HANDYMAN

Water from neighbor’s house is ruining the yard

Updated: 2013-02-27T01:38:23Z

By SCOTT BALENTINE

Special to The Star

Q. Between my house and my neighbors’ house, I have a huge problem with standing water. The water comes into my yard from under my neighbors’ gate and from their downspouts and runs to the lowest spot. My neighbors also have a pipe sticking out from their home that protrudes about 3 to 4 feet, which I am assuming is for a sump pump.

The water sits on my lawn and is usually absorbed into the ground. We have never had water in our basement, but I am worried that it is a matter of time before that occurs.

Can I legally ask my neighbors to do something?

What can I do to prevent any further water retention and start growing grass again?

A. I can’t provide an answer to the legality of approaching your neighbor. I’m also not a landscape designer and would recommend you contact one for a proper solution to your problem.

That said, I have seen this problem before, and there are solutions to drain the water away from the area. One solution that I have seen work well is a buried French drain. Basically, a trench is dug to a specified depth and filled with gravel. A perforated pipe or drain tile may be inserted in the gravel to expedite the removal of water. Several inches of soil can be applied over the top of the gravel trench to allow for seeding or installation of sod.

Before you run out and start digging up your yard, there are several key issues to consider. The trench and pipe must be sloped to allow the water to flow away from the area. There also must be a way for the water to exit the trench and/or pipe. It can’t just end underground.

When digging the trench between two foundations, such as in your case, care must be given to maintain the slope of the ground away from the foundation walls.

I advise you to contact a professional landscape company to properly address this issue. Leaving the situation as it is or building an improperly installed drainage system could cause future foundation problems to both homes.

Do you have a question?

If you have a question or problem with something in or around your home, ask a Handyman. Our panelists have expertise in building, remodeling, painting, carpentry, plumbing and more. Send questions to home@kcstar.com or Handyman, House + Home, FYI, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.

Scott Balentine is owner of Lifestyles Custom Homes & Remodeling in Overland Park.

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