If you’re facing back yard drainage problems, fear not, help is here.
There are several reasons why your yard is not draining excess water, as it should. Understanding the root cause of the drainage problem is essential when looking for a solution.
Here are the major back yard drainage problems you might be facing:
- Yard pitch or slope problem
This problem is common in yards with inadequate slope. In this case, water never gets properly diverted away. The slope of the yard may even cause water draining back into the house.
- Short downspout
If your downspout is not correctly set up or extended enough, it can direct excess water to your landscaped spaces or flowerbed. This creates a drainage problem as water collects in the soil and mulch.
- Impacted soil
Hard soils are often created during construction projects, like in-ground pools, in the yard. If your soil is hardpan clay, retaining moisture becomes so tricky when impacted.
- Front walkways
Concrete path or sidewalks in yards have been known to cause drainage problems by obstructing water flow into the storm drain.
- Runoff erosion
Erosion occurs when the runoff from your downspout is stripping off topsoil in the yard. This, over time, causes an accumulation of soil beneath the eroded space. Heavy rainfalls can as well create intense runoff and even cause street flooding.
DIY Back Yard Drainage Solutions
After identifying the back yard drainage problems you are facing and its probable cause, then you can figure out DIY solutions to enhance your yard’s drainage.
Here are some to try out:
- Lower watering rates
Before trying to improve your back yard’s drainage, there is a likelihood that you may have been overwatering your yard. First, gradually reduce the amount of water you put on your lawn or back yard grass. The thing is, your yard drainage problem could stem from the soil being unable to match your watering program.
Solving this problem could involve setting your yard sprinkler system to work at shorter intervals. Are you using a manual sprinkler? Water the yard less often and monitor it for 7 to 14 days to see if wet patches appear.
- Extending the downspout
Are you experiencing runoff in your yard? The problem could be traced to a poor gutter system with a short downspout. Short downspouts often create a basin in landscaped spaces because they enable runoff. Therefore, there is a need to extend the downspout (with downspout extension) and divert the runoff from the building—to a drainage source or storm drain.
- Fix the gutters
Asides the downspout, faulty or clogged gutters can flood your back yard. When the channels in your roof are clogged with debris and foreign objects, the proper flow of water is impeded.
- Digging a swale or creek bed
If fixing the downspout and gutters hasn’t done the job, you may have to dig a drainage swale or artificial creek to prevent water from collecting on the low areas in the yard. To do this, dig the soil to create a long, shallow trench and fill it with decorative rocks or gravel.
If your back yard is originally sloping downward, a drainage swale serves as a medium for runoff to move. Apart from allowing water to pass, an artificial creek gives your landscape some beauty.
Note that swales only work when the yard originally slopes downward.
- Make a rain garden
When a low area keeps collecting water in your yard, and the yard is not correctly sloped for a swale to work, you may consider turning that area into a rain garden.
Rain gardens are often created to hold rainfall—then you can fill them with moisture-loving plants like ornamental mosses, ferns, and hostas. These plants are capable of drying out waterlogged areas. While this doesn’t provide a permanent solution to your yard drainage problem, it makes the landscape more nice-looking.
Within 24 hours, a rain garden—with moisture-loving plants—drains water up. The depth of your rain garden depends on the soil’s level of porousness. You can even build a rain garden at the endpoint of a creek bed or downspout.
- Loosening the earth
Focusing on the soil’s aeration may help improve its drainage. Rototilling—using a gardener’s rototill—to turn the ground could get the job.
- Clear blockages in the yard
Obstructive objects in the yard, like decorative rocks, may pool water in the yard. Remove or relocate them to allow the proper flow of rainwater.
- installing a dry well or french drain
If surface-level techniques don’t solve your back yard drainage problems, a dry well or french drain may just address the issue. Installing these two below the topsoil can help with dispersing and redirecting excess water.
A french drain comes with a long, gravel-filled trench and a drainage pipe that runs from the building down the length of the drain. At the grade level, this pipe is enclosed with a filter and either river stone or soil. French drains have many uses; they are different from drainage swales or creek beds because the piping is buried under the earth.
A dry well, on the other hand, is often set up at the endpoint of a french drain, swale, or creek. Dry wells help in collecting and dispersing water into the nearby soil rather than sending it away from the building. A dry well is a large concrete or metal basin or sleeve of drainage fabric with holes on all sides that water drains out from into nearby soil.
A perfect combination to solve yard drainage problem could involve connecting your downspout (extension) to a french drain, and then ending it with a dry well.
Note that this system only works in porous soils with good drainage. To test your soil’s drainage capacity, dig a small hole with a digger, pour water in it, and observe the time it takes to drain.
Back yard drainage problems may seem difficult to remediate. But you can save your property with the right tools and initiative.