Client Testimonial – French Drain and Spring Boxes Solve Mysterious Waterlogged Conditions in Back Yard

In the spring of 2014, we discovered an unusual problem in the back yard of our home of over 10 years in Arlington. Out of the blue, the yard became very wet and stayed that way for over a month. This issue could not be explained by winter snow melt or rain. Len was one of 3 or 4 people that came to look at the property. Len noted that it was still early in the spring and could be due to a higher water table considering the slopes of our neighbor’s lots behind ours and the fact that there is a small shallow spring box at one side of the yard. Len felt that ground water could be surfacing at the base of the slopes and an old French drain system at the back fence line was clogged and no longer functioning so water was just sitting on top of dense clay soils. He suggested waiting a while to see of the problem subsided.

Several months later I contacted Len again because the problem had actually gotten FAR worse with the yard virtually turning into a swamp. Len re-visited and was astonished at the volume of water across the yard. I had identified water flowing from areas of both neighbors lots and we opened and investigated public storm drain inlets on the side of the yard. Given that this had never happened before, Len speculated it might not be due to natural conditions and could be due to a broken water main in the street behind us, which is on higher ground. Len suggested contacting the local water authority to test for a broken main. The county tested the water in the yard for chlorine and conducted a sonic test to determine if there was a broken main under any of the surrounding streets – they concluded the water was coming from natural sources. Subsequent contact with the Arlington County Storm Water division, their inspection and records research revealed that inactive springs around the county had suddenly re-activated during this year and in fact, historical records indicated a historic spring at our location.

With this information, Len then developed a plan for a new network of French Drains in three rows as well as modified spring boxes to drain the site. The overall design included work in the neighbor’s yards as well, which directed water off of their property into the system on our property. Len also suggested re-aligning the drain from the existing spring box to free space for a future patio and dewater areas close to the house, which was causing problems with our basement stair well wall.

As mentioned above, we had several people come and look at the property, and got a wide range of opinions, but Len was far and away the most impressive. Only Len put on his boots and walked the muddy property, stuck his head down inside the storm drains, etc.; the other consultants stayed on the deck where it was nice and dry and offered predictable, poorly thought suggestions like “you need French drains”. Only Len took our problem seriously, and invested the time to truly understand the issues – he took an intellectual curiosity in solving the problem, which we really appreciated.

We contracted with JJBY to install the system and a large crew came in, working in the very muddy conditions, to trench for the drains with Len staying to supervise much of the work and make adjustments where required. Len estimated that well over a thousand gallons a day was flowing thru the trenches which was then piped with the new system. The result was amazing. Within two days of completion, the yard area, TOTALLY torn up, was completely dry and JJBY then re-graded and installed sod throughout. We had our yard back and were delighted. Thanks to this, we could now move forward to remove an old ground level deck and construct a new patio; which Len also designed. His creative design included a beautiful curved edge, a great stacked stone sitting wall, spaces for a grill, fire pit and table and chairs. Working with a reasonable budget, we engaged JJBY for this installation as well as rebuilding a failing stair well wall.

In the spring of 2015, we engaged Len and JJBY for a third project which consisted of landscaping design for the back and front yards, and a new front walk and covering of the old concrete stoop in the front of the house. Throughout this whole process, Len has been available for questions and offering advice and alternatives and coordinating JJBY’s installations.

Jose and his crews have been a delight to work with, attentive to detail and ensuring the installation per plans. When we later contacted them about repairing some failed paving joints, cleaning and sealing the patio, a problem came up and Jose returned several times until they corrected the condition. Now, we and our children have a great, dry place to spend time, play, eat and entertain and are very pleased with the results. Len and Jose have been diligent to see that all was accomplished properly and we would recommend them without hesitation.

– Scott & Courtney H., Arlington, Virginia