Lawn & Garden Ideas and Tips

Don’t Call The Plumber Just Yet: DIY Yard Draining Solutions

Improper yard drainage is more than just an eye sore. It can prevent your grass and flowers from growing. These simple solutions can help solve the problem.

Close up of backyard drainage inlet

Yard drainage problems can be a frustrating homeowner's dilemma. In addition to being unsightly and messy, standing water can prevent turf, plants, and trees from growing and thriving. Poor backyard drainage can limit recreational use and enjoyment.

Before you call a plumber or a landscaping professional, check out some of these simple yard drainage solutions that may solve or improve minor drainage issues. Before attempting a solution, make sure you’re not routing drain water into a neighbor’s yard or into another property. And always call your local utility company before you dig or excavate.

  •  Check your home’s gutters and downspouts to make sure they aren't contributing to your drainage problems. Inspect them to make sure that they are in good condition and are properly directing water away from the house.
  • Attach rain barrels or rain catchers to downspouts to collect water and prevent it from causing drainage issues. You can also use the collected rainwater to irrigate flower beds and your lawn, conserving resources and saving money in the process. 
  • If your drainage problems are due to clay soil or compaction, you can try these techniques for improving the soil.
  • You can also try creating a garden with a fast-draining soil mix and plants that favor wet conditions to control the soggy part of your yard.
  • Build a raised garden or berm in the area that doesn’t drain well. You can build a raised garden using rocks, bricks or other border material and filling it with soil before planting.
  •  Terracing an area can sometimes help improve drainage and runoff. You can create a terraced garden with plantings and with steps made from stones or other materials.
  • Consider adding an area, such as a driveway, walkway or patio made from pervious paving materials. Pervious paving has small gaps that allow water to gradually drain into a foundation that is often composed of gravel, sand, or grass.
  • Add a water feature or pond to your landscaping in areas that naturally collect water. 
  • Use rocks to create a low wall to direct water from an area or to create a dry creek bed that water can flow over.

If these simple solutions don’t work, you may need to install a French drain, channel drain or other in-ground drainage solution. Check with your local home store or garden center to decide if this is a project you want to tackle yourself or if you should hire professional help. Remember to comply with local laws and ordinances if you plan to connect your drain to local drain systems or to a nearby body of water.