Opting for a low maintenance paved garden or tarmacking a front garden to provide additional parking space may seem like a really practical option for your home, helping you to make the most of the space you have.
However, at large this is having an effect on the drainage of surface water around your home so it’s essential you take precautions to preempt any potential drainage problems.
Why is Surface Water a Problem?
The main problem is that by laying impermeable surfaces, such as concrete and tarmac, you will be restricting the natural draining of surface water which can lead to flooding. This coupled with the growth in rainfall levels has led to greater chances of flooding, both on a large and low level scales.
In some areas of the UK, our ageing sewerage system can become overwhelmed very quickly, as it was not designed to accommodate the increasing levels of surface water it is now expected to carry. This has increased the low level flooding risk for many homes.
Just a little excess water can result in the growth of algae, moss and vegetation, while in the winter, ice could become a problem and in the longer term just a little standing water could damage paving, cause damp in your home and even result in water seeping into your home and damaging your furniture.
How to Stop Pooling Surface Water
There are many solutions to these problems. The best way to avoid the problem of excess surface water is with forward planning when you intend to install paving, concrete or tarmac, to maintain the systems that are already in place. Here are a few solutions to the problem of excess surface water:
The first step is to plan the gradient of the paving or tarmac to drain as quickly and efficiently as possible towards an adequate disposal point. Different surfaces drain better at different gradients, so seeking some professional advice is recommended. Remember, when planning to lay paving or tarmac, surface water from it should not be directed to drain onto another property.
Installing a grille or gully
When planning outdoor drainage, the installation of a grille or gully is often a simple solution. This is also a good idea when a down pipe is draining onto a paved, tarmac or concrete surface. A gully is often considered more aesthetically pleasing in paving, but a grille drain will be able to deal with a larger amount of excess water at once.
A permeable surface will eliminate standing water as it allows surface water to seep through and drain naturally. Gravel is a really simple permeable surface to install, or you can opt for a more modern material, such as porous tarmac. Porous tarmacs are becoming increasingly popular for driveways prone to low level flooding.
Forking over open ground
During the winter open ground can become completely sodden. Improving the ability of the ground around your paving or tarmac to soak up water is especially useful. Simply forking over the ground can achieve this, as it will allow water to drain more easily through it.
These are useful when connecting to drains is not possible. The more modern soakaways are usually ready made units and older ones can be as simple as a hole in the ground with some old bricks or gravel. The advantage of soakaways is that they require very little maintenance, but if silt is allowed to build up their effectiveness can decrease. It’d pay to check this every now and again (once or twice a year), to clear away any unwanted debris.
This is a specially designed garden to accept the rainfall runoff. They are designed to mimic the water collecting abilities of a forest and usually feature native species. The most successful rain gardens are started with small plants that are allowed to develop over time.
Stormwater attenuation cells are ready made underground water reservoirs that can be placed underneath your paving or tarmac surface to deal with larger amounts of excess water arriving at once. Particularly useful if you’re in an area prone to excessive surface water that leads to flooding.
Upkeep of drains
To keep excess water to a minimum it is best to inspect and clear drains regularly. Foul drains take away the grey water from the household system. The paving or tarmac drains, depending on their age, may drain into these or into the storm drains.
A through inspection by a professional is the best way to check the integrity and condition of your drainage system, ensuring it is fit to accommodate excess surface water. If you think your drains aren’t coping as well as they should, call in the professionals to take a look. A quick CCTV survey will determine whether you need repairs to restore full function.