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How Good Design Incorporates Drainage

While there’s a great deal of artistry that goes into great landscaping design, a great deal of the design process is spent accounting for proper drainage. Poor drainage can cause serious problems, not only in your landscape but in your house—and possibly your neighbour’s house, as well. Here’s what you need to know about drainage and how we account for it during the design process.

Why is Proper Drainage Important?

Every homeowner dreads the possibility of finding water in the basement. This common situation is usually the first stage in the costly process of addressing the problem. Often, something about the landscape is to blame for these issues. Here are a few of the reasons good drainage is essential for protecting your investment in your home:

  • Poor drainage can cause water to leak into your basement, leading to water damaged property, damaged drywall and flooring, and potentially dangerous mold problems.
  • If you need to remove water from your basement, the process can be even more messy, time-consuming, and costly.
  • If the drainage on your property is poor enough to cause water to flow into your neighbour’s basement, you could be liable for their damages. (Not to mention the damage to your neighbourly relationship!)

Drainage is so important, the City of Edmonton has outlined very clear, strict landscape bylaws that specify the standards your landscape grading must meet at all times—not just at the time you purchased your home. If you bought your home ten years ago and the landscaping was fresh at the time, keep in mind that the ground shifts year over year, causing the grading to change. This means landscaping will eventually be required again to correct emerging drainage issues.

How We Incorporate Drainage into Our Designs

At Salisbury, we know how important it is for your landscape to be graded appropriately to allow for proper drainage. Our first priority for each design is to ensure that your yard meets the City of Edmonton’s grading requirements. Here’s how we do it:

  • Whether your landscape is being renovated, or it’s part of an infill or a new build in a developing community, we first consider how we’re going to get water away from the house and into a designated area. We start considering this during the consultation phase.
  • All of our designers are well-versed in the City’s drainage regulations—there are a lot of them, so we’re very deliberate about keeping our knowledge current.
  • We look at how drainage will affect the functional areas of the yard and design features, like patios and walkways, so they aren’t in the way of water flow.
  • For new builds, the home builder is responsible for getting approval from the City for a “rough grade” on the property, and the landscape design is based on the approved grading plan.
  • We consider which materials and plants will work best for managing and controlling the flow of water on the property.
  • We base our placement of shrubs, trees, and perennials on each plant’s water needs, and how much water each one can handle.
  • We examine the flow pattern of water on the property and make decisions based on where we need the water to flow. For instance, some properties require extra walls, terraces, or materials to correct a potentially destructive flow pattern.

Do You Have Drainage Issues?

Drainage issues are one of the most common reasons people reach out to us for the first time. If this is you, we encourage you to get in touch. All properties are unique, so our approach allows us to find solutions for our customers on a case-by-case basis. Often, what begins as a concerning drainage issue leads to a fabulous re-design of the property that considerably improves the home’s curb appeal and overall property value!

Our team specializes in combining great design with proper drainage. We work proactively to ensure our work protects you from needing to repeat the landscaping process for many years to come. 


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