How can I control and use the water that falls on my property?Runoff is created by water that doesn’t soak into the ground where it falls. This is more likely to happen when it falls onto concrete or stone surfaces. So:
1. If runoff is a big problem in your yard, get rid of some of the hard surfaces. Replace little-used patios and other slabs with soil, which will soak up much of the rainwater, and with plants and trees that absorb the water through their roots.
A tip: Choose native, drought-tolerant plants that need little or no watering. A lush, green yard might absorb more rain water than a stone patio, but it creates an equal problem: You’ll need to water it so much to keep it healthy that you can still send water onto the property next door.
2. Can’t do without your patio? Upgrade your concrete or stone patio and walkway to permeable pavers. Water can seep through the porous material the pavers are made from and through the spaces between each paver, which minimizes run-off.
3. Same for the driveway. For extra protection against runoff, consider using permeable pavers, which feature holes in each brick through which water can flow straight into the ground. Or replace your slab driveway with two tire-size strips, which is the only part of the driveway your car touches anyway. Leave soil in the center of the strips or cover it with decomposed granite so water can flow right through it. Another option: Add drains to driveways, sidewalks and other hard surfaces that can’t absorb water to prevent it from running off.
4. Keep the rain that hits your roof from spilling onto the ground. Install gutters with downspouts, and connect the downspouts to drains that carry the water into your yard several feet away from your foundation, and nowhere near your neighbor’s. Another idea: Invest in a couple of rain barrels to capture rain water from your downspouts so you can use it later to water your plants.
5. Install a heavy-duty plastic drainage system as part of your concrete pool deck, point the drains away from all houses, preferably towards landscape areas to aid in the irrigation of those areas.