The importance of downspouts and surface erosion

Many property owners are not concerned with yard drainage until they have a  problem. Water naturally follows the path of least resistance to lower  elevations and problems arise when original pathways constructed by the builder  become blocked or were inadequate from the beginning. Not having suitable slopes  and drains on a property to direct or divert water runoff can allow the water to  find a path directly to areas where you would least want it such as foundations,  under pavement, in your basement etc. Flooding basements and cracked foundations  are good wake-up calls to the issue but addressing problems beforehand can save  you thousands of dollars, and headaches, down the road.

Erosion: In addition to the issues associated with standing  water, water moving too quickly off your property causes problems as well. As  raindrops fall on your lawn, if there is sufficient intensity, the impact will  dislodge small particles of soil which can then be carried off by the rain as it  flows. This soil will either be carried off to sewers or deposited in another  area of your yard, depending on your drainage conditions. Over time, original  drainage measures, such as ditches and trenches, can become filled with soil,  defeating their purpose and redirecting how water moves on your property.  Erosion is accelerated where plant cover is sparse and spaces between plants  become larger, leaving no protection for your soil during intense rains. Proper  grades and slopes stop water from carrying away your soil by keeping water  runoff at an acceptable rate. Slowing down water that is running off too quickly  gives soil particles time to settle out of the water and back onto the ground  before being transported too far away. Additionally, healthy plant life with  deep roots protects and holds on to your soil.*

Your house would probably be better off without gutters if they simply dump  water in concentrated areas right next to its foundation. That’s what happens  when downspouts terminate with only an elbow or a splash block at the bottom.  You’ll find some effective solutions below;

Add a surface extension

If foundation plantings or ground cover camouflage the downspouts, add a  length of horizontal downspout, PVC or flexible drainpipe to the bottom of the  existing downspout to extend it at least 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 2 m) away from the  house. If necessary, drive downspout-extension stakes into the ground to support and  hold metal extensions in place, and place  a rock or concrete splash block at the end to reduce soil  erosion

Install an automatic extension

Installation procedures vary with the system, but typically you must shorten  the downspout. You can do so with the downspout in place, or remove and  reinstall it. Slip the downspout into the end of the extension  device.  Mount the device to the wall with screws as directed by the manufacturer. For  stone, brick and other masonry walls, drill a hole for masonry anchors that will  accept the mounting screws. The weight of the water collecting in the extension  eventually lowers it to the ground, and it springs back up slowly as the rain  stops.

**Note: We do not recommend burying downspout extensions, or connecting them to underground weeping tile as this can increase the moisture content in concentrated areas of the yard and cause back up problems during colder months if the sub-surface lines freeze.

Read more:  How to Redirect Rainwater From a Downspout |

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