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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    Mahindra 3510

    Default Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    The field behind our house is on a slope and has at least one spring in it. Where the field meets the edge of the back yard makes a natural swell and usually stays a bit wet, especially near the lower end where it tries to spread out into almost swamp-like consistency.

    We've dug a shallow ditch in this swell and put down landscape fabric, then covered it with 3B gravel (about 2"x3" pieces) Out of about 180 ft, we've only done about 30 ft, so there is time to change if needed.

    I don't know whether I should cover the gravel with more fabric, then dirt, or finish it off with just the gravel in a neat line, or what...

    The goal is to allow drainage down the ditch like a channel (without as much water, of course), and also act as a barrier to the water from the field, preventing the "wetlands" look.

    We would also like to raise the level of the ground on each side of the ditch to have a more flattened transition instead of looking like a sunken ditch.

    Has anyone done something similar with results they want to share? Have you seen a setup that you thought was really sharp looking?

    I'm looking for some ideas and advice.

    Thanks!

    -JC

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2003
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    79
    Location
    Morrison, CO
    Tractor
    JD 4310 Power Reverser

    Default Re: Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    JC,

    I've used 4" perforated drain line on a lot of foundations, to prevent water collecting around the base of a building.
    You can buy it in coils of various lengths. If you dig a trench, then lay in several inches of 3/4 to 1 1/2" gravel, lay the drain line in, and cover it with the same gravel, you can create a buried french drain, which will carry the water away from the area you want to dry out.
    If you line the trench with landscape fabric, then cover the drain line with the same fabric before covering it with gravel, it will act as a silt filter to help long term from having the pipe fill up with fine particles.
    This way you don't have an open ditch to deal with, and can even cover the top 3-4" with top soil and seed in grass if you want to. It works a lot better than an open ditch, no exposed standing water, no ditch to cross with your equipment, etc.
    If you get a lot of surface water like runoff, this wont work as well as an open ditch. But it sounds like you have sub-surface water leaching down from the field above, and this method will definately work for that. You'll need to determine the average depth of the sub-suface water migration, and set your drain line depth accordingly.
    Just an idea I've used, hope it helps.

    DT

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    256
    Location
    Leesburg, Virginia
    Tractor
    Kubota BX22, Bobcat 763H

    Default Re: Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    We had a problem with runoff when we moved in to our house, ended up making about a 6" deep channel down the side of the house, filled with decorative stone (about 1-2" size). It doesn't look bad and has served the purpose well, we debated as you are whether to try and hide it or to just use it as a "dry creek bed" (most of the time) and try to work it in to the landscape. Here's a link to a picture I had posted in response to another post about ponds, the gravel ditch is in the forefront of the picture.

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forumfiles/448706-pond1.jpg

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Feb 2002
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    WVa
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    Kubota L3710, Ford 5600, Case MB4/94, Kubota B6200

    Default Re: Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    If you're talking about a french drain, you need to wrap the gravel in fabric also. Otherwise over time, soil infiltrates and fills the spaces around the gravel. Our yard around the house was constantly wet (unless there was a drought) because the house is in a spit of land that pickups water from two sides.

    After building a french drain along the two sides, the problem has never resurfaced. I laid the fabric in first with the ends extending out of the trench. The pipe was laid in, perfs down. Then the pea gravel was used to cover the pipe and fill the trench to about 6 or 12" of the surface. Then the fabric was folded over the top of the gravel. On top of that I filled to within 2 or 3" of the top with free draining sand then used native soil on top of that.

    I can dump a five gal. bucket of water on top of that drain and the water looks like it's getting sucked down by a vacuum.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    Arkansas
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    TN70D, 4wd, 16x16 trans

    Default Re: Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    good advice from the other guys.

    I would just add that you can buy the 4" perf pipe already socked. Basically its the standard perf pipe pre-wrapped in a landscape like cloth, just like you would put a sock on your foot and leg.
    Boy does this speed up the work, and the cost is not much higher.
    Advanced drainage systems is the company I think, but I bought some from Home depot and a local plumbing supply places carries it.

    Fred

  6. #6
    Super Member Henro's Avatar
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    Few miles north of Pgh, PA
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    Default Re: Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    Here is my experience...

    You need to find the place where the spring is coming out of the ground. Once you do that, then you run a pipe from that point to where you want to dump the water.

    What happens is that the spring comes out of the ground then makes everything downhill from it wet and soggy. If you can find the source, and then pipe it to where you want it to go, the rest of the area will dry up.

    A muddy soggy place will become hard because the water will not be there anymore to keep it soggy.

    If you just have one place where the spring is coming up, you can use solid pipe to carry it to where you want to dump it. That actually is probably better than perferated pipe, when you think about it.

    Taking spring water from a point to another point is not the same as a french drain around a foundation for example.

    Different animal. Voice of experience speaking here. I have several springs on my property...not where I wanted them, of course... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    In the end, don't worry. You can do it!

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    I could be wrong but it appears from the description that the field slopes down toward the backyard and forms a natural swale where they meet. A pipe from the spring only won't pickup the surface water flowing down the slope.

  8. #8
    Super Member Henro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    <font color="blue"> A pipe from the spring only won't pickup the surface water flowing down the slope.
    </font>

    I know we are just speculating, since what we think is there may be different from what is actually there... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    It is amazing how big of a soggy spot a little spring can produce. If one can find the point where the spring comes up, and channel it away with pipe, then there ends up being no water to run on the surface of the ground to be absorbed and make mush...

    Unfortunately, it can be pretty hard sometimes finding the point where the spring is coming up. LOTs of digging when your not talented (no need to ask how I know... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]). Glad I have a backhoe... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Western PA
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    Mahindra 3510

    Default Re: Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    Thanks to all for the suggestions so far.

    The field has multiple sources of water, including springs, runoff and general drainage.

    I am looking to create a water barrier and drainage between the field and backyard.

    I guess I should be more specific...

    Should I use a pipe in the ditch, or will 3b gravel be enough? I've used lots of pipe other places and it's good for carrying away a specific source of water, but this area appears to have so many places, I was thinking a permanent drainage "channel" made from gravel would be best (?)

    I've never used one of these, but basically it's just a gravel filled ditch, right?

    The socked pipe is an interesting product. I've never seen one of these. Any pipe would have to be pretty strong, as this is near the surface and we regularly cross this area with large equipment (about 17k lbs).

    I was thinking about the cost of a schedule 80 pipe about 200' long, plus the need to extend the pipe to a good drain area. In my experience, gravel drains gently, a pipe can get a heavy flow. The gravel "channel" will take the water to below the surface and any excess that doesn't drain down will flow downhill in the channel and drain gently into the ground. Or at least, so says my plan [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

    Water being on the surface creating wet areas is the main problem. I don't want to drain the springs, as it keeps the field growing nicely, especially during the dry end of summer months. It's the excess between rains and especially during.

    I figured the landscape fabric would be needed to keep the gravel/channel "open" and not fill up with soil at the first heavy rain.

    Can I/should I get away without pipe in this situation, and has anyone had any experience (good or bad) with such a contraption, or am I just full of beans and it will never work? [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]

    Also, I'm interested on opinions on how a gravel lined ditch looks on property and if it works better than soil covered fabric over the ditch. Do you like it, hate it, and what are the pros and cons.

    I know this is a lot, but from what I've seen elsewhere on this board, this is definitely the right group to ask...

    Thanks!

    -JC

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    West Virginia
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    Century 3045, Ford 2000

    Default Re: Open runoff drainage ditch- Suggestions?

    I just put in a french drain along a hillside to collect spring water and collect runoff from the hill.
    I dug a trench about 3 feet deep, laid down some geotech fabric, and put a 4" perforated pipe into a bed of 1 1/2" to 2" gravel and wrapped the fabric over the whole thing. It took about 12 tons of gravel for 70 feet of drain, but this thing was pouring out the water with the recent storms we've been having!
    This thing will handle more water than a sock-wrapped pipe, I'd bet.
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