Minor Drainage Issues on a Homestead

Reader Contribution by Cheryl In Texas
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No matter where you live, you might have to deal with water drainage issues from time to time. (To clarify, I’m talking minor drainage issues. If you are having flooding issues, you need to seek out the experts, like an engineer. And depending on where you live, permits may be required on some types of drainage work.)

While it’s on the the Pasture To Do List to add rain gutters to our house, it’s well, you know … on the list. Not having gutters yet has created some (minor) runoff issues in heavy rain events. We have the edges of the yard up against the house lined with rock to help prevent erosion from the water that flows off the edges of the roof. The rocks help keep the water flowing downhill and away from the house. However, we noticed the side yard was now often under water. Also, water flowed from that side yard and the front of our house towards the chicken coop. In heavy rains, there will be a couple of inches of standing water in those areas.

So we endeavored to install some French drains to help pull the water away from the house and towards the pasture and away from the coop in the chickens’ (aka Tiny’s) yard.

To install these French drains, we dug a narrow trench about one foot deep. (In an area where it could flow downhill.) We laid a 25-foot piece of perforated drain pipe that is covered with a sock. These cost about $25 at our local home improvement store.

Then we back filled the trench with pea gravel. Water seeps through the gravel into the pipe and downhill. The sock helps prevent the pipe from filling up with soil.

The photographs below are the first French drain we put in at the back corner of the house. It runs under the backyard fence and out into the pasture.

These next photographs are of the second French drain we installed in the chickens’ yard. You can see they were “helpers” going through all the spoils of our digging and looking for worms and grubs. The chickens think it’s high times any time they see us with a shovel in hand. 😉

These types of drains have worked really well for us to redirect water coming off our house or sheet flow from big rain events. Now, instead of having standing water along the side of our house or in the chicken yard, water is moved out to the pasture. And we’ll take all the water we can get in the pasture.

Until next time, worms rock, bees rule and chickens are my Zen.

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