Tag Archives: drainage

5 tips to ensure a trouble-free buried gutter downspout drain system

Whenever planning to install new or modify an existing buried downspout drain, you need to be very aware of solid debris that can easily enter your buried drainage system and cause future problems.  Whether it’s leaves, small branches, tree acorns/seed, asphalt roof shingle granules or any other debris that can enter your downspout by way of unprotected/uncovered gutters, a buried downspout drain system will eventually fail unless certain precautions are taken.

Here are 5 tips to ensure a trouble-free buried gutter downspout drain system.

1). Create an air-gap below your downspout (between downspout outlet and catch basin inlet).  It is always a good idea to leave a bit of space (1″ to 4″+/-) between the end of your downspout and entry point of buried drain system to allow water to escape downspout if in the event your buried drain system becomes inoperable.  We have seen many poorly designed buried downspout drains over the years that were direct connected (no air-gap) and eventually became clogged due to a lack of regular maintenance or by having no debris protection (atop roof gutters and/or atop buried drain inlet).

2). Reduce entry of large debris into buried drainage system by installing a grate covered catch basin at inlet point (ground level).  Not only will most large sized debris get stopped from entering buried drain system via catch basins grate cover, but smaller sized debris that manages to pass through will settle to bottom of catch basin (instead of inside pipe) where it can be easily removed at some point in the future.

Cut-Off Buried Downspout Drain Pipe Almost Completely Clogged With Debris From Unprotected Gutters Above

3). Add a catch basin filter for extra protection against unwanted small granular sized debris from entering into buried drain pipe.

4). Clean sump base of catch basin (and optional filter) annually to ensure long term buried drain system success.  Most downspout catch basins can be easily cleaned out by simply unscrewing the top grate cover and shoveling out or vacuuming any/all settled debris that has accumulated in sump of catch basin.

5). Occasionally inspect top of catch basin (once per month recommended) to ensure the grate cover is free and clear of debris.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any exterior residential drainage improvement needed at your Chicagoland area property.  Thank you for visiting our site and we look forward to being of service to you!

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Ideas to relieve standing water from your lawn and landscape

If proper site drainage is lacking at your property and continuous rains routinely cause the ground to become fully saturated, standing water will almost certainly occur.

Especially across low lying lawn and poorly drained plant bed areas, if surface water is left to stagnate for long periods of time, non-tolerant plants may fall victim to the negative effects of excessive soil moisture (root decay/wet-feet).

Here are a few ways to relieve standing water at your property.

  • Redirect existing roof downspouts and/or sump pump outlet pipes to flow toward alternate non-problematic areas (if possible).
  • Raise the soil grade within low-lying flood prone areas.
  • Install an underground drainage system to properly relocate, store and/or further improve the natural process of ground water percolation.
  • Replace impermeable paved surfaces with porous materials.
  • Fine tune your irrigation system to prevent over watering (soil type and natural rainfall frequency dependent).
  • If you suspect a neighboring property is the direct cause of your drainage problem, begin a direct discussion with it’s owner and/or the local government to find a beneficial solution.
  • If poor drainage cannot be improved for whatever reason, consider planting species that can tolerate wet soil conditions.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have.  We greatly appreciate your time and look forward to being of assistance to you in the very near future.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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INSTALL A CATCH BASIN FILTER and say goodbye to clogged buried downspout drains forever!!

The beauty of a buried landscape drain system is that it remains normally hidden fromPacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Leaves Atop sight while automatically relocating excess stormwater that runs off a roof, large paved surface or any other impermeable area.  Most residential drainage systems revolve around single or multiple buried drain lines that range in size from 3″ in diameter on up to 6″+ diameter (4″ drain pipe being most common – excess storm water dependent).  Not only are there different pipe diameter sizes to considerPacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Cover Off, but also different materials as well.  Depending on site conditions, amount of water to relocate, distance to extend across and location of pipe outlet (to daylight), one will need to choose between flexible plastic or solid PVC pipe.  The most widely used types of drainage pipe are plastic corrugated, plastic corrugated and perforated, PVC solid, PVC solid and perforated.

One major problem with buried residential drainage systems that relocate water from an Pacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Cleaned and Rinsedunscreened and unfiltered water source (downspouts connected to gutters with NO overhead leaf gutter guard protection in particular) is that debris can easily make it’s way into the buried pipe(s) and create clogs.  As the buried pipe(s) become clogged, water flow at the outlet point can be reduced to a trickle and/or become stopped entirely.  As you can imagine, without routine inspection and a thorough underground drain pipe cleaning (via vacuum, forced air or high pressured water jet), unnoticed clogs may lead to other serious problems around your property.  Common problems like standing water, leaky basements, ice damming along roof edges, overly saturated plant material or even washout of nearby mulch or once compacted pavement base materials can be experienced when water flows into areas where it is not welcomed.

A solution for clogged buried drain pipes has recently become available and is Pacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Filter Installedmanufactured by a company called NDS.  They have created a simple catch basin filter that comes in two different sizes to fit their common 9″ and 12″ square shaped catch basins. Catch basins are commonly used under existing downspouts to funnel water underground to/through attached drain system.  The NDS catch basin filters are removable and cleanable.  They efficiently prevent dirt and debris from entering/cloggingPacocha - 12 x 12 Catch Basin Cleaned Filter Installed Covered to Complete your underground drainage system.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for help with any residential landscape drainage related challenge you may currently have.

Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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A few tips to further improve your next treated wood timber landscape installation project

Even though concrete block seems to be the most commonly used construction material for raised beds and retaining walls in the residential landscape, I personally find wood (treated wood timbers in particular) to be superior in many ways.

For starters, not only is wood a completely renewable resource, but a properly installed treated wood structure (including adequate drainage) will easily last 20-25 years.  In my opinion, a beautifully designed and constructed wood timber planting box, retaining wall, etc. is far more natural in appearance and complementary to adjacent plant material than its concrete counterpart.  I realize that an argument can be made in that concrete block installations are more expensive because they are to be considered “forever” where wood will eventually deteriorate over time.  This point is absolutely correct in that the concrete block itself will likely outlast it’s owner!  Pacocha - Wood Preservative Freshly Applied to Cut Timber EndsHowever, it is my experience that even a professionally installed concrete block wall (with suitable drainage) will eventually shift from long term exposure to seasonal water freeze/thaw cycles, nearby expanding tree root growth, nearby excavation/digging, etc. making it’s segmented formal installation approach somewhat less desirable both visually and structurally when failure finally occurs.  Even though treated wood timbers do not easily lend themselves to curved type/designed landscape installations like segmental block units can, they still get my unabashed vote in the landscape design process whenever possible.

Here are a few tips to extend the life and improve the quality of your next wood timber installation project.

Pacocha - Soil Excavated - Ready for Stone Sub Base– Use properly treated wood timbers rated for direct soil contact according to the American Wood Protection Standard (UC4A – Ground Contact General Use)Pacocha - Ground Contact AWPA U1 UC4A Wood Timber Tag

– Use large dimensioned properly rated/treated wood timbers whenever possible.  By choosing a minimum sized 6″ x 6″ treated wood timber (in lieu of 3″ x 5″, 4″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″ timbers) will be less likely to warp and twist over time.

– Apply a suitable preservative to all end cuts made during the installation process.

– Prevent “always wet” soil conditions below/around wood timber structure by installing suitable drainage improvements wherever necessary.

Pacocha - Applying Wood Preservative to Cut Timber– Use a suitable stone sub-base below initial course of wood timbers to further improve water drainage and to strengthen the overall installation.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for assistance with your next wood timber installation project.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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A few proven ways to reduce labor, save money and increase the quality of your residential lawn and landscape management service

Over the last 20 years or so I have had the privilege of performing lawn and landscape related services at several thousand Chicago area properties.  As you can imagine, there are many time consuming variables on each individual property that can either add or lessen the total number of seasonal man hours needed to properly service a lawn and/or landscape.Pacocha - Open Lawn Area Nicely Stripped

Here are a few ways to lower the cost of professional lawn and landscape care by reducing the labor needed to produce it.Pacocha - Narrow Back Yard Passage Further Obstructed by a Concrete Stoop

1). Increase the width of entry into your back yard (if possible).  Common commercial walk behind mowers are 36″ wide and require a clear opening that is at least 38″ wide  to safely pass through.  It is very common to spend 30% less labor when using a 36″ walk behind mower (or larger) over a standard 21″ push mower.  In addition, a 36″ wide (or greater) commercial mower offers a far superior quality of cut and finish over a small 21″ push mower.Pacocha - Multiple Above Ground Elongated Drain Lines

2).  Relocate or bury any/all misdirected downspouts and sump pump outlet pipes that happen to cross into heavily traveled lawn or property passageways.  Additional time is usually needed  to disconnect (where applicable), work around and/or lift maintenance equipment over aluminum, PVC, plastic, etc. drain pipes to complete a routine maintenance visit.Pacocha - Underground Drainage Improvements

3).  Reduce watering schedules during cooler spring and/or fall rainy seasons (in particular).  We highly recommend the creation of a custom watering schedule that can be routinely adjusted (+/-) throughout the course of each and every growing season.  Over watering a lawn usually stimulates unwanted excess top growth and over saturates the soil which leads to poor grass plant health. Increasing levels of lawn stress and maintenance labor are normally the case when “ever-wet” conditions exist.Pacocha Water Irrigation System

4). Create larger “flowing” lawn areas instead of multiple small hard to reach turf areas (wherever possible).  When planning what mowing equipment will be needed to properly service your property, it is very beneficial (improved quality of finish with less labor needed) to have lawn areas that are wide enough to reach by commercial mower (36″+ wide generally preferred).   As you may or may not know, a small hand held grass trimmer(aka line trimmer, weed eater, string trimmer, etc.) is a piece of equipment that is used to trim growing grass along, around or within areas that are difficult to reach by conventional lawn mower.  Hand held line trimmers rarely allow for the quality of cut that a lawn mower can produce.Spring Cleanup - Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.

5). Add a layer of wood mulch across any/all open bare soil plant bed spaces.  Not only will wood mulch provide beneficial moisture retention for your plants, but a decent 2″ +/- layer of shredded wood mulch will slow down unwanted weed growth and make your overall landscape look fantastic.  Great amounts of landscape maintenance labor can be saved by creating an environment that lessens the possibility of weed seed germination and survival.  Whether it be mulch covered plant beds or a dense lawn, the goal is the same, do not let weed seeds germinate in sun exposed open soil.Pacocha - Large Open Lawn Area Post Lawn Care Application

6). Mulch grass clippings.   The mulching of grass clippings are a great way to add beneficial nutrients to your soil and reduce the additional labor and disposal fees generated from removing green debris off-site.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions, comments or service requests you may have.

Thank you for your time and have a great day!

 

 

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Yellow Nutsedge: The problem “grass like” weed that will not leave your lawn without a fight!

If there is one persistent type of unwanted vegetation that is very difficult to control in most lawns it has to be the “grass like” weed named yellow nutsedgePacocha - Yellow Nutsedge 1 (aka yellow nutgrass).  This weed makes itself visible from mid to late summer and tends to love sun exposed wet soil lawn areas.  Yellow nutsedge is a warm season perennial plant that grows from underground tubers (nutlets) and spreads via underground horizontal creeping stems called rhizomes.  These underground tubers can easily survive many years in the upper foot of soil if negative site conditions are left unchanged.  Pacocha - Nutsedge DiagramEven though yellow nutsedge plants resembles turfgrass from afar, a closer look reveals the truth about this stubborn “grass like” weed.  The leaves of the nut sedge plant are stiffer and thicker than most grasses, are V-shaped (cross section) and grow in sets of three from the base.  Yellow nutsedge can be controlled non-chemically and chemically.  The easiest way to eradicate small colonies of yellow nutsedge is to maintain a thick lawn and simply pull the nutsedge plant out of the ground as soon as you see it.  Special care should be taken to also remove the underground tubers/nutlets (if possible) for best long term control.  Another common non-chemical way to eradicate yellow nutsedge is to improve the drainage of the effected turf grass area.  Since yellow nutsedge loves wet moist soil, a simple drainage improvement or reduction in irrigation can eliminate this particular weeds ability to flourish.  The final way to control yellow nut sedge is chemically.  Pacocha - Yellow Nutsedge 3It is very common to require multiple herbicide applications over many growing seasons to achieve desirable results.  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to evaluate the overall condition of your lawn and to discuss the possible need for chemical yellow nutsedge control.  Thank you for your time and we look forward to being of assistance to you!

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Chicago area underground flood control systems, sewer repairs, emergency utility work and the necessary landscape related repairs that follow!

The damage done to a mature lawn or landscape (in particular) after a major sewer repair, drainage improvements or new flood control system has been installed can be minimal or quite extreme.  Plant material, lawns, irrigation systems, retaining walls, pavement and low voltage lighting can be damaged or completely destroyed when underground construction takes place near by.  Other matters like extreme soil compaction and severed mature plant root systems are very common issues as well.  Flood control systemDepending on the initial soil excavation depth, size of equipment used, property location, type of underground repair performed and amount of construction spoils left behind will normally dictate the cost of landscape restoration services required.  One of the main cost drivers (besides labor and materials) of residential landscape restoration work (post sewer/flood control improvements) is the amount of excess stone/debris that is left behind.  When hiring an underground repair contractor it is always a good idea to be aware and to discuss who exactly will be responsible for the cost of removing excess fill/debris (off-site) if needed.  If the excess fill Pacocha - Elevated elongated mound post underground constructionmaterial that is left behind is somewhat desirable (soil or sand) and lacks large pieces of unwanted stone, bricks, concrete, etc. than it can be easily re-purposed/relocated on-site to reduce overall restoration costs.   Some examples of how to use these excess materials may be to elevate a low lying plant bed area, create a new raised planting bed or to fill-in multiple low/sunken lawn areas that are in need of repair.  In addition, please keep in mind that it is very likely that ground settling will occur after deep soil excavation work has been performed.  Pacocha - Elevated mound post underground constructionDepending on how well the underground contractor compacted the back-filled soil/stone will determine the amount of ground settling to be experienced in the future (1-3 years post landscape repair).  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to assist in evaluating and providing the necessary lawn and landscape restoration services for your Chicago or surrounding northwest suburban residential property.  Pacocha - Low area ready for additional top soil and boxwood relocation

Thank you for your time and we look forward to being of assistance to you in the very near future.

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The damaging power of ice!

Many of us carefully travel atop slippery icy surfaces every winter with great care and awareness.  We do our very best to lower the possibility of a slip and fall or vehicle accident by applying various forms of ice melters to our roads, sidewalks and bridges to convert dangerous ice to manageable surface water.  However, we need to really consider the power of ice and the damage it can cause when water is allowed to freeze when becoming trapped or simply left to stagnate in non-temperature controlled areas like exterior sump drains, foundation mounted water supply lines, roof gutters, non-drained buried lawn irrigation lines, buried down spout drain lines, garden hoses left outside, rain barrels, etc.

What happens to water if it’s not allowed to expand when frozen?

Here are a few simple steps to avoid ice related property damage and it’s corresponding repair.

  • Clean out all leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts often to allow for proper draining.
  • Be sure to properly pitch exterior sump pump drain lines to allow water to flow out and not remain stagnate in pipe.
  • Blow out or vacuum all debris that may have become trapped in buried down spout extension drain lines.
  • Prepare your lawn’s sprinkler system for winter by removing all the water from the irrigation system and equipment by using pressurized air.
  • Drain water from all portable/stationary pumps and water holding tanks before freezing temperatures move in.

By taking these few simple winter related precautions will allow our drainage and water control systems to function as they were intended and with minimal additional expense.

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