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Friday, July 17, 2015

And this Summer's (2015) project is....

Fixing our stormwater runoff problems and recreating the landscape

a short history of the
front face of the house
Last year we did a somewhat major remodel of the river house. It was supposed to be a simple bathroom remodel, but if you watch even a little HGTV you are likely familiar with what can happen once the walls are opened up. 

Our house was built in 1978 as a cabin on the river. In its nearly 40 years it has had many, many owners with many of them putting their own personal stamp on the property. It also spent an unknown number of years as a rental, with some of those years as a student rental. Some of the changes for the good and others not so good. 

The previous owner re-sided the house and garage in a lovely cedar and added a  false foundation, a decorative element that after only about six years was degrading and starting to fall off the house. Since we hired contractor to oversee the bathroom remodel and we were removing the exterior door into the bathroom and replacing more windows we decided to remove the false foundation and deal with the stormwater issues we were experiencing. 

We had already gone way over budget on the bathroom remodel and decided we would do the demo and the remodeling company would add insulation to the foundation and waterproofing, and re-side where needed. Removing the concrete blocks was a tremendous amount of work especially considering we also did the demo on the bathroom just several weeks before.

Then we had to have the discussion of do we rebuild the decorative element or go with a simpler option of adding the waterproofing elements and filling in with siding. The simpler option won for two reasons - 1. it was much cheaper, and 2. it was more compatible for this style of house. We were happy with the decision and really like the new look.

Now, on to fixing the stormwater issues this summer. Our problem is that with the very large, high pitch roofs of the house and garage there is very little space for the water to go in a heavy rainfall. The house and garage are less than six feet apart, the concrete sidewalk was about three feet wide with a foot and a half on either side - not much room for the water to go, so in heavy rain it would flood the garage. Additionally, that same owner had added a new entry with foyer just several feet from the back corner of the garage which essentially stopped any natural flow of water through the area. There was drain tile on either side of the sidewalk, but it didn't work.

A better water management system was developed and installed in June. The sidewalk was removed and the area dug down 3'-4' where larger drain tile and a catch basin were set into a deep layer of river rock to collect the rain water and send it to the back yard to a rain garden. On top of the river rock is a high quality landscape fabric which keeps the 4" layer of pea rock from settling into the larger rock. The sidewalk was installed on top of the pea rock with pervious pavers that allow water to flow more freely into the drain tile and on to a rain garden. Overkill? Perhaps, however no flooded garage last week with a 7 hour - 7" rainfall.