It’s been 7 weeks since we closed on our new old house. We’ve seen sun, snow, rain, sleet, wind…a typical North Carolina winter! This whirlwind of weather has actually been quite a learning experience for us because we have been able to identify exterior issues quickly. (However, I must admit that I’m a little nervous for when the warm weather is here in full swing – should we be expecting 4, 6 or 8 legged house guests?)

It all became clear a couple nights after we closed on the house. We had a window guy come out to give us an estimate on a very rainy evening. As he was crunching the numbers, a moat began to form around the house. New fancy windows would be really great, but when I had to call the gondolier to show the salesman out, I knew we had to re-prioritize!

The drainage issues were not only causing the yard, the walkway and consequently the basement to flood during heavy rains, but over the course of time, the water was causing wood rot along the trim of the house. We got a few estimates from roofing and gutter companies and decided to knock out all of our drainage problems at once with fresh new trim, roof repair and brand-spankin’ new gutters!

Fast forward to a snowy Saturday. While I was on bridesmaid duty (mimosas and dress shopping – tough life!), Ben was dealing with properly functioning gutters draining water onto otherwise dry land. The storm water was running through the gutters properly down to the corner of the house, but the water was landing right in front of the basement (gotta love basements) and just standing there. Here’s what he rigged up using plastic drop cloths, a couple of stray bricks and a red solo cup attached to the end of the gutter. Mind you, it was freezing/snowing/sleeting/raining icky mess at the time!

Rough Draft This quick-fix held up for a couple of weeks! The water drains down the driveway toward the shed where there is a concrete drain that leads to the street. Genius.

So we keep rigging up drainage solutions as the North Carolina rain continued…

Rough Draft...againI know. This is all very fascinating. But seriously, a dry house is a happy house!

To come up with the perfect solution, we consulted with my dad and did some digging on the internet which turned into actual digging into the ground. The solution is some form of a french drain. We connected a 50-foot black drainage pipe (purchased at Lowe’s for about $30) between the bottom of the gutter pipe and the concrete drain at the end of the driveway. While we were at Lowe’s, my dad created the 6-8″ deep trench.

Backyard Drain

This should solve our problems in the backyard!

But what about the front? When it rains, we have a pool of water right in front of our stoop! Not the most inviting scene for guests or furniture delivery men. We created a similar french drain-esque solution in the front yard. Using the same 15-foot black drainage pipe and a 9″ square catch basin (about $30 from Lowe’s), we dug a 12″ deep trench to create the drain. I should also mention, that none of these DIY drains would be possible without good ol’ Gorilla Tape!

Catch Basin
Catch Basin

Phew. Just when I thought my back hurt from painting wood paneling, I really became aware of the necessity for IcyHot after digging these trenches! Needless to say, I’m glad I’m finally lounging on my new couch drinking Rioja blogging about it now that I’m done with it.

Front Yard Drain

I would show you pictures of what the drains look like now that we are done, but it would just be pictures of dirt in our yard! Now I’m actually excited for it to rain again so we can see how our new drains are working 🙂

My hope is to continue to improve our drainage throughout our landscaping projects. Maybe one day you’ll see a post about rain gardening on Hilgs House!

Next time, I’ll write about something a little bit more fun/interesting, but these are the realities of homeownership!