Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Problem Areas

Every garden has certain problem areas.  Those areas that are too shady, too clayey, too wet, have a bad view.  Learning to deal with these issues is one way a gardener can grow.  Or they can drive the gardener crazy. 

My problem area is right by the door my husband and I use, near the driveway.  You can see that this little corner is surrounded by hardscape on three sides.

What may not be obvious from this picture is that the garage roof and the breezeway roof (we call that little room between the house and the garage the breezeway.  It's small and drafty and we use it as a mud room/ plant room/ and now the new big aquarium is going to be set up there) where was I going before that aside?  Oh, yeah, the roof of the garage and the breezeway drains right there at the corner, the downspout spills into the little pocket garden between the garage and the stoop.  Not much ground to absorb water.

To make matters worse the front yard slopes toward the house.  Just a little slope but it does mean that all that roof water stays right where it lands.  During the winter it forms a nice layer of ice right there on the sidewalk.

Previously someone tried running the downspout by the chimney into a dry well.  That didn't work.  It caused foundation problems for the breezeway (one source of draft, now filled with expanded foam insulation).  

I'm still contemplating this problem.  I've thought about it for a while and I'm still not sure what to do.  I even asked a professional but his suggestion was to run the downspout down to a dry well by the chimney and we all know that didn't work.

I can hear that.  You, yes, you, you're thinking "what's the point of this post?  Just a chance to complain about this problem?"  Well, yes.  I just wanted a chance to complain about a problem I haven't yet solved.  And I suckered you into listening to me.  Thanks for listening.


  1. If water standing in that location isn't causing damage to your house, then how about a teeny rain garden? If the water is a problem, fill it with stones, find a nice-looking rain barrel to go there, and put potted plants aroungd it?

    Design problems are fun. :) Not that I have all that much experience coming up with practical solutions. . .

  2. Michelle, I think a teeny rain garden is probably the best idea. Of course that means breaking up the sidewalk and running a pipe from the downspout out into the yard (the pocket garden is too, too small to handle the rain).

    A rain barrel is an idea but I would have to be careful to empty it frequently. I'll have to think about that.

    Thanks for the ideas.

  3. Hi Diana! Breaking up your sidewalk sounds like a pain. If you go with the rain barrel, and if there is space on your driveway or sidewalk, you could possibly run the overflow hose into a birdbath or mini-water-garden pot. But from here it looks like there isn't that much room. Hmmm. . .

    What if you run the downspout right onto the sidewalk, and then build a rain garden on the other side of the sidewalk? You'll have a small torrent of water crossing the sidewalk when it rains, but more room to play with plants. :D

    That might not work in the winter, though, with the ice. . . (Sorry, I'm full of silly ideas today. . .)