Bad Solutions to Water and Shade Problems

There is talk about building a drain again in back of the houses. This drain would cost around $8000 and would not solve any problems. I am probably the only one who will actually stand out in the rain and watch the drainage and soak away characteristics and I see how it really works.

The problem is that the decks, board fences, houses and vegetation creates shade, enough shade that grass won’t grow.  In a heavy rain the water running off the rooftops can cause erosion.  The culprit is the lack of vegetation, not the water. 

Although grass won’t grow, lots of other things will. A couple years ago I planted some lily turf.   It cost me nothing, since I took the shoots from the front of the house. The only improvement that I had to make was to put in some timbers to stop the water in the short term.  I also knocked down the board fence at the end of our house, letting in more light.

Look at the pictures.  I took them from my deck today after a few hours of rain.  Notice how the mud starts exactly where the planting stops. If the problem was water or sunlight, it would not be like that. My plantation not only greened up my space; it also slows erosion up and downstream by slowing or stopping the water flow. Things will grow back there, just not grass.

The drains would not work because they address the wrong problem.  Beyond that, it would make everything worse by quickening runoff.  It is exactly what we don’t want to do to our local streams and Chesapeake Bay. So we would be spending $8000 to help break down stream beds downstream and ultimately dump more silt and pollution into Chesapeake Bay.

I am afraid such backward activities are common when we make collective decisions.