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Stormwater Management: Ponding and Erosion Solutions

Prepare customers for heavy rains with these stormwater management techniques and tools.

September 14, 2023

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Stormwater Management: Ponding and Erosion Solutions

Ensure your clients have stormwater management systems in place for the spring storm season.

The ideal property should create maximum outdoor space usability while properly managing water flow and preventing flooding issues. If clients don’t have a well-maintained system, take the opportunity to build one. Prevention is important to protect customer assets from stormwater damage, especially during the rainy spring season when flooding is prevalent. An inadequate stormwater system can cause serious harm to the client’s property and local water supplies.

Initial Landscape Review
Before breaking ground, make sure to account for any problem areas on the property, ideally observing the landscape after a large storm. Note how the water flows through the yard and where it meets other surfaces to remedy any issues. Ponding effects should last at most 24 hours; if they’re lasting longer, you will need to install drainage. You’ll also need to ensure all utilities are clearly marked and potential pollutant sites are assessed and protected from spreading, such as septic systems.

Ponding and Soil Erosion
While runoff is a common problem, soil erosion is another widely seen stormwater issue. This can look like barren ground or soil swept away from house foundations and tree roots. Resolve erosion immediately as it only gets worse with time. Erosion can happen nearly anywhere on a client’s property, but two common locations are around the driveways and in landscape beds.

If your client’s land has varied topography, adding terracing or a retaining wall lined with gravel or mulch to sloped areas protects the land and keeps the soil in place. The wall can be used as a multi-use feature, such as a bench or planter bed. Mulch can be added to all plant beds to protect bare soil and slow runoff.

Choosing regional, low-growing vegetation for landscape beds slows down runoff, removes sediments, and has less rain impact on soil. Additionally, native vegetation minimizes potential for mosquitoes, stabilizes slopes with the plants’ root structure, and improves soil infiltration.

Check to ensure that the current flora on the property doesn’t have root damage and there are no ponding effects. If a flowerbed is continuously wet and flooded, install drains to avoid damage to the yard and home. Round catch basins like the NDS Spee-D Drain Basin have a sump area to collect debris before entering the drainage piping to protect water flow. If the installation area is not high traffic, catch basins with an atrium are ideal as they better block debris like mulch from clogging pipes. Flat basins work well in low spots in yard where there is ponding and can redirect water in high traffic areas. These basins could be connected to French drains, a Flo-Well system, emitters, or a combination of these options.

If you have a client with a driveway that is often flooded or that has runoff draining into the street, this could not only damage their property and the roads but can also carry pollutants into natural water sources nearby. There are options to alleviate this issue and will depend on the client’s land, budget, and preferences.

With driveways and patios with a gentle slope, you can install a trench drain to collect runoff during storms. This will avoid puddling and protect the client’s assets. Trench drains can lead to emitters or a Flo-Well system, but either way, the piping should have catch basins with sumps to allow the smaller debris that gets through to settle for removal. Consider asking your customer to switch to permeable paver stones or turf blocks for their driveway as an upsell. These materials help stormwater infiltrate the ground.

Stormwater Management Best Practices
Keep a pulse on the climate and soil type in your area. Rainfall levels indicate what drainage is needed and the kind of soil will tell you how the water will be absorbed. Depending on soil type and compaction levels, you may need to add more management techniques to the system you’re building.

Remember the rule of thumb: store, slow, spread, sink. Storing water is a great way to reduce demand for irrigation. Slowing down and spreading runoff prevents erosion, flash flooding, and other issues. Sinking (or infiltrating) the stormwater is one of the best things you can do for the environment as it aids aquifers in addition to helping the landscape thrive.

Plan a maintenance routine with your client to ensure that the drainage system stays efficient.

Benefits to Stormwater Management
Drainage is highly beneficial to homeowners as it protects their assets; maintenance is more affordable than fixing the damage erosion can cause. Ecologically, it helps the environment as well, positively affecting groundwater recharge, creating habitats, improving aesthetics, and rerouting water to areas with higher soil infiltration. Visit or your local branch for more information on drainage installation and to find the products mentioned in this article.

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