What is a swale?
A swale is a low area or trench of land that can refer to a natural landscape feature or a human-created one. Swales are designed to slow and capture runoff by spreading it horizontally across the landscape, facilitating runoff infiltration into the soil. Without swales, rain water from hills or gutters could form gullies that erode the soil away. Swales catch water and direct it to where it's needed, which is in the soil. Instead of water running off or pooling above ground, swales direct it downward into an underground reservoir. As a result, swales can be turned into rain gardens with the application of native, deep rooted plants that have been placed inside and along the sides of the swale area.
What is a catch basin?
A catch basin is a type of box, available in various sizes (between 6" to 3') and materials that is placed in the ground near areas of standing water to help facilitate proper water drainage and avoid property damage. The top of the box features a removable grate through which excess water and debris drain into the underground box. The solid particles then settle at the bottom of the box while the water collects until it reaches the outlet trap. The outlet trap is connected to an underground piping system that exits at daylight. Once the solids accumulate and account for one-third of the basin's contents, you must remove the top grate and clean out the catch basin so it can continue to function properly.
Is drainage work expensive?
Drainage work can be expensive depending on the situation and how long the issue has been occurring. Depending on the severity of the situation and your budget, there are 2 main types of solutions available for locations in Maryland and Washington DC.
*If there is water pooling in certain areas after a heavy rainfall: You can either have drainage pipes, a swale, or some other applicable solution, to divert and redirect the water to a more appropriate area.
*If the problem is more severe, like water in the basement: There is the option of a more permanent (and more expensive) solution of digging the soil away from the foundation of the home, installing a waterproof membrane to the foundation, then installing drainage pipes to exit at daylight. This means that the water will exit the pipe and spill out onto the lawn.
What is a drainage system and what does it entail?
A drainage system controls the flow of water using natural means: regrading of soil and gravity; or by artificial means: drain pipes, French drains, catch basins, swales, dry wells, rain gardens, and permeable paver structures to reroute or divert storm water runoff to appropriate locations. Includes storm water management. The positive aspects of natural drainage (drainage using gravity) is that water will flow away from the house without the possibility of pipes clogging. When using artificial means, there may be a possibility of pipes becoming clogged, that will end up resulting in more maintenance to keep the pipes clean. We recommend using PVC pipes because they provide a strong, smooth surface that allows water and debris to flow freely. A clean out connection piece, which is connected to a downspout, works well to access pipes at key points to prevent possible clogging.
What is a French Drain?
A French drain is a term for a gently sloping trench that has a perforated pipe, wrapped with a lightweight fabric, which allows water in but keeps the soil out. This pipe is then covered with any type of drainage stone (ranging between 1/2" to 3") to allow water to percolate through the stones, into the pipe, and then toward an exit point.
Contrary to what one may think, the French Drain wasn't invented in France. It is the invention of a Concord, MA, farmer named Henry French. He hit on the idea when trying to fix swampy areas on his property.