My Backyard Has a Drainage Issue…Now What?

Backyard drainage issues are usually caused by compacted soil, incorrect grading, or improper location and installation of landscape features like a fence. Once the source of water pooling in the yard has been discovered, there are three solutions you can choose from: Dry river beds (a shallow ditch which follows the drainage path your backyard). Dry wells (holes filled with gravel or stone). Drain pipes & inlets (to quickly move water away from wet areas).

Backyard drainage

Moving into a new home should be a pleasurable and joyful experience. Though moving is often stressful, after the boxes are unpacked, you begin to relax and enjoy your new surroundings.

Hopefully, your enjoyment extends into your new backyard patio and lawn.

Unfortunately, landscaping is one of the first places where corners are cut to save money during new home construction.

Also, many home builders do not realize that landscape construction involves a different set of skills and knowledge than house construction.

Is there a real problem?

After you have moved into your home, do a careful yard inspection after the first big rain or series of rains. In particular, be on the lookout for backyard flooding or water pooling in the yard.

Though big flooding problems will be obvious, any puddles that do not drain after several hours, 24 at the most, are indications of drainage issues.

Poor drainage might be caused by compacted soils, incorrect grading or improper sitting of features in the landscape, such as a fence across a drainage path.

Fortunately, there are several solutions to drainage issues that are attractive and will enhance the value of your home.



Dry River Beds

A dry river bed mimics the appearance of a dry stream. It should follow the path that water takes as it drains from your yard. Think of it as a very shallow ditch.

The bed will be lined with natural river rock and stone, stopping any erosion that might occur.

Rounded edges will make the natural stone appear as if it is part of a natural waterway.

Most of the stone should be a consistent size, at least two or three inches in diameter, but no more than about six inches.

Several carefully placed larger stones can serve as accents or focal points.

When constructed by someone with an artistic eye, a dry river bed will appear to be natural and flowing, fitting into your yard as if it belongs there.

Dry wellDry Wells

Dry wells are a relatively simple approach to deal with drainage in isolated locations.

Basically, a dry well is a hole filled with gravel or stone. It should be at least a foot or two in diameter and two or more feet deep.

The worse the drainage problem, the larger the hole needs to be.

Most importantly, a dry well should be deep enough that water can drain into a subsurface layer of soil with good drainage characteristics.

A dry well will function best at a low point in your yard. This might be at the downhill end of a dry river bed, for example, or at a location where water is pooling in the yard.

The hole for the well should be lined with landscape filter fabric and filled with gravel. After the filter fabric is folded over the top of the gravel, decorative stone or river rock can be placed on top.

A good lawn care landscaper can integrate this into your outdoor space so that it is either hidden, or it looks attractive.

Perforated drain pipeDrain Pipe and Inlets

A combination of drain pipe and inlets can be used to quickly move water away from wet areas.

Perforated drain pipe is also commonly used for drainage.

It should be surrounded with filter fabric and gravel in order to keep the pipe from clogging.

Depending on the severity of your drainage issue, a combination of methods could be most effective, such as perforated pipe underneath a dry river bed.

Adding some plant materials will make most drainage systems more attractive. Using native plants that can handle both dry and wet conditions gives the best results.

Get Help With Water Pooling in the Yard or  Other Drainage Issues

Even for simple drainage issues, it will be worth consulting with a landscape design professional that is experienced with grading and drainage.

They are likely to come up with a creative solution to turn your backyard flooding nightmare into an attractive feature that becomes an integral part of your landscape.

Wright Landscape Services have helped countless homeowners in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the surrounding areas to remedy their soggy backyards in an attractive and effective way.

If you think you might have a problem with the drainage on your property, contact us for a free consultation.