Drainage and the path beside my bungalow

cruffJuly 5, 2013

Hi all. Next up on my 1922 bungalow to-do list is to do something about the passageway that runs along the west side of my house. I'd love your advice about what to do here. You can see from the picture (a pair of pics looking at the same path from the front and the back of the house) that the old concrete walkway is starting to crack and buckle.

For the first couple of years that I owned this house, the basement on this side was completely dry, but in this year's relentless rains, I've seen a little water infiltration in the laundry room that's underneath the dining room bump-out, which you can see in these pics. I'm sure it has to do with the deterioration of the concrete.

As you can just barely see in these pics, the house's side gable is over this path, as is the smaller side gable of the little dining room bump-out. On the plus side, the typical deep bungalow overhang means that rain does not come straight down the side of my walls. On the other hand, except at the back angle of the house, there are no gutters, so rain just sheds off that dining room gable. You can pretty much see by the pattern on the existing path which parts stay dry and which parts get rain. Also, my neighbor's house sits on higher ground than mine, so any water shed off his property inevitably goes to this side of my house. (This hasn't been a problem so far, but it's worth planning for.)

I'm thinking what I need when I put in a new pathway is concrete from the edge of the house sloping away towards some sort of drain system along the outer edge of the path to carry water out to the back yard where it can be diffused - under the dripline of the dining room gable and just inside my neighbor's fence - right? If so, what kind of drain setup would be practical to avoid clogging, avoid having standing water for mosquitoes, and have a surface that's easy to walk on and roll a bike or lawnmower over from the front of the house to the back? The path is so narrow between the dining room bumpout and the property line that I want to be sure I have as much walkable width as possible. It's not a high-traffic path, but it is the only passage from the front to the back yard, and it's the only level path that my mom can walk to get to the back yard without having to do steps into and out of the house, so a safe and non-challenging walking surface is important.

Thanks for any tips, ideas, or alternatives!

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perforated pipe in a trench with a slight pitch toward the back yard, covered with landscape cloth that can be penetrated by water, then covered with pea gravel, road base, or the like. right along the fence line. the rest of the concrete walk just break up and replace with new, but slope just slightly from the house (up side) out to the place where the pipe lies so water will run away from the house rather than pool and run down the sides of the foundation. you may need to do something like a French drain at the back where the water from the pipe will flow. if you don't like the look of regular concrete sidewalks you can get them molded or stamped to look like almost any surface, get them stained, imbed things in the concrete, etc. best wishes

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Thanks, egbar!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 8:38PM
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I'd break up the concrete walk and re-lay it as stepping stones so water can get past them.

And with the proper drain pipe as egbar suggested, move the water down into the soil and out away from that area.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 8:39AM
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Over on the landscape forum, the consensus seems to be that buried French drains just lead to silting in problems. They seem to suggest an open drain either with or without a removable covering grate. Perhaps a cross post would yield results.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 9:54AM
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Thanks, everybody. I will cross-post and check the landscape forum too.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 11:53AM
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