As a contractor or home builder, you might think of your job as solely involving the structure you’re building for a client. However, poor drainage and erosion problems are also your concern as long as you’re responsible for preparing the site. Mistakes made during grading, or site issues that can’t be fixed by moving soil around, can damage the home before it’s even occupied.
There’s no need for unusual equipment and specialty devices just to keep water flowing smoothly and safely downstream. Consider these five crushed stone improvements that are best installed during site preparation but that can also be installed at any point after a home is built.
1. Dry Creeks
Building a dry creek, which is basically a drainage ditch that is dressed up with a covering of beautiful river stones and pebbles, gives the homeowner a natural-looking water feature while improving drainage. The creek only flows when it’s raining, but the rest of the time, it’s still an attractive addition to a yard.
Look where water is already carving a path to figure out the placement for a dry creek. Curves not only look more natural than straight lines, but they also slow down the flow of water and prevent erosion. Try a pre-mixed set of creek stones to get the large accent rocks and tiny pebbles you need all at once.
2. Dry Wells
While a dry creek may carry water away without allowing it to erode soil or wash away grass, that water still ends up puddling at the lowest point. Unless you’ve got a storm drain or pond to connect the creek to, you’ll need a buried dry well to allow the water to slowly seep back into the ground.
Dry wells are small plastic or metal containers that are buried in a hole filled with gravel or crushed stone. The top connects to either a drain on the surface of the yard or directly to a water source, like the downspout coming off of your gutters. You can also bury a dry well in the lowest point of a property and prevent puddles that saturate and kill grass.
3. Porous Driveways
Paved driveways are very popular, but they also create a lot of drainage issues without careful planning and grading. Gravel and crushed stone driveways are still the best options for porosity so that water can flow into the ground beneath instead of puddling on top or running off and flooding the yard.
However, fitting together flagstones and other flat paver stones can create a paved surface that is still porous. Using a fill sand with larger grains allows for enough air space between the particles to let water drain rapidly rather than gathering on the surface and creating a slip hazard.
4. French Drains
Drainage around the foundation of a newly built structure is definitely a contractor’s concern since wet soil settles and can cause structural damage at any point. Installing French drains, large gravel-filled trenches laid with perforated pipe that gather and disperse water slowly, is very easy during initial construction and very hard to do later.
French drains make a great selling point, especially to homeowners moving out of a home with a damaged foundation or wet basement.
5. Slope Covers
Finally, don’t forget about stabilizing any inevitable slopes with a layer of various sized rocks. Smooth river rocks are often used for aesthetic reasons, but rough-edged natural stone chunks offer better roll resistance and can also look great when paired with pockets of plants that can handle life on a slope. Scattered plants on a sloped hill also go a long way in preventing erosion by establishing a root mat.
Looking for the best landscaping stone products for these site improvements and more? Everything you need is available here at Bourget Bros. Building Materials.