Friday, November 28, 2008

Spokane and the Beauty of Spring Drainage

Landscaping and hardscaping in the Spokane, Washington region is a little different than you might expect from Washington State. We don’t get the rainfall of cities like Seattle. On the other hand, we do get snow. This means that our landscaping projects (and yours) have to be ready to deal with a big spring melt – lots of water at once, instead of drips and drops throughout the year. Proper drainage is the key. This is especially important with hardscapes, where the water travels along a stone or concrete surface before it hits the dirt.

Drainage can go wrong in a whole bunch of ways, but in many cases we can divide them into two basic categories. First, you get insufficient drainage when water pools and collects where it shouldn’t. If this happens on a hardscape it will eventually wreck the stone or concrete you used. This may take some time, but when it does, the material is often expensive to replace. If it was bearing a load, that creates a whole new set of problems.

Poor drainage can quickly destroy soft landscaping features by ripping soil out, drowning grass and creating impromptu muddy pools. Sometimes this is easy to see, as you see a torrent of water snake down during the first major thaw. Watch out, though: Other instances can be hard to identify. In these cases, soil erosion sneaks up on you. If you finished a landscape with rolls of sod, the water can well up underneath, loosening it. You’ll find out when great chunks of grass die, or float away during the first heavy storm.

Less well-known is the problem of excess drainage. Yes, you can have too much of a good thing, especially in dry seasons where every drop of water counts. This problem comes from a combination of deep slopes and sandy or rocky soil. This can also happen when a hardscape directs all of the runoff away from your green space. Excess drainage dries out the soil over time, killing plants and turning dirt into dust.

The best way to fix poor drainage is to get a professional to check the slope and runoff on your landscape. He’ll sculpt the land to direct water into a natural drainage area, or build a drainage area for you. In many cases, we use crushed rock to let runoff drop back into the water table without pooling in the surrounding soul. If excess drainage is the culprit, retaining walls can reduce the slope, and new soil can absorb water more readily. No matter your problem, contact us for drainage landscaping jobs in the Spokane area and we’ll be able to keep the water from bothering you.

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