Poor water drainage can damage your gardening environment.
Water is essential to a beautiful, blooming backyard, but having extreme wet conditions and poor water drainage isn’t the ideal gardening environment. While a little bit of excess water may simply be a nuisance, poor water drainage, particularly in areas of high rainfall, can lead to serious health, safety, and financial concerns. Thankfully, there are a number of creative landscaping techniques to improve yard drainage problems. Deciding how to deal with water drainage largely depends on the degree and extent of wet conditions, whether it’s a year-round issue or simply a seasonal one. After assessing the situation, try out some of these landscaping projects that will help you manage how the extra water in your yard drains.
Image via Lawrence Simon on Flickr
BUILD A RAIN GARDEN
Building a rain garden is a wonderful way to filter runoff and protect groundwater, particularly after heavy rainfall. Not only do rain gardens help with drainage issues, such as preventing storm water runoff, removing pollutants, and recharging groundwater, they are also an installation that will beautify your property’s landscape. Before building a rain garden, decide where it should go. Ideal spots for rain gardens are low spots or depressions, at least 10 feet from the house. When choosing plants to populate the rain garden with, it’s best to stick to those that do well in wet conditions. Native plants and grasses are excellent places to start. Planting plugs rather than seeds is probably your best bet for your rain garden: seeds may be washed away with the next rainfall.
ADD A DRY STREAM BED
For relatively small sections of excess moisture, it may be desirable to eliminate the patch entirely rather than work around it. Many people have discovered the beauty and functionality of the dry creek or stream bed. Creating your own dry stream bed can be done by simply choosing the size and course of the bed, digging up the soil, and adding rocks. A dry creek bed can redirect moisture during heavy rain, or it can be used to disguise underground pipes that direct water away from the home.
DIGGING A TRENCH
Also known as a French drain, a gravel-filled trench is another way to add to your yard drainage landscape design. These trenches essentially work by catching and deflecting water to another area. Though they can be fairly labor intensive, you’ll only need to dig once to solve your problems. First, locate the area where water runoff is a problem and then dig a trench that directs the water towards a storm drain or dry well. Generally the trench should be 12 inches deep and 6-12 inches wide, depending on how much water you want to divert, and sloped 1 inch for every 8 feet of horizontal distance the water will need to travel. After filling the trench with gravel or small stones, you can further beautify it with larger river rocks or a bordering flower bed.
Another way to alleviate drainage issues is through the addition of a catch basin. They work essentially like storm drains and can easily be purchased at home improvement stores. To install your catch basin, you simply dig a hole to place the basin in and then add a fitted grate to the top. Then dig a trench from the basin towards a storm drain or dry well, attaching a PVC pipe to the catch basin and laying it out along the trench to re-direct the water.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROJECT
While gardening with only the most water-loving plants might be simple enough, some drainage solutions like ponds, trenches, and water gardens may be more complicated. If you’re not the do-it-yourself type or feel unsure about what type of yard drainage landscape would be best for your yard, there’s no need to worry. Call a professional, like the gutter experts at LeafGuard® of Oklahoma, to guide you through the process, from what type of drainage is ideal to final installation, and get started today!