Saturday, January 30, 2010

Correcting Water Drainage in Front Of Garage Doors (Post 2)

There is one other option that could be used to collect water in front of garage doors, although I do not consider it as effective because of the maintenance involved.  A channel drain could be installed across the front of the garage.  Although, in my professional opinion, I do not find this option as successful over the long run as I do installing the permeable brick pavers.  Let me explain why I feel this way. 

A channel drain can become clogged with leaves, dirt, and debris over time because it is directly open to the elements, whereas the pavers have a crushed drainage stone in the voids of the brick that allows water to quickly flow through, but filters out leaves, dirt, and debris out of the system.  The permeable pavers will also filter out toxins, heavy metals, brake dust, motor oils, pollutants, contaminants, etc.that would normally wash down your driveway, into the curb and gutters, and eventually into our waterways.

I do not have any pictures of drainage channel installed across the front of a garage, but I have installed it in between a concrete driveway and brick pavers to catch water that would normally cause a severe drainage/erosion problem.  In the picture that I have included with this post, we had approximately 1,500 square feet of concrete driveway draining downhill onto a newly installed brick paver walkway.  All rainwater and smow melt was captured by the drainage channel and approximately (4) years later we have not had any erosion or wash-out problems.  Although, you do have to caulk all of the seams with a flexible elastomeric caulk, otherwise rainwater will erode and undermine the area through the cracks.  You will also have to watch the flexible elastomeric caulk over time and re-caulk when needed.

The voids between the permeable brick pavers can become clogged over time.  Results of professional studies concerning permeable pavers are just starting to come in that show (depending on the site) that it takes approximately 5-6 years to clog the drainage voids of the permeable pavers.  When this happens, you take a shop-vac and sweep out the voids (and yes, you will sweep out the drainage rock, too), but the infill drainage rock is generally inexpensive to replace and this will re-establish the drainage ability of the permeable pavers.

Permeable pavers provide a practical and economical way to eliminate pollutants from waterways while reducing urban water waste.  Permeable pavers are considered a sustainable practice.

Correcting Water Drainage in Front Of Garage Doors

While doing my daily morning routine, which consists of drinking coffee to bring me out of that comatose state as well as working my way through 30-40 e-mails that I receive every night.  Saturday morning I came across a video (wich can be seen on our Facebook page) on that explained a situation with a driveway that was higher than the garage floor.  Because the driveway was higher, it created a problem where water was frequently pooling in front of the garage door.  This allowed water to flow into the garage instead of away from it, as well as it was rotting the garage door, surrounding trim, and the siding.  This is an all too common problem with older homes and we see it frequently.  This problem usually occurs because the driveway has been repaved once or twice over the years and this raises the level of the driveway in comparison to the garage floor.

In this video, they marked a straight line in front of the garage door approximately 3' out from the garage.  They cut the asphalt driveway with a cut-off saw and removed the asphalt and disposed of it.  The gravel base underneath the asphalt driveway was sufficient enough to allow them the install concrete brick pavers right over the existing gravel without any changes to the sub-base.  I liked the concept of what they were doing as an economical fix to this specific drainage situation, but I did not like the idea that the water was allowed to drain and stay right at the foundation of the garage.  We would never allow water to drain like this around the foundation of the home, why would we do it in front of the garage.

If homeowners have this problem, which many do with older homes in the city.  I would rather see the homeowner install permeable pavers which allows the rainwater to drain extremely fast.  I would also like to see them excavate the area and install clean, crushed drainage rock underneath the pavers and install perforated (perforated means with holes) SDR-35 Sewer Pipe to remove the water from the affected drainage area.  Although, I must also point out that this water must be removed to somewhere away from the foundation of the garage.  This water could be drained away from the garage to a rain garden, a slope graded away from the garage, or any number of better choices.

Because our mid-Michigan soils contain so much clay content, which does not provide any drainage.  It is always good to err on the side of caution and install it correctly.  This will also add value to your property, especially if you are looking to sell your home in the future.  I would also reccomend that during this drainage correction installation that some sort of filter fabric be installed underneath the pipe and drainage stone, this will keep any movement of small soil particles from washing into the system and help keep the drainage stone clean.  I would also recommend installing a layer of geogrid within the stone base to assist with the structure of the stone underneath the pavers.

If you are experiencing these sort of problems with drainage in front of your garage or near your house, I would like to point out that Landscape Labor Solutions would love to assist you with exploring options to correct your drainage situation.  We invite you to check out our Drainage & Grading Solutions webpage at  Our talented and skilled landscape laborers have extensive experience in dealing with this sort of drainage challenges.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drainage...Are You Ready For The Spring Thaw?

Mid-Michigan has just experienced it's first mild thaw.  On the evening of Monday, January 26th I noticed that the local T.V. stations were reporting Flood Watches.  The brief thaw that we experienced late last week and through the weekend was filling up the drainage ditches, streams, lakes, rivers, wetlands, etc., causing potential difficulties for people living in flood-prone areas.  We urge you to watch your property and note where you may find problems with water.

Landscape Labor Solutions offers many drainage solutions to help clients manage or solve their drainage challenges.  Possible remedies can be as simple as spreading topsoil around the foundation of the house or building; or adding pipe extensions to downspouts to move the downspout discharge away from the foundation of the house. 

Sometimes more elaborate systems are required.  Landscape Labor Solutions is always more than happy to look at your specific problems and see if we can provide you with a solution(s) to help you with your drainage challenges.  Call (517) 646-8990 to schedule your drainage consultation.  We travel all over mid-Michigan to assist people with their drainage problems.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Installing a Brick Paver Patio (Part 4)

Lets start out by recapping nailing in the spikes for the edging.  As a company rule, we install a spike, skip (2) holes, and then install another spike.  If we are edging really tight curves, then we spike every other hole.  After you have installed the edging, we take and shovel dirt over and against the brick edging.  We then take the plate compactor and tamp the soil around the outside of the patio.  This provides two things.  First, it must be done so that as it rains we are less likely to have washout.  Second, this helps in allowing no movement in the brick pavers.

Next, we take bags of polymeric sand and dump them out on the patio.  We take a broom and very lightly broom the sand all over the patio.  You want the loose polymeric sand to be about 1/4" deep and do not worry about sweeping the polymeric sand into the joints.  A 1/4" of loose sand allows the plate compactor to glide over the patio causing less damage to the brick pavers.  You will need to compact the entire patio in (3) different directions.

Compacting the patio levels the paver stones into the bedding layer of 2NS Sand and allows sand to vibrate up through the bottom of the joints.  This sets the pavers in place and makes for a tight patio.  The polymeric sand will lessen the likelihood of ants and weeds.  But we do not guarantee that it will take care of it all together, but it does help.  Once the patio has been compacted properly, you will broom off all polymeric sand from the brick.  Take your time and also make sure you even clean out the chamfer joints (beveled joints between the brick pavers), this makes for a more professional installation.  You probably will broom off the patio 2-3 times before you have it clean enough.

You may even want to blow it lightly with a leaf blower.  Lastly, you will take and lightly spray down the patio with a garden hose.  It is important not to let the water puddle on the pavers or more importantly in the paver joints.  Let the patio dry for approximately 30 minutes to an hour.  Lightly sprinkle the patio with water again not allowing it to pool with water.  Repeat this process one more time.  You have completed your brick paver patio installation.  While the patio is drying, we usually use this time to do our clean-up around the edge.