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Effectives Solutions to Improve Poor Yard Drainage

What is poor yard drainage?

Poor yard drainage refers to a situation where water does not flow or drain effectively within a yard, leading to water accumulation, soggy or flooded areas, and difficulty in managing excess moisture.

Why you should address drainage issues:

Aside from being a pain and rendering your yard unusable, yard drainage can cause a host of headache inducing issues. By addressing your inadequate yard drainage early, you can avoid these additional complications down the road.

  1. Waterlogged Soil: Excessive water can saturate the soil, depriving plant roots of oxygen and causing root rot or stunted growth.
  2. Erosion: Poor drainage can lead to soil erosion, where flowing water washes away the topsoil, compromising the stability of the landscape.
  3. Mosquito Breeding: Stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, increasing the risk of vector-borne diseases.
  4. Structural Damage: Water pooling around the foundation of a house can weaken its structure over time and lead to costly repairs.
  5. Decreased Property Value: Poor drainage can be a significant detractor for potential homebuyers, affecting the property’s resale value.

Identifying poor drainage issues:

The first step in addressing yard drainage issues is identifying that you have them in the first place. While some warning signs may be obvious, like pooling water, others may go unnoticed. If you are concerned that you may be having yard drainage issues look out for the following.

  1. Standing Water: One of the easiest signs to identify. Look out for pooling water after rain events or irrigation cycles. Keep note of where it is pooling.
  2. Soggy or Wet Areas: Certain parts of the yard remain constantly damp or muddy, even in dry weather conditions.
  3. Waterlogged Plants: Plants that exhibit signs of wilting, root rot, or yellowing leaves may be suffering from excessive water due to poor drainage.
  4. Foul Odors: Stagnant water can emit unpleasant odors caused by decaying organic matter, indicating poor drainage.
  5. Insect Infestations: Stagnant water provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other water-loving insects.
  6. Surface Cracks: In areas with poor drainage, the soil may expand and contract excessively, leading to visible cracks on the ground surface.
  7. Washed-out Mulch or Gravel: Mulch or gravel that gets washed away from their designated areas might indicate water flow issues.

Understanding the causes of poor yard drainage:

There are various factors that lead to poor yard drainage, most of which are naturally occurring. Understanding the cause of your drainage issues will help you better mitigate them.

  1. Incorrect Grading: Inadequate or incorrect grading is one of the primary causes of poor drainage. Grading is the way your yard slopes and it should always slope away from your home not towards it.
  2. Compacted Soil: Certain types of soil such as clay does not allow water to pass through easily. This leads to slow drainage and eventually pooling water.
  3. High Water Table: A water table is the area where water saturates spaces between sediment and cracks in the ground. When you have a high-water table that means that area is sitting close to or above the surface. This causes the soil to remain constantly saturated.
  4. Impermeable Surfaces: Extensive areas covered with impermeable surfaces like concrete, asphalt, or non-porous pavers hinder water absorption, causing runoff and pooling.
  5. Construction or Landscaping Modifications: Changes made to the landscape without proper consideration for drainage, such as adding new structures, patios, or raised flower beds, can disrupt natural water flow.
  6. Heavy Rainfall or Flooding: Intense and prolonged periods of heavy rainfall can overwhelm drainage systems and lead to water accumulation.

Solutions to improve poor yard drainage:

Waterproofing solutions aren’t about stopping water, they’re about managing where it goes. So, if you have a yard with poor drainage, don’t panic, there are solutions that can help.

Natural landscaping:

Natural landscaping is an eco-friendly and sustainable approach to improving poor yard drainage. These techniques work with the environment to manage water effectively and minimize runoff. Some options are:

  • Rain gardens
  • Bioswales
  • Planting additional water absorbent vegetation
  • Contour trenches and swales
  • Terraced gardens

Drainage systems:

These systems help manage water flow, prevent water accumulation, and protect your property from potential water-related damage. Some of your options are:

  • Exterior French drain
  • Catch basins and channel drains
  • Dry Wells
  • Underground discharge line extensions

Adjusting Grading and Sloping:

This is as simple as adjusting the grade of your yard so that your land slopes away from your home and not towards it.

Rainwater Harvesting:

Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting and storing rainwater for later use, rather than allowing it to run off and be lost. It is a sustainable water management technique that has been used for centuries to conserve water and address water scarcity. Rainwater harvesting systems capture rainwater from rooftops, surfaces, or other catchment areas and store it in tanks, cisterns, or underground reservoirs for various purposes.

Seeking professional help

Solving your drainage issues can be daunting. In some circumstances it may be best to seek the help of professionals. Most companies providing waterproofing solutions will offer free on-site assessments. This is a great opportunity to get a professional out to your home and go over all the drainage issues you’re facing.

When you are having drainage issues with your yard this can lead to moisture issues with your basement. Your waterproofing specialist can address these issues as well and inform you how to best solve the problem. Waterproofing is a system of components that work together. When you add one component, an issue can arise in another area. That’s why having somebody that is well versed in water management can help you solve these issues for good.

In conclusion

Addressing poor yard drainage is vital due to its potential to cause issues like waterlogged soil, erosion, mosquito breeding, and decreased property value. There are many DIY solutions that can address drainage issues and foster sustainable water management systems. However, recognizing signs and knowing when to seek professional help for more comprehensive solutions can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.


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