Landscape Water Management
Updated: Jan 29
Drainage is by and large a necessity for homeowners in the Bay Area to handle surface and ground water, and direct it away from the foundation of their home into an existing runoff pattern, or a likewise outcome. Without proper drainage, most residents will face downspout puddles and/or flooding under their decks, leading to foundation water damage. Swamps for lawns or rainy streams that run through their property can be nuisances. The basic issues that cause trouble for Bay Area homeowners is the clay soil and/or a high water table. A combination of both conditions can be a challenge to deal with, but will ultimately destroy a home if they are not.
Various cities in the Bay Area including, but certainly not limited to, San Leandro, Livermore, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Richmond, San Ramon (and the Tri-Valley Area it’s party to), have a clay soil susceptible to significant expansion. During the rainy season, clay soil absorbs moisture and during the dry season as it loses its moisture, it contracts. Over the years this cycle of expansion and contraction causes settling issues. Its effects are seen in walls cracking, doors sticking, and stucco cracking. Some homes even have a noticeable dip in the floors.
The “Eternal Wet Spot” is that soggy bit of landscape some may have found on their property that never seems to dry up, even when it hasn't rained for weeks. It's likely a spring, or an area with an unusually high water table. In some cases it can be a leaking water or sewer pipe. All of these situations call for professional assistance. Jefferson Landscape and Design recommends if you discover an area like this on your property, you don’t dig. An area that may be a little spring now is likely to become a BIG spring later.
Most people will be alright as long as 1) their landscape is sloped slightly from their home, immediately deterring surface water and 2) they have installed a French drain system that leads water into drainpipes from their downspouts and away the home. Having concrete around the house in the form of a patio or walkway is also highly recommended. If the homeowner turns over other soils once a year or so, keeping it loose will help it recede.
Homes located in the flatland areas of the San Ramon Valley for example, often have shallow foundations, are positioned near areas where the underground water table is high, and have clay soil. For people who live in areas like this a simple French drain system may not be enough; a sump pump may need to be installed. So either dig in or give us a call.