A dump in your backyard may look grotesque, but ditches play the significant role of channeling water away from your yard to prevent flooding. Water can gradually carve a drainage ditch, but a few home builders dig ditches to enhance drainage away from the house. You can’t simply back-fill the dump with soil because this could lead to flooding in your and your neighbors’ yards. You can fill in the dump using perforated pipe and gravel to create a French drain that directs water flow away from your house to a lower stage in your yard or a small drainage pond.

Dig the dump so it is at least 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep to allow enough space for water to drain and collect. Supply a 1/2- to- 1-percent slope in the dump so water flows downhill; in other words, the dump must fall 1/2- to- 1-foot in elevation for each 100 feet of dump span. Expand the dump, if needed, so that it ends at a location that is downhill from your residence. If depositing the water downhill means you would flood your neighbor’s lawn, you can dig a small retention pond to hold the water while it gradually drains into the soil.

Line the bottom of the dump using permeable landscaping fabric or geotextile fabric that prevents soil from clogging the pipe but nevertheless allows water to seep through into the soil. Never use plastic grass barriers because this disrupts the ability for water to drain into the soil.

Scatter 4 inches of clean 1/2- to- 1-inch gravel evenly across the bottom of the dump. Avoid using crushed rock, particularly limestone, which can become hard like cement after getting wet, limiting the flow of water through the dump.

Put 4-inch plastic perforated pipe, also known as drainage tile, in the bottom of the dump. Depending on the type of pipe you use, you simply push two ends together to connect two pieces or they attach using a coupling.

Cover the end of the perforated pipe, in which the pipe deposits at the base of a hill or in a retention pond, with wire mesh hardware cloth to stop debris and tiny animals from getting into the pipe.

Cover the drainage tile using permeable landscaping fabric so the small perforations don’t get clogged with mud. Cut the landscaping fabric about 8 inches broader than the drainage tile to permit several inches of overlap into the gravel.

Fill in the dump with gravel across the perforated pipe up to the trench edge. Rake the gravel smooth using a bow rake. Mix the gravel with river stones, if desired, to give the filled dump of a dry stream look. If you would prefer not to abandon the gravel exposed, then you can fill the dump to within 4 inches of the border, then add 4 inches of coarse sand above the gravel and seed the area with grass seed that thrives in sandy soil.

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