My backyard is relatively flat and I like that but we get a lot of water running toward our house after heavy rains and filling up the window wells and making a swamp in the backyard. Some landscapers have suggested regrading and putting a swale there with a french drain running down the middle but I would hate to lose the flatness and the distance from the back of the house to the fence isn't that big.

The run would be something close to 100 feet to cover the whole back of the house and I'm wondering if we can still have the french drain but without adding the swale. Keep the flat yard but let the drain slowly drop over that distance. Or is that not practical?


There is a storm sewer in the front of the house which is the east side. The west side gets water pushing up against that side of the house and it comes from the rest of the subdivision which sits slightly higher. I'm at the end. The north side has adequate slope toward the storm sewer. So they want to put a swale in the middle of the yard on the west side sloping toward the north side.

  • Where would either the swale or the french drain conduct the water to? Directly into the public storm sewer system or onto private property? To make clear my bias I strongly prefer surface drainage, i.e., a swale. A swale is cheaper and one can see if it is getting filled with sediment. A french drain is much more expensive, is really a professional job, and then what if the french drain plugs up or is insufficient? – Jim Stewart Jun 6 '17 at 15:45
  • Why do you prefer a flat backyard? – Jim Stewart Jun 6 '17 at 15:48
  • Is the water you want to drain away coming from your roof and from rainfall onto your yard or is it coming from uphill off your property? – Jim Stewart Jun 6 '17 at 15:58
  • I think they are recommending the swale for a place to drain to. You might consider adding one or more drywells to drain the French drain to and that would keep your back yard flat. 😊 – ArchonOSX Jun 6 '17 at 16:10
  • 1
    @JimStewart For baseball, football and soccer. – Rob Jun 6 '17 at 18:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.