Are you wondering how to stop water runoff from your neighbor’s yard? Maybe from downpours or stormwater? If so, you’re not alone.
One of the most common issues among homeowners is what to do about water runoff from a neighbor’s yard. While it might be their responsibility to take care of the problem, it can often be difficult (and costly) to get them to do so.
Here are a few tips on blocking water drainage from a neighbor’s yard or handling it amicably before water damage becomes a significant issue.
- 7 Ways to Keep a Neighbor’s Runoff Water Out of Your Yard
- How to Stop Water Runoff From Neighbor’s Yard – FAQs
7 Ways to Keep a Neighbor’s Runoff Water Out of Your Yard
While it may seem like a minor issue, overwatering can lead to several problems, including soil erosion, flooding, and an increased risk of pests. So what can you do to keep your neighbor’s water where it belongs?
Let’s look at several of our favorite ways to remedy water runoff from a neighbor’s yard.
1. Talk to Your Neighbor
The first thing you should do is talk to your neighbor about the water runoff problem. Your neighbor may be unaware that they are causing flooding troubles for you. Once they are made aware of the problem, they may be willing to take steps to prevent it from happening.
The sooner you discuss the water runoff problem with your neighbor, the faster you can come to a solution. Maybe you can collaborate with your neighbors and work on installing rain gardens, French drains, and rain barrels around your homestead to help manage water. If you want things to go extra smoothly – offer to help pay for any water mitigation efforts required for their property.
2. Redirect the Water Runoff
If your neighbor is unwilling or unable to help prevent water runoff, you may consider installing a drainage system. Drainage systems help redirect the flow of water away from your home.
You also have other options for redirecting water runoff. Drains aren’t your only solution.
But first, it is vital to understand how water flows before trying to block it. The natural flow of water is always downhill, so if your yard is lower than your neighbor’s, they may inadvertently (and naturally) funnel water toward you.
Another thing you can do is try and grade your yard so that it slopes away from their property. Sloping will help reduce the amount of water that flows toward you.
You can also try and absorb the water before it has a chance to run off. You can try sponging the water with mulch or another ground cover.
Another thing you can do is create a barrier between their property and yours. We’ll explore that in more detail below.
3. Install a French Drain
One of the best ways to stop water runoff is to install a French drain. A French drain is a sloped trench filled with gravel or other drainage material. It could get placed at the base of your property line, between your yard and your neighbor’s yard. The trench allows water to flow freely away from your property, preventing it from pooling in your yard.
4. Build a Rain Garden or Berm
Another way to stop water runoff is to create a berm. A berm is an earthen mound or ridge built up along the edge of your property. Berm mounds act as a barrier, stopping water from flowing onto your property in the first place. You can build a berm using soil and some landscaping fabric. Or you can have one professionally installed.
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5. Grow More Trees
Trees and shrubs are great for natural drainage and can help to reduce water runoff. They can absorb rainfall and help to slow down the flow of water. When planting trees and shrubs, choose ones native to your area that are well-suited for the soil type in your yard.
Another option to help prevent water damage from water runoff is to install erosion control measures. Erosion control measures can include retaining walls, vegetation, and other barriers preventing excess water from flowing onto your property.
6. Build a Water Diversion
Water runoff from your neighbor’s yard can cause problems for your property, including flooding and soil erosion. One way to help reduce the impact of water runoff is to build a water diversion. You can learn more about how to do that here.
Water diversions can get created using various materials, including concrete, stone, and wood. The most critical factor in designing an effective water diversion is to make sure that it is sloped so that water will flow away from your property.
You will also need to ensure that the diversion is wide enough to handle the water amount you expect it to receive.
7. Landscaping a Yard That Floods
If you’ve tried building a water diversion and installing other barriers to prevent water from your neighbor’s lawn, your only other solution may be landscaping for flood-prone areas.
When it comes to landscaping a yard that is prone to flooding, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, choose plants, shrubs, and ornamentals tolerant of wet conditions. Evergreens are a good option, as their deep roots help to anchor the soil and prevent erosion.
In addition, it is vital to create a lawn that drains well. You can increase your yard’s drain ability by choosing grasses with deep root systems. And by aerating the soil regularly.
Finally, it is also essential to create an effective drainage system. As mentioned earlier, this may include installing French drains or underground pipes that carry water away from the house and into a dry well or retention pond.
How to Stop Water Runoff From Neighbor’s Yard – FAQs
Deciding what to do about water runoff from your neighbor’s land is stressful. Liability might come into question. And sometimes, there are no clear answers!
Nevertheless, we want to share our research into managing your neighbor’s water runoff. We hope these answers help you.
A combination of French drains, berms, rain barrels, or rain gardens will usually decrease the amount of rainwater flooding and backed-up water considerably.
We also love the idea of planting more trees in your yard! Trees are thirsty. Their roots suck up plenty of moisture and can help manage excess water in your yard. It’s also arguably the most natural and beneficial way to suck up moisture without digging or installing a dry well or deep trenches.
Yes! Rain barrels work surprisingly well at capturing and storing water. We love using rain barrels because they’re cheap to set up – and you can also reuse the water later.
If you’re interested to learn more about rain barrels, we published an excellent gutter and downspout drainage guide stuffed with tips on reusing rain barrel water and setting up an efficient water drainage system.
Most of us would like to think we have a good relationship with our neighbors. After all, we live close to them and see them regularly. We might even borrow a cup of sugar from them from time to time. But what happens when your neighbor does something that you don’t like?
For example, what if they drain water onto your property? Is that legal?
Sometimes. Yes! It depends on the circumstances. If your neighbor negligently drains water from their property onto yours, it’s probably not legal. However, if their yard directs water in a way that flows naturally, it might be within their rights per the natural flow rule. Either way, it’s best to talk to your neighbor about the situation before taking legal action.
Potentially. As a responsible and courteous homeowner, you may become responsible for the drainage of surface water on your property. Your responsibilities could include managing rainwater, snowmelt, and runoff from watering your lawn or garden.
However, the laws are different everywhere! For example – some locations follow the natural flow rule. The natural flow rule says that property owners from higher elevations are not liable for the natural flow of water, even if the water flows downwards and impacts a homeowner from a lower location. (We learned more about the natural flow rule by reading the MTAS website. They wrote an excellent drainage guide for homeowners article worth reading.)
The answer to this question depends on a few factors. The location of the two properties, the local laws, and the direction of naturally flowing water are three considerations.
In either case, it is always best to discuss the situation with your neighbor to come to a mutually agreed-upon solution. Only if your neighbor doesn’t cooperate would we recommend seeking legal counsel.
Water runoff from your neighbor’s yard can be a big problem. But there are some things you can do to prevent it from damaging your property.
By installing a French drain, creating a berm, or planting trees and shrubs, you can effectively prevent water runoff and keep your property safe and dry – and in most cases, without having to go head-to-head with your neighbors!
Do you have neighbor water dispute insights to share?
Or do you have questions about handling water pouring in from your neighbor’s yard?
If so – we’d love to hear them!
Thanks for reading.
And have a great day!