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In these current times, drainage seems to be a large problem because of the way that subdivisions are thrown together so quickly and the land is so drastically changed. We receive many calls concerning drainage problems and there aren't a lot of people out there that are doing it correctly. Just adding a drainpipe to a downspout is not drainage work. In this particular job a previous client Bill Elke had called to get his erosion problems taken care of. First, we scheduled an appointment to go out and talk with my client and find out what the problems were. He had several erosion problems happening. Soil was washing away under his deck, his yard was washing away to the lower yard, and when the creek was rising it was washing the yard away. Creating Stabililty Under the Deck Project Details Supplies: Thirty-five 6- by 6-inch timbers, one box of timber nails, 7 yards of soil, and six bails of pine straw Tools: A chain saw, hammers and shovels Labor: Six men The Elkes' house is situated on a large hill. Every rain storm that came through the area, Elke was slowly losing ground on the main supports of the deck. The soil erosion needed to be curbed before it undermined the structure and brought it crashing down. First we had to figure out what to do to solve the problem of losing this ground around the deck supports. Just adding more soil was not going to fix this problem. The best solution to prevent further erosion was to install a retaining wall. The wall would have to be constructed the right way. We pride ourselves in doing the job right the first time. Building a wall properly that would prevent further erosion usually is more costly in the initial stage, but the customer is satisfied knowing they won't have anymore problems. From the base of the deck supports we went down about 6 feet and started construction of the retaining wall. As with any retaining wall, dead-man timbers would be added. Dead-man timbers are installed into the ground, opposite of the wall. Installation of the timbers will hold the soil above the wall, giving more support to the deck. Once the timbers are installed, the area is backfilled with soil to give them stability. Next, we put pine straw around the base of the deck supports to help prevent future erosion. This portion of the project was completed in about 6 hours. The key to the rapid completion of the project was due to having the correct amount of labor on the job and ordering the supplies early so they were delivered prior to start date. Ironically while we were finishing the job a storm was coming and we desperately wanted to finish so we would not lose any dirt and create a mess. Since the job has been completed the customer has commented on how the plants under the deck around the base of the house are growing and are very healthy. Saving the Backyard Hill Project Details Supplies: Sixteen tons of creek rock, three rolls of landscape fiber 4 feet wide by 100 feet long, and one box of sod staples Tools: A shovel and a wheelbarrow Labor: Three men The erosion on the Elkes' hill located directly at the end of the driveway was washing soil and plants down from the hill and onto the lower yard. Our first action was to figure out a way to divert the water down the hill to the main neighborhood drain. We decided to create a V-shaped path to redirect the water flow away from the hill. To do this, we used 2 existing 12-inch drain boxes that were connected to two 4-inch pipes running down either side of the path we created. These items were previously installed in order to solve the problem but they could not do the job alone. First we dug out the path that we wanted the water to take, transporting the soil down to the creek where we would be working next. Next we built up the soil right behind the drains but still at the top of the hill. This was done so that when it started to rain the water would first fill the drains and start flowing off to the sides. Then the excess water would flow over the built up area that would eventually be filled with fiber and creek rock. This would help soften the flow of water. Where we had dug out the V-shaped path, we installed landscape fiber in the path and tacked it down with sod staples. Next we laid the 16 tons of creek rock one by one for stabilization down the V path. This directed the water from the driveway, to the drain boxes and up over the creek rock before running down to the neighborhood drains that flow to the natural creek. When it is not raining the Elkes have a nice dry creek. Because we used creek rock, the area is very natural and appealing to the eye. Rising Creek Waters Project Details Supplies: Twelve tons of surge rock Tools: Shovels, soil packer, and a wheelbarrow Labor: Three men Finally, the last problem was the loss of the lower backyard to erosion when the water flow in the creek would peak. In this situation, we packed down all the soil where the creek's edge met with the yard, making sure there were no air pockets. This was done in order to make a stable foundation for the rock that we were going to lay. With the soil properly prepared, we installed 12 tons of surge rock from the yard line all the way down to the creek. We had to make sure the rocks fit tightly together so there were no pockets. The presence of pockets offer a place for water to penetrate and allows erosion to begin. Since the job has been completed, ferns and other natural plants have grown on the rocks, which also help to minimize the erosion. By solving all three drainage problems we managed to stop all current erosion problems the owners were facing. Sometimes people want to plant bushes and flowers before they have taken care of the bigger problems like drainage and erosion. Now the yard is very natural and pleasing to the eyes. As the owner of Nestor's Sprinklers and Lighting, Vincent Nestor has been in the lawn maintenance, landscaping, sprinkler, and lighting business for about 22 years. The company is located in Alpharetta, Ga. and can be contacted at (770) 410-9356 or at

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October 17, 2019, 6:45 am PDT

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