Yard work is a pain in the neck. No matter how much you slave away at mowing, weeding, and pruning, Mother Nature always seems to have the upper hand.
Just when you think you’ve got things under control, you wake up to find your lawn has become a muddy mess overnight. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
With a few basic tricks, you can stop water pooling and reclaim your yard from the swamp gods once and for all, and I’m here to show you how.
Issues Associated With Stagnant Water
Before we get into how you can stop water from pooling in your yard, let’s first discuss the many issues stagnant water can cause.
Breeding Ground for Mosquitoes and Other Insects
Stagnant water can become a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects.
Mosquitoes, especially, like to lay eggs on the edge of water bodies, so you can expect that to happen within a few days only. Not only this, but it doesn’t take long for water bodies to attract other pests in the mix near the area.
Before you know it, the stagnant body of water will become a harmful breeding ground for pests that will eventually find their way into your house.
Can Damage the Foundation of Your House
It’s common knowledge that stagnant water can damage the foundation of your property. You need to be pretty careful and prevent the water from seeping under the ground and eventually near the foundation of the property.
Stagnant water will eventually find its way under the ground, and as it does, there is a strong chance that it could weaken the concrete foundation of your property.
If that happens, the entire structure of your house is going to start sinking to one side. Needless to say, failure to take action could end up costing you a considerable amount of money.
You need to make sure that you don’t let the water stand for more than a day or two!
Can Drown Your Plants
Can Drown Your Plants
Many people love gardening and turn their yards into beautiful places, full of lush green plants. As you might already know, standing water is actually incredibly harmful to plants.
While there are a few plants that would love to live in a wet spot in the yard, like these 7 plants, most others will not fare so well. Within a few days, they will succumb to root rot and will begin to “drown.”
When plants start to die, their roots are unable to hold the soil firmly together, and as a result of that, erosion begins to take place.
Within a few weeks, the entire yard will be full of dead plants, and nobody likes bare ground. More importantly, the bare ground will become a source of nuisance for you.
Anybody who walks through the wet yard and into the house will be bringing with them a bunch of muddy footprints, which are going to be even more difficult for you to clean properly.
May Turn Certain Surfaces Permanently Slick
If the standing water isn’t cleaned regularly, it will turn certain surfaces permanently slick.
Most organisms that tend to thrive in watery conditions will start growing in those areas, and ultimately turn the surfaces slippery. This can also increase the chances of accidents occurring in your yard.
Needless to say, standing water is not as harmless as it may seem. The unsightly appearance is the least of your worries, so you need to take action right away.
Potential Causes of Standing Water in Your Yard
There are quite a few causes of standing water in the yard. Let’s go through them one by one.
Let’s start with the basics: overwatering.
If you tend to overwater your lawn too much, the soil won’t be able to absorb all of the water. Eventually, this water is going to settle on the ground.
If there is an automated sprinkler system installed on your property, you need to adjust the settings to reduce the amount of water in your yard. The simple thing to do is water your lawn as little as possible.
If this doesn’t help with the issue, there can be a bunch of other reasons. Here are a few other things that may cause overwatering.
Grading the Lawn
When was the last time that you got the lawn graded? Grading, or leveling, are important procedures that considerably improve the drainage of your lawn.
The slope needs to trend away at a gentle angle from the house, and toward the street, where the drains are located. If the landscaping isn’t done at a suitable angle, the water might not be able to slide away, and will eventually collect in your lawn.
Improper drainage will also cause low spots to appear naturally in the yard. This will allow more water to accumulate in the low spots over time.
The permeability of the lawn also plays an important role. Permeable lawns allow water to seep into the earth and don’t collect on the surface.
However, with time, grass clippings and other things such as leaf litter will start to clog up the lawn. This will prevent the soil from efficiently absorbing the water.
Then, you have the soil. If the soil is hard, heavily compacted, and generally sticky, it’s going to prevent water from seeping under the ground easily.
The soil is going to be considerably less absorbent, and that is one of the reasons why the water might continue to stand on the ground.
Higher Water Table
When rain seeps under the ground, it turns into groundwater. The groundwater eventually accumulates to create a water table, which is a saturated subsurface under the ground that consists of rock and subsurface soil.
In some cases, especially when the ground gets waterlogged, this can rise very close to the ground.
What to Do About Water Pooling in Your Yard
So, what can you do about standing water on your property?
Well, there are a variety of methods that can be used to get rid of standing water on your property.
Let’s talk about each of these methods one by one.
1 – Diverting the Water Underground
In case of a rainstorm, water rushes through the gutters and into the downspouts, and if it isn’t able to run off easily, it can contribute to flooding in your yard. You don’t want that to happen.
The problem could be caused due to a variety of reasons, such as low spots or improper grading, but the best solution is to divert it all under the ground.
You should consider installing a French drain or a perforated underground drain pipe that collects all of the water from the gutters above and carries it straight to the sewer system.
2 – Yard Grading
By now, you already know what grading is and how it works. The slope of your lawn is going to play an important role in preventing the water from pooling up in the yard.
With the right amount of grading, the land will be highest at the base of the house and will continue to slope downward to the street.
Unfortunately, not all lawns have this “perfect” grading. If you notice that the slope in your yard isn’t adequate and needs to be regraded, you might want to hire a landscaping company for the job. Water might begin to pool up in different areas of the yard.
A simple thing that you can do is spread topsoil all around the foundation of your property and in the low areas, thus allowing the water to drain freely.
3 – Thatching Problems
The organic debris that is spread around the lawn usually prevents water from seeping underneath, and this can prove to be a big problem.
The best thing that you can do is dethatch and aerate the ground properly.
What this means is that you need to first get rid of the entire layer of thatch (you can buy rakes or dethatchers on Amazon), and then make small holes in the soil.
You will also need to make holes in the soil, at least four to six inches deep in the ground.
4 – Removing Water From Flooded Patios
Water might begin to pool up on your patio and the sidewalk, close to the yard. Needless to say, this water can take more than a week or so to evaporate on its own.
So, it’s obvious that you need to take action because the paved areas will become completely unusable.
Raising the level of the patio or the sidewalk is going to cost too much money, so a better option is to install a storm drain channel.
They can be installed along the sidewalk and can eventually connect with a buried French drain, which will carry all of the excess water to the main sewer system out on the street.
These grates are also pretty attractive, so you don’t have to worry about aesthetic appeal either.
5 – Soil Problems
A bigger issue is the soil. If the soil is compact and hard, water might not seep into the ground effectively.
If the soil has compact material or is made of heavy clay, it will be less absorbent, and this could create a host of problems with drainage.
To fix this issue, you will want to change the composition of the soil.
Compost, leaf mold, or manure must be added to the soil. The material will help in breaking up the hard lumps of clay and make the soil more absorbent.
Ultimately, this will also contribute to creating several new channels through which water can drain out.
6 – Digging
If your yard is suffering from hardpan problems, you might want to consider using a shovel to dig all the way in. If the hardpan isn’t more than two feet in thickness, you need to wait for a bit of a dry spell, and then dig it all out.
This is pretty labor-intensive work, and there is a chance that you might not be able to do it all by yourself. In that case, you can get in touch with a local contractor who would be happy to help.
7 – Add a Dry Well
Have you thought about adding a dry well?
If a considerable amount of water continues to accumulate in your yard and there is proper flooding, you might want to consider adding a dry well.
Dry wells are installed in low-lying areas to collect the water. The excess water is buried in tanks and can be released slowly into the soil. It’s a fantastic way to make use of the excess water that accumulates on your property.
When it comes to installing a dry well, it’s recommended that you opt for a larger one, as it’s always better to err on the side of the bigger one.
These are just some of the basic methods that you can use to get rid of water accumulation problems around your yard. Don’t wait, get started right away!
Prevent Erosion With Ground Cover
Excess water doesn’t just create mud; it can also lead to soil erosion, washing away precious topsoil. You can prevent this by planting sturdy ground cover plants that hold soil in place.
For slopes and drainage areas, go for deep-rooted spreader plants like creeping phlox, ajuga, thyme, sedum, and creeping juniper.
Their dense foliage and extensive root systems help bind the soil while allowing rainfall to filter through. And as a bonus, they require minimal mowing and upkeep once established.
Another great erosion fighter is turf reinforcement mats (TRMs). These heavy-duty mats made of coconut fiber or recycled plastics are laid on top of bare soil and seeded with grass.
As the grass grows in, its roots intertwine with the mats, creating an anchor that prevents rainfall from dislodging soil particles.
TRMs are excellent for high-flow areas like newly constructed drainage ditches and culverts. Erosion control blankets made of straw or coconut work similarly.
Overcoming swampy yards takes perseverance and, of course, a willingness to get your hands dirty.
With some strategic digging, gravel, and some piping, you can effectively drain away muck and keep your lawn looking great.
No yard should have to suffer the indignities of mud and mire. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to reclaim your green space and keep it mud-free.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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