Solutions for Landscape Drainage Problems

Beauty and The Beast

Three almost magical solutions for taming winter water nightmares

Are winter water nightmares starting to creep into your landscape? The Beast comes out when drainage has not yet been developed or it has been neglected. It threatens your property value by posing safety (failing walls or flooded garage) or livability issues (soggy lawns or icy pathways.)

However, when drainage works, due to planning and good execution, it is a thing of beauty and helps to protect and enhance the value of your property. The landscape drainage professionals at Drake’s 7 Dees have some tried and true solutions for improving the situation, enhancing livability, and helping you protect your property value. 

Before sharing these three beautiful water management solutions for landscapes, it is helpful to review three factors that lead up to the need for these solutions. Sometimes addressing one of these precursors to beastly drainage issues can calm the situation and illuminate the need for pinpoint drainage solutions.

The Source of Landscape Drainage Problems

There are three site specific situations that lead to drainage issues. The first two conspire together to make water management a central focus of good landscape design. Rain and clay soils are the perfect combination for creating wet flows that quickly find low points. Then because of the physical properties of clay soils water remains on the surface for extended periods of time.

While we cannot control the rain, we can modify some soil situations for improved drainage as in our Four Seasons Lawn installations. Unfortunately, that solution is not practical for an entire property.  So, we are left with the third factor that influences water management.

Elevations differences or the grade changes on your property and your neighbors have a huge impact on where water travels.  Sometimes your property is lower in elevation and you get water run‐off from your neighbors. Sometimes the grade differences are all on your property footprint. Either way requires a master plan approach to redirecting the potential flow paths away from your home and other important features and structures.

Three Landscape Drainage Solutions

Now that you have a plan here are three beautiful tried and true water management solutions that the professionals at Drake’s 7 Dees often recommend:

A french drain to address drainage problems

French Drains are typically simple pipe and gravel systems designed to move surface water from one area to another. (Named after Henry Flagg French as described in his classic work, Farm Drainage published in 1859. Ah but I digress.) There are several ways to install them and the pipe materials used vary depending on the site situation. They are the go‐to solution for moving water from one softscape area to another. They are a requirement behind walls were water needs to be redirected to relieve water pressure.

Channel Drains take surface water from hardscape areas, like a pool deck or driveway and capture it in a pipe system with an open top grate. The end of the pipe then connects to the next way of moving the water further away from the collection point. That connection could be to a holding tank, french drain or to a hard solid pipe that moves the water to a drainage system.

A channel drain to address drainage problems
A flowell drainage system to address landscape drainage problems

Unlike French or Channel drains, Flowells are systems designed to collect and hold water for infiltration.  A Flowell is an engineered barrel with connection ports for in and out pipe feeders and the walls have holes for infiltration. The other distinct advantage of a Flowell is that the top of the system can be accessed to check the water levels; clean the system out; and install or inspect a sump pump as needed.

You can rest well now as French drains, Channel drains and Flowells, the three almost magical solutions for taming winter water nightmares have come to rescue you. Of course if you still want a little consolation the landscape drainage professionals at Drakes 7 Dees would be happy to speak with you! Click here to contact us today.

A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.

Born and raised in the Portland Metro Area… Tim has had an appreciation for the outdoors from a young age.  Inspired by our local beauty ranging: the Mt Hood National Forest to salty, sea spray of Cannon Beach, the arid high-desert of Central Oregon to the rugged terrain of Steens Mountain – Tim sought higher education at the University of Idaho in their Landscape Architecture department.  Graduating with honors in 2004, he returned home to establish his professional career.

Now making his home in Sandy, Oregon – Tim and his wife [Nicole] are raising two happy and healthy kiddos and 4 fur-babies.  Between soccer, football, cheerleading, girl scouts and other extra-curricular activities… the Sellin family are heavily involved in their community and church family.  Since college, Tim has spent 13 of his 17 years with Drake’s 7 Dees and has ‘set roots’ in anticipation of long-term growth at the family-focused company.  Having spent his time away from Drake’s in a ‘boots on the ground’ capacity, Tim has fostered a love for the operational/production side of landscape business, as well as the design/sales.

His goal in life as well as business is to put others first.

Bachelor of Science Landscape Architecture, BSLA… 2009
California Polytechnic University, Pomona… Cum Laude
American Society of Landscape Architects – Honor Award

Steven has 15 years of experience in the residential landscape design/build and garden center industry, including 9 years with Drake’s 7 Dees. Steven also has experience working with the National Park Service in Yosemite on sub-alpine restoration projects, as well as volunteer experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer serving the community of Zaouiat d’Ifrane in Morocco.

Together, Steven and his wife Anna have four lovely children, all 5 years old and under! In his (very limited) spare time, Steven enjoys camping, hiking, archery hunting, and cooking. Steven’s passion for his work lies in helping others, through design to envision a more beautiful space that, once built, becomes a reality that improves their quality of life.