Water issues in the basement are generally caused by the large amount of roof water that comes flowing from the edge of the roof to the ground in a concentrated trench around the house. This large amount of water in a concentrated area makes it hard for any foundation to withstand the sudden burst of water attacking it and subsequently leaks into the basement. This is why gutters are so important; To control the roof water. But if you live in an area where gutters are almost not possible, or you are getting a large amount of water in the basement despite your gutters, then you need to install a home drainage system. This system will prevent water from entering your basement and keep the flow of water pitching away from the house.
A swale is a pitches area that goes between the house and the lawn area that has a dramatic dip in it to make the bottom of the dip significantly lower than the house. The swale is generally dug about 4 feet deep in the middle and 4 to 6 feet wide. The bottom of the swale has two to three rows of perforated drain tile to catch the water and funnel it down a specific path that prevents it from getting near the house. This also presents the opportunity to pitch the soil away from the house towards the middle of the swale. The bottom of the swale should be filled with 3/4 to 1 inch stone to slow the water that flows into down and prevent erosion of the soil.
If you are looking for something more decorative, you can build a few tears of walls that allow there to be a low point at least 12 feet from the house. The walls should be no more than 3 to 4 feet high to prevent too much hydrostatic pressure from the soil and installed wit filter fabric behind them to allow water through but not soil. These walls are best made out of heavy, natural stone such as outcroppings, boulders, or large cut wall rock. The bottom course is always buried to prevent movement of the wall outward at the bottom.
A spill way is a small area that catches almost all the water that comes from one side of the house. A spill way should be created in conjunction with a swale or teared wall if there is a significant slope past the home. This prevent soil erosion and land slides, which are common with sandy and silty soils, especially near lakes. The spill way is constructed of laying filter fabric down and dumping a combination of 6 to 12 inch rock as a base onto the spill way area, and covering this with a smaller stone of 2 to 3 inches to slow down the water that rapidly whips around the corner of a house.
Using these techniques will allow you to negate installing gutters on your home. Remember to always pitch the soil away from the house at least 1/4 inch per foot and direct it to a point where it can dissipate down a defined path way from the house.