If the yard is always wet in certain areas or standing water develops constantly after rains, you probably have a yard drainage problem. If your yard isn't draining correctly, it can cause problems for both your house and your plants.
How Do I Find the Source of My Drainage Problem?
Look at where standing water settles. Usually this is a dip or depression in the ground. If the standing water is near a structure, look at the downspouts, drains or gutters; these are often clogged, misdirected or disconnected at the seams or joints. Find the sewer and water lines and connections; if the line runs near or under the problem area you could have an underground leak or clog.
How Do I Identify Potential Drainage Problems?
Observe the soil composition of the yard; compacted soil can cause yard drainage problems because the water cannot drain into the soil quickly enough. Identify areas where the slope of the land flows down to structures or into depressions; these slopes can cause soil erosion or problems with foundations. Check your location in relevance to flood plains or wetlands; if you are in a low-laying area within a flood plain, flooding will occur. If you are in a wetlands area or area with high concentrations of porous rock or gravel, ground seepage, such as natural springs, may be present. Identify potential problems with nearby creeks or stream beds; bank erosion, shallow beds, unevenly sloped beds, clogged waterways, buildup of sediment or plant life can cause future drainage problems from water overflow during heavy rain or snow.
How Can I Fix Drainage Problems?
Repair any damaged downspouts, drains, gutters or irrigation lines before the rainy or winter season arrives. Add mulch or compost to the soil to help natural drainage. Build a swale into the landscape; this is a large depression 3 feet wide by 6 inches deep running at a downward slope to direct water into a designated area. Build terraces into the landscape for steeper grades or where natural springs occur; plant deep-rooted vegetation or a heavy carpet of grass over the terraces to help control standing water.
How Can I Prevent Drainage Problems?
Build up the ground so the slope of the land flows away from structures or traffic areas. Install drains to direct the water to a lower point of ground. Install runoff lines to direct water to low-impact areas such as creeks, sewer drains, drainage easements or streets. Avoid over watering vegetation and allow the ground to dry out before watering again. Keep low lying areas free of debris and buildup. Install deep-rooted plants such as shrubs, willows or ground covers that can soak up the water and prevent erosion.