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Homeowner shares flooding woes after moving into new house: 'The rain is still too much'

"Do they have to regrade the whole yard?"

"Do they have to regrade the whole yard?"

Photo Credit: Reddit

What do you do when you need a canoe to cross your backyard?

A photo posted to Reddit's r/landscaping community made waves by depicting a backyard filled with several inches of standing water left behind by heavy rains. While surrounding trees stood tall and healthy, newly planted azaleas drowned.

"Do they have to regrade the whole yard?"
Photo Credit: Reddit
"Do they have to regrade the whole yard?"
Photo Credit: Reddit

With the home enclosed by concrete retaining walls blocking proper drainage, the frustrated homeowner turned to Reddit's legion of green thumbs for solutions.

"I was thinking of hiring contractor for PVC subsurface drainage to mitigate standing water," the homeowner said. "My gutters already have subsurface drainage to the front yard but the rain is still too much. Do they have to regrade the whole yard?"

The landscaping community came to the rescue. Several Redditors recommended the homeowner install a French drain — a pipe system designed to divert surface water away from the foundation. 

"A French drain is nothing more than a ditch in sloped ground, inset with a perforated drain pipe under a layer of gravel," said landscaper Bob Vila, host of This Old House and Bob Vila's Home Again. "That pipe funnels storm water away from where you don't want it — along the foundation, for example — and deposits that water in a more desirable place."

French drainage is an accessible, environmentally friendly landscaping technique. Redditors who implemented similar drainage projects shared their success stories. One noted that "after installing the French drain, our kids can go play in the yard after a heavy rain," highlighting quality-of-life improvements.

"This is a job for a French drain," one commenter suggested, offering the drowning homeowner a glimmer of hope.

The discussion also weighed additional best practices like aerating compacted soil, top-dressing lawns with nutrient-rich compost, and using wetting agents to help maintain absorption during floods.

Excess stormwater runoff contributes heavily to flooding, infrastructure damage, pollution, and contamination of waterways nationwide. Implementing conservation landscaping strategies like rain gardens, bioswales, permeable pavers, and French drains can help alleviate pressure on already taxed municipal water systems.

While installing complex underground pipe systems often involves hiring drainage contractors, the conversation demonstrated the power of small personal choices to create collective change. 

Stormwater management originates in our backyards, and coming together as neighbors to discuss community-based solutions — even digitally — helps homeowners treat their carbon-absorbing plants a little kinder.

Sometimes, all it takes is one viral photo to get the ball rolling toward new possibilities.

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