Septic tank maintenance

How to landscape around lateral lines

This article will cover how to landscape around lateral lines. Your septic system is an important component in your property that has to be maintained well. It treats your wastewater on a daily basis so you should cater to its needs. You have to regard its presence whenever you want to change something in your yard. Landscaping is one of the activities that homeowners are fond of doing to their lawns. In landscaping, you have to consider plants and structures for beautifying your property. When it comes to landscaping around your septic, you have to remember that there are many guidelines to consider. It would be bet to consult your landscape architect, septic expert, and arborist so that you can be sure of the system’s safety and optimal function.

Your septic system has a septic tank and a drain field. The septic tank is the one that collects wastewater and pre-treats it. The anaerobic bacteria in the tank break down the solid waste particles so that only a clear effluent enters the drain field. Here, the aerobic bacteria breakdown the leftover solid particles in the effluent. They also regulate the biomat that purifies the effluent before it returns to the surrounding environment. The drain field is always the part of the septic that needs to be regarded during landscaping. It has lateral lines that have perforations. These perforations are easy access points of root systems that you may be planting over or near your drain field.  If you want to have some landscaping around your lateral lines, you should remember the following pointers:

  • Do not plant vegetables in near your lateral lines. Remember that wastewater runs through the lateral lines. Your vegetables will surely access that water. Even if the wastewater here is already pre-treated, they still have to be purified. The vegetables just want to access as much nutrients as they can to survive. Your lateral lines have that supply and they will absorb that, making their flesh and pulp unsafe to eat. It would be better to plant carefully selected ornamental plants instead.
  • Study the tree type that you want for your property. Know how tall it is expected to be upon maturity. The expected height will tell you how far it should be from your lateral lines. There are trees that should be planted at least 50 to 100 feet away from the septic system. Some of them are the following:
    • Birch trees
    • Beech trees
    • Bamboo trees
    • Monterey pine trees
    • Pepper trees
    • Poplar trees
    • Walnut trees
    • Silver males trees
    • Red maples trees
    • Willow trees
  • Choose to have plants that you are familiar with when it comes to root growth range. If you are confident that your plant will not interfere with your lateral line system, you can go ahead and include them in your landscaping design. However, you should take note that roots tend to travel farther when a nutrient rich water source is close. Some plants that can be placed near your lateral lines are:
    • Cabbage tree
    • Aralia
    • Coprosma
    • Begonia
    • Canna lilies
    • Hebe
    • Flax
    • Fuscia
    • Kohuhu
    • Heketara
    • Pokaka
    • Rangiora
    • Lacebark
    • Manuka
    • Ribbonwood
    • Weeping mapou
    • Taro
  • Do not place landscaping structures over or near your lateral lines. These cause soil compaction that will damage the lateral lines components. The lateral line pipelines will have cracks and these will lead to leaks, backflows, and flooding.
  • Make sure to have the rain gutter drains and irrigation systems moved away from your lateral lines. This will make sure that the lateral lines will not be dealing with excess water load. Some landscaping structures such as fountains or birdbaths should be placed away from the lateral lines.

Work well with your septic expert, arborist, and landscape architect to make sure that your lateral lines will not be negatively affected by any landscaping design elements that you want to have. Knowing how to landscape around lateral lines will make your property both attractive and functional at the same time.

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