Making Smarter Landscaping Choices

Water, Water Everywhere -- 4 Ways To Fix Your Flooded Yard

With winter approaching, some homeowners find themselves battling a recurring problem that can wreck enjoyment of their yards: flooding. If your yard regularly floods, now is a good time to find a permanent solution so you can enjoy the change in weather. Here are 4 ways to fix that backyard flooding.

Identify the Source

It's hard to fix a problem if you're only focusing on the symptoms rather than the cause. Flooding comes from a source and since water obeys gravity, that source is nearly always uphill. Look for causes of water pooling in your yard and try to focus on fixing those first. This could include clogged drains, malfunctioning gutters, downspouts that are in the wrong place, neighbors who have changed the grade in their yards or dammed-up water flows. If your flooding is serious and you can't locate a source, it may be best to work with a professional landscape architect or civil engineer, like the ones at Morris-Depew Associates Inc, to identify the real problem.

Change Your Dirt

Believe it or not, the type of soil in your yard could be contributing to your flooding problem. Clay soil, or very compact soil, does not allow enough space for water to seep into the ground, resulting in surface puddling. If you have these types of dirt, try blending in a mixture of compost or mulch to help open up your soil. 

Raise the Lawn

Although it's not always the cheapest option (depending on how much you can do yourself), changing the grade or elevation of your yard is a direct way to solve pooling. Mark the area that floods while it's wet, then dig up this section after it dries. Till the dirt and add loam to raise the area as much as 4 or 5 inches, then reseed it. Be sure to point your new grade downward toward a part of the yard that can handle the extra runoff. 

Add Drainage

You can increase drainage by adding either a dry well or a French drain. A dry well is basically an open-bottomed barrel with holes on the sides. Dig down about 4 feet, place gravel on the bottom, then line the hole with landscape cloth (to keep dirt out of the well). Place the barrel inside, then back-fill around your new well. Water will fill the barrel instead of your yard. A French drain operates on a similar principle but instead of a barrel, it's a length of irrigation piping that's been perforated to allow water inside. The pipe should lead to an area of your yard that can hold more water, such as a ditch or intentionally low spot. Instructions for a DIY French drain can be found on the internet

Fixing your flooded yard can mean more than just a more comfortable rainy season. It can save money by directing water away from the house and preventing erosion from the rain. By putting some time into finding the right solution, you can enjoy your yard for many years to come.