Tuesday, October 13, 2009



Our first big rain of the season started last night, and despite having disconnected downspouts, our house seems waterproof.

Because the foundation work is still on-going, we have not done the needed work on our falling-apart chimney. Among its many problems, our chimney has neither a cap nor a damper. I was concerned that water would come pouring into our living room. But so far this has not come to pass. We've set up a dam of towels, just in case.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend, digging and fluffing our compacted garden soil, with the idea that water would soak in if the earth didn't have the texture of concrete. I kept hearing horror stories from the neighbors about how much run-off happens from our back yard. I even heard that we had an underground stream under our house, but I refuse to believe that particular story. I think the larger issue is that our next door neighbor who is slightly up-slope from us has en entirely paved back yard, which means that we get all of his run-off. For now, things look fine.

So far, so good.

Robb is sick at the moment. Hopefully, he'll get lots of rest, listening to the rain patter on our windows.


Anonymous said...

LOVE the sound of rain! Enjoying this wet morning in San Jose.


Anonymous said...

You are indeed getting most of your runoff from your upper-sloped neighbors. We have the same problem. We live in a low valley, and our idiot neighbors (before zoning occured) dumped about 1 foot of gravel and dirt on their property so that everything drains off into ours. We also found some not-so-buried drainage hoses where they were having their extensive roof water runoff into our yard as well. I called the township as the neighbors were not into doing much of anything to change their ways. Their pipes were removed when a fine was mentioned, big suprise!

We planted arborvitae all along the fence line with that particular neighbor, which is very good- as those bushy trees grow very well in water- they LOVE water and suck it up well- and they grow and provide some sound, but mostly visual barriors. 4 feet apart each works well, and in time they will thicken and link together.

Take any dirt you can get- good topsoil is the best, and mound it by the side of your house if you need to- 1 foot high and 10 feet out- to make sure water drains AWAY from your foundation. You can also consider sculpting a very small wet/dry pond in a low spot in the yard if you have space- any water that accumulates can gather there, before it drains off into some sort of overflow system. I suspect you can go to your township and tell them about the neighbors paved area that adds too much water to your yard. This gets tricky, as neighbors can get pissed off at each other. But the neighbors have been draining off THEIR water onto YOUR property for years I suspect, and making their problem yours. Chack with your property lines, zoning laws and homeowners insurance. We also live technically on a flood plain, so water drainage issues here are a BIG deal. Dont be afraid to fight for your rights and your house and its safety!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are also going to (one day) build up a small berm of earth between their property and ours, with a buried drainage pipe at the base of the berm facing the neighbors side- any water that drains into it can be collected and drained off into a public system for water removal (think curbs and drains).

Walk around and check your place when it is raining. Check for any dents in your guter system, as even a small dent in it will cause water to build up and pour out over the side into the yard/foundation, instead of pouring out and away in the drains.

Hope Robb feels better.



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