Q&A / 

Water in Yard Poor Drainage Water Ponding

Quick Column Summary:

  • Rain run off floods yard and shed
  • Determine lowest point in your yard
  • Install a Linear French Drain
  • Pipe water away from this area

Joe Rossetti, from Columbus, OH, emailed me with a a dreadful water issue at his home.

"We recently moved into a home that has a stucco shed in back built on a concrete slab. It was built at the lowest point in the yard and all the rain run off collects at that corner of the yard.

It floods the interior of the shed each time it rains and the water is soaking the 2x4 plate and sheathing. Unfortunately it should have been built on higher ground and on at least one coarse of block to keep the wood dry.

The water gets to about 1 1/2" inside the shed and I can live with that but what can I do to keep the water from rotting the wood? Should I lay a couple of courses of brick with Portland cement all around in front of the 2x4 plate to try to block the water from the wood? This is a very sturdy and well-built shed, but it was located in the wrong spot. HELP"

Here's Joe's shed. The red oval shows you the ponding water. This needs to be STOPPED immediately. Photo credit: Joe Rossetti

Here's Joe's shed. The red oval shows you the ponding water. This needs to be STOPPED immediately. Photo credit: Joe Rossetti

Here's my answer to Joe:

Joe, a couple of things come to mind:

Are you positive this is the LOWEST spot on your lot? I'm willing to bet it's not. You can verify this using a builders level or a laser level you might rent at a tool rental business. Read my column about builders levels and WATCH my video about these great tools.

I'll bet you'll determine that there is a place on your lot that is just 4 or even 6 inches LOWER in elevation than the patio brick surface in front of the shed. My father-in-law's front lawn looks DEAD LEVEL but it drops nearly 18 inches in 60 feet. Looks can be very deceiving. The builders level will tell the tale!

If you determine that you have 6 inches or more of fall to the true lowest spot, you're going to solve this problem with one of my Linear French Drains. They work like MAGIC.

Trying to build a dam with a small brick wall is not going to work.

If this spot is indeed the actual lowest spot on your lot, you're going to have to install one of my Linear French Drains around the shed and pipe the water to an OUTDOOR sump pit. The pump in the pit will then pump the water out to some point where the water will enter your local storm water system.

I'm willing to bet you four cheese coneys from Skyline Chili that you'll discover, with some work, that there is a LOWER spot SOMEWHERE on your lot where you can pipe this water using Mother Nature's gravity.


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