Standing Water in Your Lawn
Causes and Solutions for Poor Lawn Drainage
While certainly unattractive, standing water isn’t just an aesthetic issue. It can seriously impact the health of your lawn, while also producing mosquitoes and other unwanted pests. If you are experiencing inadequate drainage in and around your lawn, learn the main causes and most helpful solutions.
- Sloping Terrain: During certain times of the year, excessive water runoff can accumulate in low-lying sections of a lawn. Rain and melting snow can drain down into these areas, creating stagnant puddles that take weeks or months to dry out.
- Clogged Yard Drains and Local Drains: Leaves, sediment, grass cuttings, twigs, trash and other debris can accumulate to obstruct water flow. You may be able to remove most of this debris yourself; however, in many cases, a professional is needed to flush pipes or sprinkler systems.
- Artificial Obstructions: In certain instances, recent construction (embedded fence, concrete patio or paved road) can be a catalyst for standing water in your yard. In these cases, you will likely need a landscaper to target the source of the obstruction and develop strategies for improved drainage.
- Soil Conditions: Some soil conditions promote slow draining, especially during certain times of the year. While even hard clay soils eventually absorb water, the slow process can result in stagnant mud puddles. Again, a good landscaper can help resolve these problems either by altering soil composition or creating new drainage systems.
- Changes in Vegetation: Certain conditions can promote shifting vegetation patterns that can inhibit drainage. For instance, dry conditions can promote excessive water runoff by killing off ground cover. Likewise, over saturation can lead to root rot, tipping the balance in favor of moss over grass.
- Architectural Drainage: Roofs, eavesdrops and downspouts can empty their contents into specific areas, leading to water accumulation. By making some targeted adjustments, you can divert water to a more appropriate area.
Effective Solutions for Standing Water
Depending on the cause of your drainage problems, there are a number of solutions that can help. These include:
- Yard Drains: This requires the attention of a professional, since some public or home sewers are not allowed to accept rainwater.
- Drywells: Instead of diverting water to a municipal sewer system, drywells discharge excess water into the more porous surrounding soil. Again, since any plumbing installation requires careful design, professional help is advised.
- Regular Maintenance: Yard drains require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep pipes free from dirt and debris.
- Aeration: Shrub roots, tree roots and grass roots often combine with soil compaction to create drainage difficulties. In these cases, you should consider aerating your lawn to improve permeability.
- Soil Composition: If your soil contains a lot of clay, you can alter its composition by adding more organic matter or gypsum and limestone.
- Sump Pumps: These corral excess water and pump it away to higher ground. Unfortunately, they can be expensive to install and operate.
Getting a Diagnosis
Even if you don’t plan to hire a landscaping company to fix your drainage problem, you should still consider having one out to evaluate the problem. Ask them to examine the property, diagnose the issues and submit an estimate. Even if you decide against professional assistance, this will help you determine the cause – and consequences – of the drainage problem.
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