Dear Dr. Drainage,
"Even several days after a rain, my back yard is squishy and muddy for days afterwards. My kids can't even play out there and when they do, they and the dog track mud all over the house.
What can I do?"
Muddy in McLean
I assume you've already put your kids on notice not to track mud through the house and you're washing Fido's paws after every outing. Now, it's time to really solve the problem. In many cases we recommend installing a french drain.
Many properties have low spots that naturally collect water. In those cases, sometimes you can just re-grade the yard and voila! problem solved.
But in other cases, a yard may have soils with a low infiltration rate that remain soft, wet and muddy for days after the storms are gone. In these cases, homeowners can install what is called a french drain. We excavate a "main trunk line," usually through a drainage feature such as a swale and then extend branches out from the main trunk to the problem areas of the yard.
French drains comprise perforated pipe protected by a silt sock and surrounded by open-graded gravel and then protected further by a geotextile fabric to keep soil from clogging the gravel.
Once the french drain is in place, the sod that was cut and set aside is now placed back over the soil. It allows water to infiltrate into the drain and is then carried away to a storm drain or other drainage system. The results: Dry yard, happy kids and parents, clean house and nice doggy.
Thanks and best wishes!
(And be sure to see the FAQs on our website)
Ken Fraine and Mark Lane
Drainage & Erosion Solutions, LLC
1889 Preston White Drive #104
Reston, VA 20191
This article was posted in Drainage and Erosion Blog and tagged with french drain, french drain mclean va