Drainage Solutions in Your Garden

Drainage Solutions to Avoid Runoff

Runoff sends yard chemicals and other toxins into storm drains and should be avoided if you want a Florida friendly landscape in your yard.  Drainage solutions can be as simple as installing a drain system, but the water must be sent into a safe direction.  Sometimes rock will do the trick.  Rock can send water down faster than grass and the trapped water that pools on top is sent up into vapor.

Here is a home in St. Petersburg with a wash out problem in the front yard and a drainage issue in the back. The client had a swimming pool put in, and the drains that were installed seem to wash out more of her backyard every time it rained. When I first looked at the front yard during my initial visit, I noticed the area by the curb had washed out. She informed me that it does flood some when it rains. I felt that a rock bed of some kind would be a solution to a flooding issue.  The problems in the front yard were much worse than she had described to me… when it rains, a river forms and flows through most of her front yard washing away everything in its path.

drainage solutions


As we began to install the front yard, we had a chance to see just what was going on ..and just how bad it could get. Three days in a row it rained on my crew as we frantically tried to keep the “river” from washing out the base materials. On the second rain day we watched in horror as the river kept raising higher and higher into the front yard.


drainage solutions


After that moment, we knew that there needed to be a plan modification to keep her investment from flowing down the street. The sheer velocity of the moving water was almost enough to take my feet out from under me as I tried to enter my truck.  We decided to upgrade the size of the rock to 2 – 4 inch river stones. River stones that size won’t move in the flow of the water, also the under layer was going to be crushed shell (which also doesn’t wash out).

In the back we inspected the flow patterns of the water and decided that a drain system was going to be needed to redirect the rain water to the large plants already existing in her back yard. This is what a Florida friendly landscape design is all about.

drainage solutions

Drainage Solutions for a Sloped Yard

Having a sloped yard can make the water move easier as in this case.  The water moves away from the house, but the drain pipe was cut short.  All we did here was to continue to move the water through pipe to the fence line, and let it empty where it would naturally.  We found a plant that would gladly take as much water as the rain could give at the end of the line.  Drainage solutions can be this easy, but not always!

installing a drain system

finished drain

Florida Friendly Landscape Design in St. Petersburg

Florida friendly landscaping is becoming more popular in neighborhoods all over St. Petersburg. Many elements of your existing yard could already be categorized as Florida friendly, and sometimes as in the drainage issue going on in this back yard, simply redirecting the water to large plants in the yard does the job of watering efficiently.

For more on the nine guidelines of Florida friendly landscape design, visit your local county extension office.