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Contact Information

Chris Germain

The Dirt Girl, Inc.

P.O. Box 82
Tioga, TX 76271

P: 940-465-0682

F: 940-637-3698

TheDirtGirl@InBox.com

FAQ

Drainage Problems, Grading and Your Property
French Drains
Driveways, Gravel, Grading and Maintenance
Gravel and Rock Types and Characteristics

Drainage Problems, Grading and Your Property

Most building codes and FHA financing requires all homes to have positive drainage. Just what is positive drainage? Positive drainage means that all water on your property drains away from all structures. Sounds good but in reality there is much more to it than just water draining away from structures.Image

In order to allow for adequate flow away from a structure even during heavy rains a minimum 10% slope in the first 10 feet out from the structure is required. This means that when you are 10 feet away from your structure the ground you are standing on should be 10" lower than the ground adjacent to your structure. Or the slope drops a little less than 1" for every foot. Remember to put gutters and down spouts on, besides helping to get the water away from your structure they also prevent the water dripping from the roof from eroding the soil away next to your structure.

Positive drainage if the water is not much good if the water has no where to go once it gets away from you structure. Areas that drain the water off your lot once it is away from you structure must have a minimum of a 3% slope or 3" fall for every 10 feet. Most US cities will not allow sod on swales of 3% slopes or less. Instead concrete is required due to the unavoidable puddling of water in the drainage area. Puddling makes for constant muddy area and dead grass.

Grading ImageHere are some suggestions to help with drainage swales. Always grade as wide of a flat bottom as possible. This will accommodate more water and lead to less ponding and erosion problems. A swale that is graded like a V with no flat bottom can be nothing but problems. In a V swale with minimum drainage silt and sediment, the fine dirt that washes with water, settles in the small bottom and eventually fills in the swale, making for perpetual clean out costs. In a V swale with substantial drainage the water flows thru fast in the small bottom and erodes away the sides carrying them down stream. This eventually leads to unsightly eroded banks that are straight up and down like a cliff.

Always take your soil conditions into account when considering drainage. Sandier materials that allow water to soak in fast can have must less "positive drainage" than clay type materials. Clay materials are much more problematic when water sets especially near your foundation. The swelling and added weight of these materials when they are constantly wet can cause costly foundation problems.

It is wise to contact a qualified person familiar with your area to help suggest remedies to resolve your drainage problems. Proper surface water drainage is by far the best way to move water. If this cannot be accomplished with grading the material on your lot other means of drainage such as french drains or small storm sewers can be considered. Hopefully this will be a last resort.

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French Drains

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Driveways, Gravel, Grading and Maintenance

A lady once said her driveway is so rough and full of holes it kept visitors away. If your driveway is like this you don't have to live with it. Many things go into building a good driveway.

Proper drainage including culverts and ditches if required installed on both sides of the driveway. Culverts installed where needed let water flow under the road instead of over it. Water flowing over can erode the driveway away and literally wash it away. Areas where water sets or puddles on a driveway are a source for spots that will always be soft leading to large potholes. Potholes that continually get bigger over time.

The subsurface of your road is most important. If the material the driveway is built out of is soft, wet or loose the driveway will be soft in those areas and not stand up to use. Lasting roads require a well compacted dry material installed a minimum of 6" higher than existing grade with a least a 4" crown in the center. This will allow for drainage and help maintain dry material under the road.

There are many names for road base. Road gravel, flex base, class 5 and probably many others. Good quality gravel for a driveway has ¾" to 1" rocks included in a material of fines. This can be made out of many different things including recycled concrete and blacktop, crushed lime stone, shale or trap rock. Even bricks are being recycled into road base materials today. No matter what it is made from the important factor is that it packs and packs hard. The rock in road base is what gives stability and the ability to last over time. If the road base is all rock it will not pack and will be like marbles on you road. And if the road base is all fines it will not pack and will be like baking flour on you road. Combining the two in the right proportions is important.

Once you have a road it is important to maintain it. Don't drive in the same spot; instead try to straddle your driving tracks. This will allow your road to stay level and not have 2 tracks from where everyone drives and grass growing in the middle. If a hole develops and holds water fill it in while it is still small. All surfaces with gravel require routine grading. This may be yearly or much less often depending on the traffic load, weather and materials in your area.

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Gravel and Rock Types and Characteristics

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Testimonial

“After working with Chris for decades I still say the best thing about her is she knows how to work like a dog, think like a man and act like a lady.”

~Dale Klar, Klar Dirt Works

 

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