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Small yard, big dog, bad drainage. Advice needed.

Bee Alvey
3 years ago

I have two issues I am looking to resolve. I live on the side of a rather steep hill. At first I thought this was cool, but it has been a real thorn in my side in many ways. The front yard slopes down and from the back yard, you look up. In my back yard there is a 5 foot retaining wall about 4 feet from one corner of my house and out to 6-8 feet from the house at the other end. On the other side, is a wood fence about 6-8 feet from the house. My house makes an "L" and so does the use-able back yard. Above the retaining wall are two other terraces with steep pitches.

We have laid St Augustine down twice in the flat part of my backyard, but it only lasts a few years before my two dogs have all but destroyed it. There isn't much lawn there (remember that retaining wall is so close to the house on one side and a fence on the other) and they take off running every time I let them out. Not to mention, my greyhound is female and female dog urine is a grass killer.

I have decomposed granite in a courtyard on the front side of the house (inside of the "L") and I often let the dogs out there to do their business when the backyard is muddy. It seems to be great. Easy to clean dog poop, doesn't track inside much and drains well. I would like to use DG in my backyard as well; however, this brings me to my second issue.

Being on the side of a hill and having such a little use-able level backyard, I have drainage issues on that section where the retaining wall is close to the house. In fact, I have flooded twice inside my house, the second time after spending $5k on an outdoor drainage system. Most recently the drain boxes overflowed after 4'' of rain in a 24 hour period because it appears as if one of the pipes dipped and is not running downhill anymore. I had a plumber snake the drain and it was not clogged. This issue is hopefully getting fixed once and for all and a french drain is getting put in along the foundation as a secondary line of defense.

My question is, seeing as how sensitive this area is, is DG and rocks (bigger rocks around the drain boxes) going to make my drainage situation more manageable, the same, or worse since there's no roots and foliage to absorb water? Although, I will probably put some xeriscape in there.

Thanks in advance.

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