I'm looking for any and all advice regarding a French drain installation on our property.
Our neighbors property meets at the back of our property and has a pond and is a designated wet land. Across the road and at the side of our property lives my other neighbor who is a monster. (Sorry to be so horrible but it's true-she is a monster who makes it impossible to fully enjoy our new home)
We have contacted the utility companies and the township zoning inspector in order the install a French drain that will run parallel between our property and that of the pond guy.
The zoning inspector has given us a green light on this project with the full knowledge that the monster will be raising a stink as soon as the shovel touches dirt.
We have to be sure that we are not directing any water toward any other property.
If we dig the proper trench, line it with the appropriate cloth, sock the perforated tubing, gravel the top will this drain serve to help the flooding that will occur from heavy rain?
Hi there and thanks so much for your reply.
My understanding is that the drain will allow the collected water to slowly dissipate into the ground. I have seen that it is recommended that when digging a French drain you should create a small downgrade to allow the water to travel in that direction. I do not feel like I can cause the water to flow in any direction so would not include such a downgrade. All I wish to do it give the water a place to go. There is some standing water from pond run-off on the pond guys property but within maybe four feet of my property. When it rains heavily, water floods well into my backyard, across the road and into the monster lady's yard.
We moved into our new home in October and the monster lady has injected to everything we have done outside this spring-planted a few small trees, started a twig fence and normal outdoors stuff. She recently tried to have our driveway moved because she insists it has to face the road our address is on. We live at an intersection and our driveway does not face the road that our address is on. I can't explain why she is a monster I can only agre with the zoning inspector who has had many dealings with that it is obviously a jealousy problem.
We have bought the supplies and plan on doing the French drain ourselves.
The dampness in our family room was taken care of with the removal of the unvented fireplace.
My question is will the drain be as effective without grading to divert.
It's very difficult for anyone here to truly answer your question accurately. This is because we have no knowledge of your area nor have we seen any pictures of the problem. In addition we are not familiar with the changes in land elevation around your home.
French Drains when laid properly with the ideal slope and materials can help resolve issues of soggy soil on your property. However, what is key is that the water be moved to an area where it preferably empties into a drainage ditch or s storm drain so it doesn't build up on your or your neighbours' property. It may also spread out over your property well away from your home and be allowed to percolate into the soil in areas which receives less moisture.
Is your street lined with curbs and storm sewers along the curbs? Do you have a sump pump and sump pit in your home? If so where is the water pumped when the sump empties? If is tied to the storm drain in the street, you may be able to at a Y fitting to the drain line and tie in your French Drain or tie your French Drain directly into the storm sewer and thus eliminate all issues provided you seek out and obtain the permits to do so.
Your concern really will depend on how much water is moved from the soggy area of your yard to a new area. The amount of water that may be moved will depend on the changes in elevation as well as the depth of drain at the source in the soggy soil. The deeper the drain at the source the more water that may be moved to the new area, though this would require a change in elevation between the 2 points, where the emptying point is lower than the input point. The greater the difference between the 2 points, the more water that may be moved.
As to the unfriendly neighbour continue to be pleasant and polite with them. As it stands from what I have understood from your description, they are in no way adjacent to you and you do not have to deal with them regarding your French Drain. However, continue the goodwill and maintain friendly, open communication with your next door neighbour as they are important to your successful installation and completion of this project.
As stated earlier, posting pictures of both the back and front of your home to show all areas where the land is soggy and where you wish it to be drained to would make it easier for others to offer assistance. To do this take your pictures and then upload them to a Free Site such as www.PhotoBucket.com where you may create a Free Account and Store up to 1Gb of pictures Free. Then post a message here on the DIY Boards and in your message includes links to your pictures at PhotoBucket. With these photos others will surely offer suggestions that can be helpful to you.
These are just some thoughts to consider.
grading is the common pratice in diverting rain water. then...secondly a french drain is use
most commonly it is used under your eves to diverrt water from around the foundation. it sounds to me like you want to use it as a primary form of drainage
if this is so you will not be satisfied.
when the pipe is full you will have standing water intell the water is able to leach into the ground
my recomendation is to grade your property away from the reptile lady and drain it back to the pound where she belongs
this is said without seeing a picture of property
upload a pic for better info
PSM, I think your first response was directed to my accidentally deleted message (duh). Since you've gotten technical good advice, I'll just offer some nonotechnical suggestions.
I'm assuming that your neighbor's wetland designation doesn't apply to your property, and that you're not under any legal obligation not to change anything on your property that might affect such a designation?
I'm not too famliar with the legal process for wetland designation, but I think that if your property were so described, it would be reflected in your home's title policy, under the Exceptions section.
How old is the disagreeable neighbor? Is she elderly, alone, without close family?
Does she harrass other neighbors? Does she resent you because she liked the former residents?
From what you tell me, she has no legal standing to challenge what you plan to do unless the drain crosses, empties into, or affects her property. Still, that doesn't mean she can't make your life miserable.
I think the issue is really why she's so disagreeable, and if it's as I suspect (that she's lonely, abandoned and isolated), there may be some possible recourse by going out of your way to befriend her and make her feel wanted and needed (no hugs or kisses - just plain courtesy). Sometimes you can shock someone into better behavior with such tactics.
If she's a mother or grandmother, take a Mother's Day card to her. That might start to soften her up.
If being nice doesn't work, and if she becomes too much of a nuisance, it might be best to just ignore her but you may also have legal recourse if she becomes aggressively hostile and/or threatening.
The Monster: get a permit for an 8-foot tall fence between the property lines. erect it. file the plans and get the permit so that the accurately and professionally shot property lines and lot descriptions are on file with the city, as well as the reason for the fence. any more (offal) from that monster, refer police to that filing if they are called in. ain't as good as a restraining order, but it's a good legal wall, too.
the issue of a French drain next to a bog raises the interesting question of: no. Frodo tagged the issue in one line there... you can't drain into saturated ground. you also can't drain into clay or bedrock.
you might have to dump the water into a Frenchy in the side or front yard if conditions are suitable, but that might require engineering and bore holes to check the ground.
keep good notes on everybody you contacted, get it all in writing, for drainage issues have a way to come back later. but I'd definitely be thinking of some drainage swales with "rain garden" features at this point.This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
trying again for pics
!!!! it worked! the pic above is of our property (excuse the mess) where it meets the monsters road...according to her theory. The township says they will not put in a drain/ditch because it will cost $85,000.00 long time property owners have been in a dispute for drainage in this area for decades.
This is the view from my back deck to the property line. we really did mow four days ago and will be mowing again tomorrow.
This is a view of the monsters yard to the left across "her" road and the bordering pond guy in back at the dead end
The string and birdhouse are the property line between us and the pond guy and these are various pics of the standing water
we want to do a french ditch along our property on this side of the string and birdhouses.
I got along just fine with the neighbor monster until the weather got nice and I began cleaning flower beds and cleaning up our yard Since that day, she is a monster. She went over to the neighbors house on the other side of me and told him I was going to dig a huge ditch on his property (not at all true) and now there is a bit of an issue with him as well as of today. He is sure that a french ditch will cause more water on his property and plans to sue if we put it in. Seems we have no way to do anything to help our situation? I do not want to do what my neighbors have done and sit around for years complaining because the township wont put drains it..doesnt seem like a french drain is an option....moved into this house in October and cant believe the problems this woman has caused. Cant imagine how I would feel to get a letter from the township telling me i have to move my driveway that has been here since the house was built?? What a nightmare!!
i feel your pain.. can you install a drain that will daylight?
i mean to say. other end will empty into ? a ditch, low spot, pond, road,
if you could install a french drain that daylighted
it would not saturate with water and it would "overflow" into ? then agin...PICTURES!!!
PSM, speaking only to the legal and property rights issues:
You should have gotten a boundary survey when you purchased the property. It will show your property line and generally would show it in relation to the road.
Is this woman claiming the road is her property? I'm still a bit confused on the issue of moving the road. Is she telling you this must be done, and if so, why?
The narrow road suggests to me that it might be a private road. Is this the case? Is there an easement shown on your title policy that indicates this is true? If so, it should read something like "Grant of Easement from neighbor A [to a - z] over the x no. of feet of lot __ of (name of subdivision)," and more descriptive terms, or it could be a metes and bounds description.
Before you do anything with the potential drain, verify that she has no proprietary interest in the road. The property looks quite rural, so it would not be atypical for a private road to have been created years ago. Is your subdivision platted, i.e., is your legal description of a lot, or metes and bounds? If you need clarification of these terms, just let me know.
There’s a situation like this in my father’s area. One family owned a few acres, and created an access road from a township road back to their farmhouse. As property was sold off and developed, this private access road was the only ingress and egress method for the new homeowners.. Eventually the farmhouse was sold to someone who didn’t get along with someone else and started harrassing him, claiming he was dumping debris and junk onto the private road.
Did your township plow the road during the winter? If so, that suggests it has responsibility for the road, which likely would have been dedicated as a township road. Alternatively, it could be a private road as stated above, with access granted via an easement. In that case, and depending on the scope of the easement, she may actually have some right of control.
Theoretically speaking, and theoretically only, she could have rights to the road if it was created across her property and she granted an access easement, but this should have been reflected in title work.
On the other hand, she may just be a kook who has no concept whatsoever of rights to access roads.
Residential surveys are just boundary surveys and don't reflect easements to the detail that a commercial, or generally an ALTA (American Land Title Assn.) survey would, so your survey might not reflect any private easements. Did you have an attorney review the documentation before you closed on the house deal?
As to grouchy neighbor #2, apparently he simply believed the woman without verifying her statements.
I think this is what I would consider:
1. Check your title work and contact a real estate attorney if necessary to determine whether the monster neighbor has any rights in and to the access road. If you’re unsure what the various provisions mean, post them here. I worked for 7 years at major law firms which handled commercial real estate, and could probably give you some guidelines. If the monster does have rights over the road, a different plan of action would be required on the installation of the drain. In that case, I would definitely retain legal counsel.
If she doesn’t, then you’ll at least have the comfort of knowing she’s just a monster.
2. You might want to consider letters to grouchy neighbor #2 and other adjoining neighbors stating your concerns about the drainage issue, indicate you want to correct it, affirm your concern for their rights (but don't be specific) and suggest you all work together to solve the drainage problems, which apparently have been neglected for years.
3. It’s not clear to me what standing neighbor #2 has to sue, but he could hire an engineer to state that a proposed French drain would negatively impact his property and thus get injunctive relief. Unfortunately, you’ll need to ensure that he’s not negatively affected as well.
4. Sit down, have a lemonade (or something stronger), and relax before tackling all this.
Regarding your driveway, since the driveway has been there since the house was built, you should have no issue with having to move it. You may need to prove that this has always been the location of the driveway and in such a case most areas simply grandfather such an issue and accept it.
The neighbour who seems more like a shrew is likely jealous and wanting to get you on edge, which you appear to be. Try to always remain calm and always smile and wave, and put on a friendly front in her presence. As the old saying goes, kill her with kindness. Put on your outer shell for her, never let her see how irritated you truly are. In your home, take a picture of her and mount in an out of the way room on a dart board. Take your best shot at the dart board when you have had an unpleasant encounter with her and relax and laugh about it.
As for your next door neighbour, reassure him that the shrew next door (though don't share such words with him) has misunderstood and misstated your intentions. It is not your intention to put in a French Drain that will create issues between the two of you. You wish to remain on good terms with all neighbours but particularly him as you do both live next door to one another and want to maintain a respectful and neighbourly relationship with one another and if possible others in the area. Simply state you want to be a good neighbour and maintain a good relationship between the two of you and where issues arise, you want discuss them face to face and not let hearsay comments be a cause to be concern to either of you. You want to be a good citizen, respectful of and respected by my neighbours and hope they would feel the same way. When issue may form, share them directly with one another and so that we each state what we are considering so that our intentions are clear and that in turn you would do the same should you decide to make changes on your property which may affect us. Now as to the French Drain, yes we are considering to put one in but it is in the planning stage and we're not sure of whether it will work or not. We want to try and dry out some sections of our property where water collects and by putting in a French Drain to another part of our property to lower the water in the wet areas we have. In any case rest assured what we do we don't desire for it to have anything but a positive impact on both our properties and surely none on anyone else in the area. If there are problems with it we will correct them even to the extent of returning the property to its original state. At this point we both may not gave gotten off on the right foot to building a good neighbourly relationship. I trust we can use this as a step in doing that. Do you have any further concerns?
Now as to whether you will see any benefit from installing a French Drain on your property,leats check things out. As you are aware, water runs from a high spot to a low spot and unless there is a change in elevation on your property you will not see any real benefit for all your efforts in installing a French Drain. In addition to be effective water needs to be drained away easily for it to move from one area to another, otherwise it will pool and collect and slowly drain into the soil. However in a heavy rainfall it may cause water to collect where it is moved to and thus fill this area and beyond since their is no clear area for it to drain area easily and quickly it may collect elsewhere on others properties. This should be a concern if this should happen.
You need to take an elevation measurement at the back where you plan to start the drain and also where you plan to end the drain and see what the difference in elevation actually is. This can be done by driving in 4' or 6' stacks at both locations, hopefully in direct eyesight of one another. Then use a laser level and site between them and mark a point on each stack such that they are exactly level with one another. Then measure the height of those two marks to the ground and note the difference between them. Now measure the distance between the two stakes. If a drain is laid ideally it needs to fall 1" every 10', though 1/4" every 10' will also work. The greater the fall the better the water will drain from point A to point B.
You may now wish to take these measurement inside and use 1/4" graph paper and a scale of 1"=10' to draw out the distance between the stakes using the scale, though you may need to change to 1/2"=10' if the stakes are too far apart to fit on the graph paper. Draw a line to respect each stake using the scale to space them apart properly. Draw a horizontal Line between them towards the top of the page represent the level line between the stakes. Using the same scale you used to determine the space between the stakes, calculate the height you measured on the each stake to the ground. Mark the approximate location on each stake and name each stake In for Inflow and Out for Outflow. The new mark on each stake represents ground level. Draw a line between each mark you made on the stakes. Now you must determine how deep you wish to place the beginning of the Drain in the ground for the desired result. Realize the deeper you go the more water you will move if you have sufficient fall in the drain to end up above ground. You could go out and do a test dig in the area where you wish to begin. By digging a hole at the start you can see how quickly it fills and how deep you need to go to actually reach the water table in that area. You may be best to dig no deeper than 12" to start as this would give you 6" to 8" of dry soil above the drain once it is installed. As the drain continue to the out flow you need to dig a bit deeper to maintain the desired fall of the drain to the outflow. If this depth appears suitable at the start for the inflow, then return to the drawing and start a drawing showing the depth of 12" (in scale measurement) for the drain in the Inflow on the In stake. Calculate the drop you wish to use 1"=10" or 1/4"=10' and locate the depth at the outflow so that it is very near ground level at the outflow Out stake. Join the 2 point to show the bottom of your trench for the drain. This drawing will allow you to estimate the amount of drain pipe needed, and the amount landscape fabric to line the drain. If the trench is 12" wide and it is half filled with pea stone gravel you can estimate the amount of gravel needed in volume, cubic feet than convert it to cubic yards.(1 cu yd = 27 cu ft, most gravel yards sell it by the ton - ask them for the number of cubic yards in a ton for the material you buy and get a bit extra, possibly 1/2 ton. it always comes in handy and may be useful in the outflow area as described later.) If in laying the drain you find the outflow ends up below the ground no more than 3" or so, you can finish it with a popup drain cover where you dig out and area say 4' to 8' square with the drain pipe centered in the ares and dig it to a depth of 12", laying down landscape fabric than 6" of gravel leveled on top, and more landscape fabric on top of the gravel, then fill to ground level and sod on top. This will help water to drain away in the ground over a larger area more quickly without collecting and then slowly pool and spread out and drain away.
Unless the outflow point is not too far from the surface of the ground and the inflow point is deep enough in the ground to collect the water in the area naturally, the effort to install the French Drain may be a waste of time, especially if there is insufficient fall to the drain. The only way that it would work is if there is an area where it drains away quickly or you install a catch basin in your yard, though this could overflow in heavy rainfall and lead to other issues.
If you live in an area which is subject to heavy rainfall, you may wish to reconsider this project as it could lead to flooding in areas other than your own.
By the way, below is the link that shows all 7 pictures you posted and by clicking on each you can open each in a new window to examine them more closely.
These are some thoughts for you to consider.
Good Luck!This message has been edited. Last edited by: Simply_Me,
Hi Garden Sprite, thanks so much for all the info. . I tend to be a blubbering idiot when things get me so upset so I will clarify. We do live in the township and are rural. Both she and I live on corner lots at an intersection of two township roads-not privaately owned. Her address is on the road that ends into the pond guys gated driveway. My address is on the intersecting road and our garages face one another.
I was actually warned about her by the sellers when we moved into the house in October and also by the real estate lady but am such a person as to give others a chance. After we out in a bid on the house we came out to paint the porch to be sure it would pass inspection for the loan with the owners permission. During that time, monster lady was taking every flower and small shrub from our soon to be property and planting them on her property, she said with the permission of the owner. This rubbed me the wrong way but if she could live with what she was doing so could I, right? Besides, what could I do about it at that point?
So we moved into our house and hit the ground running stripping all the wallpaper, pulling out paneling, pulling up carpet and refinishing oak flooring. During this time she seemed a bit pesky and nosey but was ok enough. It bothered me that she wanted to repeat almost every painting/decorating technique I used in my house in her own house and she did. I have been nothing but good to her, giving her a great deal of things for free from our yard sale and so on.
Then I swear as soon as it got good weather and we started cleaning up and setting up the things we want to have in our new yard she began sitting in a lawn chair in front of her garage glaring at me as I worked in the yard and barely spoke to me. I had no idea why. Then she texted me and asked for a bell I had in my yard sale as she knew I was packing it into my car to take to charity. I walked the bell over and gave it to her at which time she informed me: our trees are planted too close to the road, our twig fence is too close the neighbor on our opposite side-no where near her. Also, she informed me that she lives on xx street as that is her address, I live on cz because that is my address and that my driveway has to face te street my address is on. She talked with the township to have it moved (my driveway) and they pretty much laughed her out the door. The driveway has been here since way before we purchased the home. It just has to be jealousy.
The township guy came back out this afternoon after my visit from the neighbor on the opposite side. He is very angry at what the homeowners on both sides of me r doing and has promise to bring someone from the county out for an assessment for the drain we wish to install. He feels they simply want the bulk if the excess water to remain on my property. We will see I guess.
It's just so shocking that people like her cross the line of humanity and enter the monster world.
I will never speak to her again as she cannot be trusted (told a flat out lie about me to the owner if the property on the opposite side). I will not haggle and argue and engage the petty things she has been trying to pull me into since I asked her not to text me again. Hateful unhappy people I suppose.
Simply me! What a wealth of info! Wow! Thank you all so much!! I feel silly venting all of these issues in these boards. It's just a devastating kind of situation to be in, especially not even being in our new home for 1 full year yet!
I also forgot to mention that monster lady's property runs next to ours on the other side of the road and neighbor 2's property is densely wooded and borders our property on the other side. #2's property also runs behind and borders the back of our property where the pics were taken. His property then borders this side of the pond guys property. I do not think that his property is designated swamp land and with it being so densely covered with living and dead vegetation I have to wonder if he cleaned it out some maybe the sun and air would help dry up some if the water?? The standing water pics I posted are of his property bordering ours.
PSM, good Sat. morning, and I hope you have some plans this weekend that don't involve concern over the drain - I think it's time you took a break!
Simply_Me made a good point about grandfathered access rights to the roadway. My concern was primarily to verify the legal pathway forward to resolve the water issues, and ensure that your neighbor doesn't have any standing to cause legal problems if you go ahead with the drain. But I think SM is right and moving the driveway isn't really a likelihood.
Your neighbor I think would have to prove that she's been injured or damaged (in a legal sense, not physically) by the location of the driveway and unless her access is blocked, I don't think she has a legitimate complaint.
Please don't feel uncomfortable posting your frustration about the situation; it's obvious that it's stressful and that solutions aren't readily forthcoming.
As to the wet/swamp land, if it does have a wet land designation, there are limits to what can be done to change the ecology and water content. So your neighbor may or may not be free to alter the water level.
I do think clearing his property would allow in well needed air and circulation, but it sounds as though he's the good guy neighbor so I wouldn't broach this issue...yet, and if you do, you might offer to help him.
I'm wondering though if there are deer herds and/or other wildlife that take shelter in the area which might be affected if the land were cleared.
It sounds as if you've been more than tolerant of your neighbor's aggressive tactics, as well as the theft of landscaping. The "line in the sand", or water as the case may be, has been drawn and she's crossed it. I think you are at the point of not tolerating any more of her meddling and hostility. However, maybe a letter from a lawyer would set her straight!
Lastly, and just to inject a sense of humor to help you relax, if you can't drain the area, figure out a way to capitalize on it. Create a bog garden. If you're in Massachusetts start a small cranberry plot. Perhaps try to find some frogs and/or toads to eat the insects which I'm sure must be swarming around the wetlands area.
And lastly, put all this aside for the weekend and enjoy yourself.
After reading about your experiences with your neighbour from Hades, I'm surprised that you've held it together so well and can only congratulate you for holding back and keeping you anger and frustration under control. I'm sure there have been many times you've wanted to vent long and loud as I know I would.
One thing I would recommend is for you to think back to dates and days when incidences occurred where she was involved. Sit down and document them as in a diary or a blog if you like. I'd take it back to the very beginning and bring it up to date and continue it. But keep it private between you and your spouse. There are several reasons for doing this.
It can become a record to show your involvement with your neighbour and show her actions and words and your responses and actions. It becomes as record of both of your behaviours and actions. If at anytime legal action is taken this diary may be called on to show a pattern of behaviour and actions which I'm sure that if it became known in the community as to her actions she would be embarrassed and would not favour well in the public eye or the courts. It can also be an outlet for you to vent and be a record that can be helpful to you and knowing you have done your best to maintain a neighbourly relationship to which you wish to hold true to with all whom you meet in-spite of some difficult individuals.
As a retired teacher, we were encouraged to document situations with difficult students and these were later called upon to use in assessing the best course of action when issues came about that needed to be assessed when new courses of action were to being considered for these difficult students. These records proved very useful to justify our actions and propose new directions for the problem student.
If you live in this new home for several years you may be able to record a variety of actions that your neighbour attempts and document each of them. Once you've you compiled a full volume, you might consider approaching a publisher, consider publishing an e-book entitled, How I Coped Living Next To The Neighbour From Hell. Of course there would be a disclaimer where the names were changed to protect the parties. It might be possible to have some print copies published and a book signing in neighbouring communities, the results of which might have interesting happenings.
Whatever you decide to do, be true to yourself and hold to your beliefs and values when dealing with others. It's a shame that your neighbour is a scheming, vindictive, mean-spirited, individual but it is her problem not yours. Simply be wary of her and guarded but also pleasant and polite in all deals with her. Don't fall into playing her games, as I'm sure you won't. It's clear she has issues of a psychological nature which she must overcome. Unfortunately, unless she recognizes it and seeks help she will continue being angry. Such people drive others away and end up lonely. This is her penance for her behaviour and actions.
Like GardenSprite stated you need to relax and enjoy this weekend. Tomorrow is a special day for you and all Mothers. May yours be filled with lots of love, happiness and laughter as those you hold must dear remind you of how important you are to them and how you've added so much to their lives to make them into the beings they are today.
Take Care and Enjoy this Weekend!
SM, I'm going to have to stop reading your posts because I think of more points to add and end up spending more time at the computer than I want to!
You made an excellent point about documenting. The only comment I would add is never blog about any of these issues as blogs are public and documentation should be private.
When e-mails became a corporate method of communication, various issues were raised as to the obligation of employers to maintain e-mails. In addition, some folks have been caught in bad situations by their electronic activity and publicly embarrassed.
There are issues of discovery as well. If one of the neighbors actually did file a lawsuit and it was desirable to make public SPM's journal, she could. But given that there would be no public notice it existed, she would also have the right not to disclose it.
In addition, if it were on a blog, the nasty neighbors might find it and become aware of SPM's documentation.
Corporations and law firms document problematic employee behavior as well, in addition to double teaming when employees are counselled so that's not just one person's word.
SPM, you could use this approach if any of the neighbors confront you again. Indicate that you want your spouse to be present and halt any conversation until that happens.
You might also have a small pocket tape recorder that you can flip on before continuing the conversation. I don't know if it would be admissible in court; tape recorded phone conversations must be announced first but I'm unsure about face to face ones.
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