How to Fix Poor Yard Drainage


Poor yard drainage can be especially perilous to your plants and garden during times of heavy rain or snow. When water pools on the surface of your yard, it can drown the roots of plants or freeze them during the winter months, which may prevent them from blooming. You can correct poor yard drainage in several ways, which will keep the roots of your plants protected from water damage.

Step 1

Add organic matter such as compost, sawdust, sand or potting soil to the soil in your yard or garden while tilling before planting. These organic substances will allow the water to drain more effectively around the plant roots, so even if water does pool on top of the ground, it will be less damaging to the plants from underneath.

Step 2

Build up low spots in the yard by using a layer of top soil on the yard's surface. It may also be beneficial to till the soil with organic matter before adding top soil to increase the level of drainage in the area.

Step 3

Add a French drain to your yard that directs water away from important parts of your yard, such as the garden or anywhere else plants are growing. Create a French drain by digging a foot and a half trench, layering 3 to 4 inches of gravel in the bottom of the trench and placing drainage pipes on top of the gravel. Cover the pipes with gravel to the top of the trench and the water will flow from the surface, through the rock, down the pipe and out the end of the pipe.

Step 4

Build a dry well just in the spot in your yard that has poor drainage. A dry well is created by digging a large hole in the area where major pooling occurs and filling it with bits of concrete, bricks and stone. Water will sink into the well and slowly absorb into the surrounding soil.

Step 5

Water your plants less often if there is always standing water in your yard near the plants. They are more than likely over-saturated and more water may be detrimental.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost, sawdust, sand or potting soil
  • Top soil
  • Drain pipe
  • Gravel
  • Concrete, bricks and stone


  • Poor drainage in yard easy to fix
  • This Old House
Keywords: poor yard drainage, bad drainage, low spots

About this Author

Alexis Lawrence has been writing professionally for six years and has been published on Associated Content. She is also a freelance filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. Lawrence attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science in English.