Howdy! Thanks for the pointer over here, @RHinCT . I’m still struggling to navigate this place.
Here’s the story. My neighborhood is hilly and built around what used to be a creek bed. The creek has been routed to underground pipes for at least 80 years, but the water still flows as it would like to flow. The much-increased rainfall in our area in the last couple of decades has affected the neighborhood overall and our yard specifically.
The neighborhood projects are massive, with the county looking to do several years worth of work to improve street drainage. This will (hopefully) prevent the four-foot-deep water that overtook parts of the neighborhood a year ago. Our house is above the low-lying areas and is unlikely to flood like that. But – we are on the slope, neither at highest nor lowest point.
It’s about a ten foot rise up to the house behind ours, about a five foot drop down on one side, and about a 15 foot drop down to the street. There are old retaining walls on those three sides. (The fourth side is level with our property.). The back and side retaining walls are failing – the back is bulging and clearly ready to collapse in the next few months. Perhaps worse, the side wall is sinking, leading the patio to sink and it’s starting to affect the slab that the family room sits on. No bueno.
So okay, I’m all in on keeping the back yard neighbors’ house out of our yard, and I don’t want our house to crack nor to slide onto the next-door neighbor. (She’s elderly and it would scare her cat.)
So far we have an initial estimate for the design and work. I’m really good at picking expensive materials, but even so it’s painful. $125k for just the hardscape stuff so far, and they need to redo the estimate to include pulling up all the patio pavers and relaying those, because we need drainage next to the house and to replace the gravel/sand/whatever it is under there that has washed away and is allowing water to come over the foundation during the heaviest rains.
I will say that this is not the first time I’ve done drainage work in the yard. When the neighbors behind us remodeled, we started getting a lot more water in the yard. When we had 13 inches of rain in 2 days back 15 years ago or so, I was wading in ankle-deep water in three places. There’s a rock waterway that now serves as the major drainage for that part of the yard. That doesn’t need to be redone and is still taking a lot of the water flow. Just not all of it anymore.
In the back yard, it’ll actually be two retaining walls and, unlike all the current walls, there will be formal drainage and water capture behind all of them. My goal is to build something that will last 50 years or so. DH thinks we should think shorter-term since he thinks we won’t live here more than another 5 years. Probably true… but then again he’s talking to the only person in the neighborhood who replaced the slate roof with more real slate so that it won’t have to be done for another 75 years.
Thought y’all might like to hear about it. I’ll come back and give updates as we go along. It’s supposed to take a long time so don’t hold your breath!