Do Landscapers Do Drainage?

Many landscaping companies do in fact offer drainage as an additional service. In our experience, they are often quite a bit less expensive and offer an attractive alternative to paying a premium for a dedicated drainage company. However, not all bargains are actually bargains. To paraphrase an expression once heard: Long after the thrill of a good deal wears off, the sting of a poorly done job wears on.

As a company that both installs new drainage systems AND cleans or repairs old systems, we have first-hand knowledge of just how poorly drainage can be installed. There are no legal/technical requirements for landscape drainage, and more often than not, we find systems which are completely unserviceable or which simply do not work. In order to be able to clean a system or for it to function properly, certain design features must be taken into consideration. For us, this includes several things such as:

  • Proper slope,
  • Adequate clean outs (and proper placement),
  • Correct material selection,
  • Sufficient pipe size based on run-off calculations…

Proper Slope: Installing a drainage system with improper slope is a major issue we see all the time. This may be because people don’t understand that water cannot travel uphill, but is more likely caused by people trusting their eyes, and making assumptions rather than taking actual measurements. During installs, we meticulously use a hand level for each section of pipe to ensure proper slope and fall for the entire system from start to finish.

Adequate Clean Outs: This is one of the most common mistakes most people who install drainage make – they design a system which is completely unserviceable! For example, while tying in gutters is an important part of proper drainage away from your foundation, what happens when those downspouts or the lines attached get clogged – how will they be cleaned? We cannot tell you how many systems we have encountered which were basically unable to be flushed due to a lack of clean outs or poor design.

Correct Material Selection: A perfect example of this is a French drain, one that uses barrier fabric, gravel and perforated pipe. There are many options out there, especially when it comes to what type of fabric to use. Unfortunately, MOST of the fabrics that landscapers use on a day to day basis to block weeds will not work well, OR AT ALL for a French drain system. Having the wrong fabric around your French drain can be the difference between a system that works well, or a system that is completely dysfunctional.

Sufficient Pipe Size: The right contractor will know to ask the right questions surrounding an install: What size pipe should we use? What type of pipe? For example, one customer explained they had received a cheaper quote using corrugated pipe. The problem was that based on the water run-off calculation, corrugated pipe would not handle the amount of water and lack of slope the job entailed. While the company offering this cheaper alternative may not have had ill intention, their lack of understanding surrounding water physics allowed them to offer this client a useless drainage solution.

Using a specialist rather than a landscaper for drainage-related work is essential for several reasons. While landscapers are skilled in designing and creating visually appealing outdoor spaces, drainage issues require a higher level of expertise and knowledge to ensure proper functionality and prevent potential problems. Here’s why hiring a drainage specialist is preferable:

In summary, while landscapers are talented at creating beautiful outdoor spaces, hiring a drainage specialist offers the expertise and specialized knowledge necessary to address drainage issues effectively. Proper drainage not only protects your property but also enhances its overall value and longevity. When dealing with significant drainage problems, it’s best to consult a professional who can provide tailored and lasting solutions.