This does not mean prune tight and close. It can be a little shaggy so long as the overall shape is rounded.

    It already has the single trunk so nothing to prune there now. You'll want to have the single trunk in the exposed portion of the trunk, which will probably extend from the ground to 8' height in the finished tree. As it grows, watch that it doesn't start developing a second strong, competing leader to the one that already exists. If that starts to happen, you can cut the competing leader back a little in order to weaken it, so that the primary central leader can supersede and prevail.

    You don't want to let it grow as huge bush and then come in at the end and start removing bottom limbs/branches to suddenly make it into a tree form. You'll want to remove bottom growth right along as the tree grows. My rule of thumb is that you can remove bottom branches up to 50% of the tree's total height. Usually, I would do this in late winter or early in the Spring such that when the Spring flush of growth came, it would be coupled with returning growth of the cutting process, in order to maximize total growth. (With returning growth from the cutting process, you do not get it all back. You might get 50 or 75% of it back. Still we do it because we want to control shape, size, fullness, etc.) Therefore, if in late winter or early Spring, before Spring growth starts, one limbs a tree up 50% of it's total height, and following that, the tree puts on a Spring flush of growth, plus returning growth (from the cutting process), then the tree will grow substantially taller. When the summer growth season is finished, instead of the tree being limbed up to half its height (which is where it started after the early Spring pruning was done) it would end being limbed up to maybe only 40% of its new height -- not because the canopy lowered, but because the tree has added top growth, changing the proportions.

    Sometimes trees grow irregularly, twisted or messy enough that removing the lower 50% might be difficult. Just get in the ball park. There'll come another opportunity the following year to try again, and it might be easier because of the changed proportions.

    My method of tree and shrub pruning is anticipatory rather than reactionary. The average person reacts to bottom branches hanging too low after they have long been in the way of yard activities or blocking the view beyond. Similarly, they will let a tree canopy grow very lopsided before trying to give it proper shape. The problem with doing it this way is that it doesn't maximize overall growth, and sometimes, if the tree has gone astray quite far, it is impossible to get back into shape without severe disfigurement and a long recovery. And the cutting work is harder. Sometimes, it cannot be done. It's better to get the vision first and then keep watch that the tree is conforming to it. It's the quickest way to achieve the vision.

    I did not know that was going to be such a long answer! :-)

    Have a nice day, Chris

  • bellily
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    Hi John. I have been to Chicago once and loved it. Looking forward to going back soon after this Covid mess calms down. Another reason to go - Svengoolie! We watch his show on ME-TV and he does sign autographs. I hope he continues to don this.

    Anyway I have been studying your response. I think the big tree I just have to cut that branch. I am happy u said it will fall safely before the final cut. I have a 15 foot fiskars tree pruner that is a replacement (the other snapped, I guess the branch was too thick). Fiskars replaces it! Also I have a Sun joe electric pole saw. Also the handheld pruner. So we will see what happens.

    For this tree, maybe I should wait until the leaves fall off the tree? Might this save on weight??? It freezes here in December/January.

    See picture 1 and 2. This is a huge tree. Probably higher than my roof on my 2 story house. First picture is from way in back yard. If u look at the other end you will see the Japanese maple I am also asking about (actually there r 2). I put these up for privacy in addition to the arborvitae and fence. Hope this give a better view/ perspective.

    For the Japanese maple, see picture 3 and 4. It is overtaking the area so I would like to shape the tree. Branches are starting to go on patio and touching the arborvitae. It sounds like trim around the tree like I would a shrub.

    As to the lower part, do I need to do anything with that area? It might just be I need to just shape the tree. Sorry not the best pictures. I can try again tomorrow.

    So, just want to make sure when I can do this. Please confirm.

    1. For big tree, I can do now or in fall. Just that big branch.
    2. for Japanese maple, to shape it I can do now or in the fall.
    3. for Japanese maple, sounds like do this late fall/early spring ?

    Thanks again for the help. Almost the weekend. :)
    Chris

  • drblount10
    28 days ago

    Hello again, Yaardvark! I'm still on the thread and see now it is about tree pruning. I have Sweet Gum lower branches I want to prune myself to save $. What should I get that's good for a short first timer (me)? Good night, catch y'all tomorrow.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    28 days ago

    I don't know Svengoolie. It's old horror movies?

    The "must do" while in Chicago is to get a Chicago Italian beef sandwich ... from one of the classic 'old master' makers. They are the best ... not Johnny-come-lately imitators of which there are many. Lots of reviews on YouTube. I don't think this sandwich has ever been produced outside of Chicago and burbs. We have Portillo's here but their version does not get good reviews. I've found only one other local place that makes it. And it was NOT good. :-(

    It is not a 100% sure thing, but the vast majority of the time when a limb is cut, if not sawing too fast, comes a point at which it folds, but doesn't disconnect. It would be good to tie a rope to the limb, prior to cutting, and have a helper ready to pull it to your side of the lot line when it falls. To get a rope on it prior to cutting, form a loop in the rope end and throw the plain end of the rope, attached to a weight, over the limb. On the ground, feed the plain end through the loop end and cinch it tight on the limb. Figure out where the cut will be prior to throwing the rope ... probably just your side of the line. The limb will likely come down in 3 pieces. There is no reason to wait for leaves to come off of the tree before cutting. By summer end the limb could be 4' longer.

    There is no reason to wait, on the Jap. maple or the larger tree, for any of this cutting. I generally like to do shaping in the early Spring, prior to new growth. But If that is missed, it is better to catch up as soon as possible, as the tree still has a growing season ahead of it in which to form more opportunities for better shape. In both cases, we're not worried about cutting off flowers. Even if that was the case, it would probably be better to just cut them off, sacrificing them for the year, because the pruning is overdue.

    I hate to bring bad news, Chris, but if you planted the Jap maple for privacy, I don't think it's going to work out well for you. The shade it produces is preventing the arbs, behind, from keeping their foliage. When they lose it, it is not coming back. And I can see it is already very thin.

    In essence, the tree form (Jap maple) produces a ceiling. A shrub form (arbs) produces a wall. (By "tree" and "shrub" I'm only making the distinction that former has its foliage limbed up, creating an open space between the foliage and the ground, and the latter has its foliage continuous from the ground up. If you put the maple there because the arbs were getting thin foliage (on account of shade from the house) then the situation is exacerbated. They are now getting shade from the house and from the Jap maple. I can't see that this maple is helping you in this spot ... unless you just want it to be a really shady spot and are OK with the arbs losing their lower foliage. If it were me, I'd find another place for the maple and move it. If you don't want to do that, figure that eventually, the arbs will have almost no foliage at their bases. If they lose it, the only thing you can do is 1) live with it, or 2) underplant them with shade tolerant shrubs, with the maple being gone, or 3) replace the arbs.

    Now, forgetting about the potential problems around the Japanese maple and just talking about refining it into the tree, I see that it has already started its life as a single trunk specimen. It only makes sense to continue with that structural form. To do that, cut off only the lowest branches in their entirely. And cut off only the tips of the canopy, to bring the form into a rough dome shape, that is envisioned prior to the cutting. If cutting off a lower limb destroys part of the upper dome, the only thing you can do is wait for growth coming from somewhere within the canopy, to fill the shape back in, in the future. You wouldn't keep reducing the dome shape because a chunk of it is now missing. Keep in mind that growth follows light, so a tree's branching is distributed based on where light is available. Each branch is competing for light against each neighboring branch. If a branch already exists, a new branch is not likely to grow in the same space. It's going to see an "empty" space in which to grow. If a portion of the tree emanates from the bottom but grows into the top, it's still going to keep other branches from growing into the same space. If one waits too long to remove such a branch, it could possibly have become a big chunk of the canopy by then, and its removal means that a big chunk of the canopy will be removed, leaving a big "hole" in the tree canopy. The lesson here is to remove such lower branches/limbs when they are young and small and have not become a large portion of the canopy. If this has not been done, then one must wait longer for the canopy to fill in once the limb is removed. Still, that's usually better than not removing it at all because then one is left with a permanent, nasty looking lower trunk structure.


    I figured everyone has long gotten bored with all of our discussion of drains and digging and dropped off from following the thread, but I see, Drblount10 is still here. Drblount, not sure what you are asking. What tools? The only tools you need to remove lower branches are 10" folding pruning saw, extendable pole saw, a brutish pair of loppers (anvil blade type) and a good step ladder. If you're removing limbs larger than 6" diameter, a chain saw would be helpful. A small, inexpensive electric one is good enough for the average homeowner. And an extension cord to run it. If you have specific questions about your project, start a new thread for those.


  • drblount10
    28 days ago

    Hi Yaardvark! You actually answered my question! (I'm brand new at a lot of yard maintenance. Don't worry, I know not to get the chain saw...) The thread still notifies me but I have gotten value from your advice for bellily. Learning a lot from you about yard grading, swales, trees, and Japanese maples which I love and wish I had. Continued good luck wishes to you and Bellily!

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    28 days ago

    Haha. Glad you are still getting something out of it, Drblount, I figured everyone but bellily had gotten bored and left after we passed 50 comments. I don't think too many perusing this forum want to hear so much about drains! :-)

  • bellily
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    Svengoolie plays old horror grade b films (Saturday night Metz) and has commentary. He dresses up like a vampire and has a coffin. He is 66 years young so I worry he may not do appearances anymore.

    For Chicago, I have never heard of the Italian beef sandwiches. I just know about the pizza and Garrett’s popcorn (served warm). So something else to look forward to. 😀

    In regards to the big tree, the limb is way up there. If I can’t do your trick with the rope, do you think it could go wrong? The 15 ft tree pruner came with a saw blade. Should I use this to cut the limb or electric pole saw? When you say it will come down in 3 pieces, do u mean the first cut the limb will fall to ground still connected. After pulling limb away from fence, make more cuts. If you think there is risk without the rope, I should try a professional just to be safe.

    For Japanese maple, it sound like I should cut those lower branches as the leader goes straight up (like in the picture you edited with marks).

    So I planted the arbs and Japanese maple 10 years ago and all was good. I planted the arbs too close to fence. I think they are thinning on the lower back side. I also have artillery fungus. Ever hear of this? From mulch it shoots up like guns. It hit the white fence and no one I have asked knows how to get it off the fence. Like a tar substance. Second picture.

    So, yes the arbs are suffering at the bottom but are doing great higher up. So I have already transplanted 2 Japanese maples 1 of which I think didn’t do right. Other seems ok. See picture 3 and 4. Guess which one not doing too well? So if I transplant the Japanese maple I would appreciate some tips, please.

    So what to do. The arbs when they thin are you saying the foliage won’t come back? If I transplant the Japanese maple, will that help the arbs at the bottom? Ahhh! I had no idea what I was doing when I planted these (obviously). But I am learning.

    You are a wealth of information! Thank you for your time helping me and it’s good to hear Drblount is learning also.

    I hope to start trimming the Japanese maple this weekend.

    Thanks again!!!!!

  • bellily
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    On the Japanese maples I also have dead branches on some areas of the tree, but seems tree is doing fine in other areas. What does that mean? Is the tree dying?

    Ok. That’s it for now. If I am asking too many questions, just let me know. I am so amazed / grateful what you have shared already. 🙏

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    27 days ago

    Dead branches on the Japanese maples. indicate that they were unhappy sometime in the past. No way, without a complete history, to know why.

    When arb foliage thins, it's not coming back. Doesn't matter at the bottom, back sides ... where it can't be seen.

    I've not heard of that artillery fungus before. Plants are phenomenal!

    I think from a ladder, using the pole saw, you can remove 1/3 of the limb at a time. If you used the pole chain saw, you'd cut through too quickly and instead of folding, it would drop wherever and whenever. You'll need to call a pro if you gauge it be too risky.

    The two Jap. maples in the recent pictures look like they may not be getting enough light. One looks like it suffered from the transplant operation. In transplant, there is always some risk. One just tries to do the best they can and hope for the best.

    For a transplant to elsewhere in the yard, first dig the receiving planting hole. At the plant to be moved, use a drain spade (long straight shovel -- I'm sure you have one :-) to cut around the tree/shrub, with it ending up as if you've cut it out of the ground using a cookie cutter. I usually go completely around 3 times, trying to make sure that all roots are cut. You'll want the cut line to be a circle that is enough distance from the trunk(s) that the resulting rootball is large enough to hold enough roots that the plant can live ... but not so large that it is too heavy and unmanageable, as soil is very heavy. You'll also want the shovel to be at an angle so the rootball can be extricated and is not so heavy.

    After you've used a drain spade to cut the sides of the rootball, you'll want to use a shovel, possibly two located at opposite sides of the circle, to gently pry the rootball from the surrounding soil. There may be roots connected at the bottom center. You'd need pry up with one shovel, while using the drain spade to stab under the rootball, trying to sever the roots. The main objective while performing the aforementioned operation is to NOT break up the rootball that is being removed from the ground. You want it to come out of the ground in one whole chunk, with the plant in it.

    Have a tarp or old sheet ready next to the hole to set the plant on, being careful not to break the rootball. It could either be carried by two people or set in a wheelbarrow and given a ride to the new location. I wouldn't drag it on the ground unless going slow and careful to a destination that was very close, as moving across bumpy ground will usually shake the rootball apart. When you get it to the new location, adjust the soil level of the planting hole to bring the thickness of the rootball to the right height (same as it was growing before or slightly higher, as there may be a little settlement.) Before backfilling, rotate the rootball for the tree's best appearance. If this is done during the growing season, I would add a handful or two of fertilizer to the planting hole/backfill soil. And trim the tree trying to reduce its foliage (so as to balance with the roots that have been removed. This would be removing any bottom branches that don't need to be there anyway, and as an overall haircut of the top portion.

  • bellily
    Original Author
    27 days ago

    The dead branches of the Japanese maple I think were maybe from the shade of the arbs. So I moved 2 of them. And it appears one is doing ok, other not so much. They r now getting plenty of sun. So hoping for the best.

    So maybe I will remove the remaining 2 Japanese maples with your tips provides. I have the tools, just need patience and time. :) there was a gap in the trees and neighbors house has a window so we put the Japanese maples in for privacy. But guess that idea didn’t work so well.

    So today I started to trim the Japanese maple. I may have went a little crazy. I started taking the the bottom branches off u suggested. I didn’t take them all off at bottom. See picture 1 and 2. Do u see the branch at the bottom that splits into 2? Should I leave that? Tree looks skinny! But I know the arbs will thank me, I hope.

    Picture 3 shows the other Japanese maple with the one we have been discussing on the left. This one doesn’t look like it has a true leader that goes straight up. I know these trees are kinda crazy how they grow. But I probably need to transplant this one also. Appreciate your tips.

    Have a good night. Thanks!

  • bellily
    Original Author
    19 days ago

    Hi John. Been working on projects using the advise you gave me. Found the gutter downspout to left of garage wasn’t going anywhere (clogged) so will get downspout extension to sidewalk. That could help getting excess water away from the house.

    Also working on slope in certain areas of the yard.

    Thanks again for your help! I keep referring back to your comments and they are invaluable. Have a good evening.
    Chris

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