How to Solve Your Yard Drainage Issues

If you’re like most homeowners, you love your yard and want to keep it looking its best.

However, even with your best efforts at landscaping and upkeep, you may still face the problem of excess water in your yard. This can not only be an eyesore, but it can also cause damage to your landscaping and even your home’s foundation.

Fortunately, there are solutions that can help to solve your yard drainage issues (and no, you don’t need to start building an ark quite yet!).

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most effective methods for dealing with excess water in your yard.

What Causes Yard Drainage Issues?

Do you have standing water in your yard long after a rainstorm? Or do you notice that your lawn seems to be drowning as if it’s in a swamp? If so, it sounds like you’re having a drainage problem. Several factors can cause this issue.

The most common is due to soil compaction. When water falls onto a compacted surface, it has nowhere to go but into the lower areas of that surface. The water ends up pooling and staying on your lawn, making it soggy and muddy.

Runoff could also be an issue. If your neighbor’s property is either higher than yours or slopes in your direction, the rainwater will run to your yard. Lowering the soil level on your side will help, but this is not always practical.

Similarly, during a heavy rainstorm, street drainage can get overwhelmed, and the excess water will end up on your landscape.

And if your gutter system overflows, it can create a concentration of water over low areas where surface water gathers.

Finally, due to natural soil settling, you may end up with a sunken area in your landscape. These areas can be excavated, and new soil can be added to make it level again.

How Can I Improve Poor Yard Drainage?

Do you feel like your yard is flooded every time it rains? Does your basement flood or your lawn turn into a bog?

If the answer is yes, then you have poor yard drainage. But don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many homeowners face this problem, and there are solutions to fix it.

Here are some of our best tips.

1. Extend Your Downspout

Your downspout is responsible for directing water from your roof away from your home. But if it’s not positioned correctly, it can cause water to pool around the foundation of your home, leading to leaks and water damage.

By extending your downspout, you can direct water further away from your home, preventing water buildup around your foundation. Ideally, you should extend the downspout at least five feet from the foundation, or even further if you live in an area with heavy rainfall.

2. Come Up With a Good Drainage Plan and Map

Having a drainage plan is essential if you want to improve your yard’s drainage. A good plan should show how water flows through your yard and where it’s pooling. To come up with a good plan, you should first identify the low points of your yard where water tends to accumulate.

Once you’ve identified those areas, you can create a map of your yard that shows where the water flows and where you want it to go. A good drainage plan will help you determine the best solutions to your yard’s drainage problems.

3. Construct a Creek Bed to Channel Water Away

A creek bed is a great way to channel water away from your home. It looks great in any yard and can be designed to blend in with your landscaping. A creek bed is constructed by digging a shallow trench and lining it with rocks and plantings. The rocks help slow down the water to prevent erosion, while the plantings absorb excess water.

Creating a creek bed is a great option if you have a sloping yard, as it allows you to direct water downhill and away from your home.

4. Build a Rain Garden

A rain garden is a low-lying area in your yard that’s designed to capture runoff from storms, infiltrate it, and be absorbed into the ground. A landscaper can help you choose native plants that are ideal for your garden and design the garden so that it enhances your outdoor space beautifully.

5. Add Underground Drainage Pipes

Underground drainage systems are highly effective at moving water away from your home. Again, a landscaper can excavate your yard where the underground pipes will be installed and lay them in a desired position to divert any excess water away.

6. Install a French Drain

What is a French drain, and how does it work? A French drain is essentially just a perforated pipe that is set in a trench filled with gravel. This helps to move excess water away from your home and into an area where it can infiltrate the soil.

This solution is particularly useful in areas with heavy rainfall, where water tends to accumulate on the surface. French drains are durable, easy to maintain, and they don’t require any electricity or special equipment to function correctly.

That said, it’s important to note that installing a French drain is not a DIY project. It requires some experience and technical expertise to be done correctly.  A trained professional landscaper can assess your property’s specific drainage needs and design a customized solution that meets your needs. They can also ensure that all local codes and regulations are met, so you won’t have to worry about any legal issues.

Before installing a French drain, it’s also a good idea to take some preventative measures to improve your yard’s drainage. Simple steps like removing debris and excess mulch, adding a layer of gravel to low spots, or regrading your landscape can make a big difference in preventing water accumulation.

7. Build a Dry Well

A dry well is simply a pit filled with stones or gravel that is designed to collect water and allow it to percolate back into the soil slowly. This can help relieve your yard of excess water, especially if your yard is located in a low-lying area, and it gets saturated with water after a heavy rain.

Building a dry well is simple, and it can be a fun DIY project to tackle – but it’s also something a landscaper will be happy to help with.

8. Aerate Your Lawn

Aerating your lawn is an effective technique for improving water drainage.

Lawn aeration involves making small holes in the ground and removing soil plugs to enable water and other nutrients to penetrate deeply into the soil. This process reduces soil compaction and allows water to flow freely through the soil.

If your lawn has been under a lot of stress, it might be smart to hire a professional landscaper who can aerate your lawn correctly and recommend the right species of grass to plant.

9. Build Up Low Spots

Low areas in your yard could be causing poor drainage, particularly if the slope of the area causes water to flow towards a certain point.

Adding soil or topsoil to these areas can help them drain better. This process involves using a type of soil called fill dirt, which is a mixture of soil, sand, and rocks.

Landscapers often use fill dirt to create raised beds or to level out low-lying areas. This technique is an effective way to create a gentle slope that pushes water away from the foundation of your home.

10. Create a Swale

A swale is basically a gentle, shallow ditch that directs water away from your home and lawn to a drainage area. It’s an excellent solution for a variety of drainage problems, from pooling water to erosion. Swales are easy to create and can be made with hand tools or by hiring a professional.

Simply dig a shallow trench along the area that needs drainage (it doesn’t have to be straight – a curved swale can be more aesthetically pleasing) and then layer it with rocks or pebbles. You can then cover it with soil and grass seed. This will create a channel for water to flow through and prevent it from pooling in your yard.

11. Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts

Clogged gutters and downspouts are common culprits of poor drainage. If your gutters or downspouts are clogged with debris, water will overflow and pool around your home’s foundation or in your yard. This can lead to costly damage to your home and plants.

Make sure to clean your gutters and downspouts regularly to ensure they are free of debris. Consider installing gutter guards to prevent leaves and other debris from clogging your gutters.

12. Plant Water-Loving Trees, Shrubs, and Perennials

If your yard has poor drainage or is prone to flooding, planting water-loving trees, shrubs, and perennials can help soak up excess water and improve drainage.

Examples include bald cypress, willows, birches, dogwoods, and ferns. These plants can also add visual interest to your landscaping while helping to prevent drainage problems.

13. Address the Wrong Slope or Pitch

One of the most common causes of poor drainage is a yard that’s improperly sloped or pitched. Essentially, this means that water is flowing in the wrong direction, and ends up pooling in certain areas rather than being diverted away from the home.

A landscaper will come out and assess the slope of your yard, and can make recommendations for the right type of grading that will move water in the right direction. This could involve creating a long, shallow swale or culvert, or installing a French drain system.

14. Consider Your Watering Habits

If you’re over-watering certain sections of your yard, or watering during periods of heavy rain, this can cause the ground to become oversaturated, and can contribute to the buildup of standing water.

15. Add More Dirt (In Some Cases)

If you have just a few shallow areas that consistently collect water, adding dirt can help to level out the ground and provide better drainage.

Of course, it’s important to note that adding dirt to your whole yard is not necessarily recommended, as this can throw off the overall grading and make drainage worse. But in targeted cases, filling in these low spots can be an effective method for improving water flow.

16. Remove Large Rocks

Finally, it’s worth considering whether there are any large rocks or boulders in your yard that could be affecting drainage patterns.

This could be as simple as removing a heavy rock that’s blocking water from flowing freely, or could involve taking out a larger boulder that’s causing water to pool around its base. A landscaper can help you identify any potential issues related to landscaping elements, and suggest solutions for improving water flow.

17. Call in Reinforcements

With the help of a professional landscaper, you can address poor yard drainage and create an environment that’s healthier for your plants and better for the long-term longevity of your home.

Whether you need to re-grade your entire yard or make minor tweaks based on your watering habits, a landscaper can help you achieve the right balance.

Why is it Necessary to Improve Drainage on Your Lawn?

Proper drainage is essential to maintain a healthy lawn free from waterlogging and erosion. But why does that matter?

Erosion is a natural process that occurs when water flows too quickly and carries away soil particles. This can cause your lawn to appear patchy and lifeless. By improving drainage on your lawn, you can prevent erosion and help maintain the appearance of your lawn. The water will seep into the soil in a slow and controlled manner, instead of running off quickly.

Plus, excessive standing water and puddles on your lawn are not only unsightly but can also be dangerous as they harbor diseases and pests.

Poor drainage can result in standing water, which will make it impossible for the root systems of your grass to get enough oxygen and vital nutrients. A well-drained lawn ensures that water penetrates the soil effortlessly, eliminating the need for puddles.

Next, water accumulation on your lawn means that water will be flowing toward your house. This increases the risk of water seeping into your foundation and causing damage. A damaged foundation can be costly and a major headache. Good drainage will ensure that rainwater is quickly removed from the foundation of your home, reducing the risk of damage.

And remember – just like any other plant, grass needs water, but too much water, and you’ll be dealing with root suffocation. With proper drainage, your lawn will get enough water and benefit from the nutrients diluted in the water.

It also improves the aeration and porosity of the soil, enabling nutrients and oxygen to be supplied to the roots. At the end of the day, better plant growth and a healthier-looking lawn can help boost curb appeal and increase your property values – who doesn’t want that?

Need Help Improving Your Yard Drainage?

Don’t let improper yard drainage be the cause of costly damage and a yard that’s just unpleasant.

C&B Property Maintenance can help you identify and remedy your drainage issues. With our experienced and dedicated team of professionals, we guarantee our installation will give you the best outcome for your yard.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and avoid all that mud and muck in the future!