There is nothing more exciting than building your own home; however, drainage problems can quickly turn your drains into a nightmare for both you and your neighbors.

When looking at the site, take into consideration the elevation. Is it lower than the surrounding houses? Will using fill alter that drainage path? Are there steep slopes? What type of soil is there? These are some concerns that you need to discuss with your builder. What you do may affect many others and it’s good to remember the Golden Rule: "do unto others as you would want done unto you". Be considerate of your neighbors and think of how you may affect them.

It's important to remember that water does flow downhill. Some homeowners forget this little detail and will direct water onto a neighboring property. This spells trouble with the capital "T". The idea is to assist the natural flow across your lawn in the same direction as before you built. Landscaping mounds need special attention as they can alter the water flow to the different directions. Also, don't outlet your downspouts at the property line; instead let the water filter at least 25 feet over your property. There are many ways to handle roof run-off and you may need to do a little homework to find one that works for you, that won't affect the neighbors.

A little forethought can reduce or eliminate many of these potential drainage problems. With the amount of rain we have been experiencing lately, you may encounter drainage problems where you have never had them before (Mother Nature does have a sense of humor that way). But don't panic, there are solutions. Walk the drainage path; see if something has changed in the watershed. Also, talk with your neighbors. Most are willing to work together for a solution that is acceptable to all involved. As many homeowners know, there is nothing more frustrating than having a drainage problem caused by someone else, unfortunately you may take care of these kind of disputes, it's up to all of us to take responsibility for our actions and to be a good neighbor.

Reprinted with permission from Stark Soil and Water Conservation District.