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No more winter flooding in this back yard.

Water, water everywhere was the unpleasant sight that greeted Elaine and Ralph Giuffre whenever it rained. Their rear garden lies downhill from a neighboring house, and runoff turned their lawn into a perpetual bog in winter. It's a problem that faces many homeowners with hillside lots.

The couple asked San Francisco landscape architect Emery Rogers to find a means of moving the invasive water away from the lawn and out to the street. His solution: stop most of the water before it reached the lawn. But to do that, he had to build a long French drain between the hill and lawn, then run the line down one side of the house to the street.

This style of drain is a trench up to 2 feet wide and 4 feet deep, with 4-inch perforated pipe running along the bottom. Gravel or decorative stones fill the trench to ground level. The idea is for water to move quickly down to the pipe and be carried away before it has a chance to enter the adjacent soil. To keep dirt from clogging the drain, Rogers used a fiberglass cloth soil separator over the pipe.

Close to the hillside, rogers added a rtaining wall and brick planters to make a level site for the drain. Beneath the steps between the planters, one surface-mounted drain ties into the main line. For additional protection, he ringed the lawn with a shallow concrete trough that leads into the main drain. Bricks cover the trough, but openings between the bricks allow water to reach it.
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Date:Nov 1, 1984
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