Solving a Landscape Drainage Problem in Ford’s Colony

Client Concerns

The drainage problems at this residence had been developing over the course of a decade. Years of inundation, misplaced irrigation, and overgrown plantings had changed the flow of runoff and resulted in channeling and pooling of water at various locations around the house. Several attempts had been made to alleviate the problems, but they were merely ‘Band-Aid’ solutions to the underlying problem.

Our task was to design drainage solutions that would fix these issues once and for all, while also protecting and enhancing the existing landscape.

Site Analysis

The property is located in Ford’s Colony, a large development outside of Williamsburg that is about twenty years old. Over the years, we have discovered that our Ford’s Colony clients will often approach us with similar problems, all resulting from their original drainage plans which were often poorly designed. Some of the problems we frequently encounter:

  • Poor Grading – Yards may not have enough slope to drain properly, and may even drain slightly toward the house.
  • Undersized Ground Gutters – Ground gutters often don’t extend far enough away from the home to be effective during medium or heavy rain.
  • Poor Subsurface Piping Decisions – Many problems can arise from inadequate underground drainage systems: pipe diameters that are too small, improper pipe outlet locations, little to no pitch over long distances, lack of clean-outs at turns in the pipes, inferior materials, poorly located drain boxes, and improper sizing and use of dry wells.
  • Water Damming and Restriction – Landscaping features like raised planting beds, added after a home is established, can sometimes change or block the flow of water and create unwanted pooling. In other locations, they may channel and intensify the flow of runoff, causing bare surfaces and erosion.
  • Tight Lot Space – Since drainage plans are typically designed to address a single lot rather than an overall neighborhood, they often employ shortsighted local solutions to larger scale drainage problems. And the restricted space within a single lot will sometimes require creative solutions to address what should be a simple drainage problem, i.e. getting water to flow across a slope instead of down a slope (most likely to because you don’t want to drain onto a neighbor’s property).

Master Drainage Plan

When evaluating a property, our initial approach is to assess problem locations around the property, develop a map of where water is flowing, and formulate a plan for where water should be directed. This information is used to develop a master plan that addresses water movement throughout the entire property and implements drainage solutions at specific locations.

BEFORE

Move your cursor over the various areas to learn more about the various drainage problems in the yard.

Front Yard
The front side of the house displayed the greatest amount of erosion. The main issue was what to do with the water that was draining from the flower beds next to the house and carving a channel along the front of the planting bed.  Water from the channel poured onto the front walkway, pooling in a low spot near the front door. Soil carried from the upper flower beds had been settling in this area, creating an unsightly mess. The accumulation of dirt eventually caused the surrounding lawn to mound up and prevent water from draining out of the area. Once limited only to large storms, pooling was now occurring even during light rains and whenever the irrigation was turned on.

Driveway Area
The dominate feature here is the concrete driveway. At the end of the drive the lawn slopes steeply away from the house. There is also a dry creek bed that was meant to carry runoff from the driveway to the wooded area below, but due to its improper construction, the creek bed only managed to carry runoff halfway down the slope before it was breached. This created a channel along the edge of the lawn next to the wooded area.  The channel was deep, the result of swiftly moving water. Water eventually exited the property at the same location as a newly designed concrete walkway.

Backyard
In the backyard, water from the roof spilled onto a ground gutter that was supposed to lead into a drain pipe. But, judging by the amount of erosion along the gutters, storm water from the roof has been overshooting the gutters, eroding the planting beds and bypassing the pipe system entirely. Mulch and soil washed across the sloping beds, pushing the bed line farther onto the lawn with each rain.

Side Yard

Water traveled from the front of the house to a low point on the south side through a degraded underground pipe. This pipe also collected water from the front roof via a ground gutter, as well as water overflowing from the front sidewalk. Locations along the pipe system were discovered to have little or no fall and at times ran “uphill”.  Around the fenced-in HVAC unit at the side of the house, the topsoil had eroded, exposing the clay subsoil. Attempts had been made to plant the area with groundcover, though without success.


 

AFTER

Move your cursor over the various areas to learn how we implemented our solutions.

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Your team of people are the BEST

Bed Transformation!

Once again I am very pleased with the excellent work H&G did on my property.  They turned a section of my ugly front yard with invasive Bermuda grass into a beautiful and simple flower bed with mulch and many small bushes.  This striking transformation adds greatly to the house’s curb appeal.  I look forward to them coming back out this fall and replacing the rest of the front yard with sod and removing all the undesirable Bermuda grass.  Brian was easy and pleasant to work and plan with.  He always responded to my questions immediately.  Jon and his crew were likewise very nice, efficient, and perfectionists in planting my new yard.  Many thanks and accolades to H&G once again!

Sandy Hall

So thankful to be a customer!

when i returned to williamsburg in 2022, it was a real challenge to find a company willing to take on “yet one more customer” – i was ignored and turned down by others… but hertzler and george came to my rescue and i could not be happier – wonderful staff, professional and so friendly, i completely trust them to service my yard!  merry christmas and happy new year to everyone and H&G!

Kae

Drainage Help

I would like to let you know how happy we are with the service we received recently.
We had a drainage issue in our yard and did some research, learned your company was highly recommended and decided to see what your company could do.
From the first contact, we had a great experience as the lady that answered the phone was very nice. She put us in contact with Brian Kemp who we also liked from the start, and we made an appt for him to come and take a look. He was right on time, very thorough, and just a very nice fella who we both liked right away and had confidence in. We really liked how he gave us options and listened to what we wanted. We scheduled the work, it was done right on time, and it looks great! Brian was even nice enough to do a video walk through for us afterwards as we weren’t in town. Just great service from start to finish! Thank you Brian

We will definitely be back with more projects in the future.

T.M. - Ford's Colony

Thank You

Just a short note to thank you for all the help you gave us with our garden this year. Jonathon again did a wonderful job doing the bed detailing this summer, as did the mulching crew in the spring. I don’t know the name of the woman who supervised the mulching crew, but I want to let you know how professional she was. In fact, the entire crew was pleasant to work with, especially to experience the care that they took with their work.

Thanks also for being so flexible with the changes we requested for our mowing schedule.

E.L. - Ford's Colony