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Landscaping & Design/Back yard slope problem


QUESTION: Back yard slopes towards house but levels at edge of Patio, also above ground swimming pool in back yard. After rains water pools all across the level portion of back yard and patio right up to edge of house. Pool has covered perforated drain all around that drains into side yard, but drainage around it is slow. Side yard on both sides of house and front yard have very slight slope towards street but are basically at same level as flat part of back yard. Need to get standing water out of back yard without drowning the sides and front. HELP??!!

ANSWER: Hello:

Regrade the area at the house if possible.  You do not have enough slope away from the house. To carry the water away there could be several possibilities.  You might want to consider using catch basins (boxes that collect water and drain it away via pipes).

If you are able to regrade the area to a steep enough slope than some type of surface swale or trench drain may work. If the area is permeable a french drain or drywell system may do the job or a permeable area could be used as a "soakaway" (the water simply soaks into the ground.  For all but the soakaway you will of course need a suitable outlet to dump the water.

If you would like to store water than think about installing a cistern under the area that floods. That would collect some or all of the water and provide you with a convenient collection point for water (with suitable treatment) that can be used to fill your pool,water plants,wash vehicles,etc...

Mark Harshman

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: My only question at this point is two fold; What type of storage facility is applicable for a yard cistern? and; What type of water treatment is necessary to make runoff water viable for use, especially in a swimming pool??


Typically, sand and charcoal is used to filter the water and then a treatment of chlorine or ultraviolet light is used.

Plastic cisterns may be purchased or one can be built of concrete or masonry.

Mark Harshman  

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Design of landscape structures and design of planting arrangements in the landscape. I usually do not answer questions of a horticultural nature or about growing plants or gardening unless they are related to design. I will answer these questions at my discretion. I will answer maintenance questions at my discretion,usually when they are related to design. I am a landscape designer. I am not a contractor or a gardener. Although I will describe how something is built I do not provide detailed installation or construction instructions. Here are example categories of problems I can help you with: Design of residential walks,low walls,low retaining walls,fences,drainage systems,arbors,plant selection,xeriscapes (low water use landscapes),rain garden design,rain water harvesting,permeable paving,sustainable drainage. No advise on an architectural or engineering level. I DO NOT PERFORM ACTUAL DESIGN WORK THROUGH THIS SITE. I only provide suggestions and advice. For more comprehensive help check out my website at:


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