Why Does Your Backyard Flood?

Those who have regular backyard flooding know the aggravation of it. Sometimes, the water seeps into the back door or basement. You can’t keep a good garden because it floods out and children or pets can’t go out back to play until it’s the dry season. 

Several answers exist to the question of why doe your backyard flood? The first and obvious answer is your home was built lower than other homes and collects water. Your neighbor could have installed improper drainage that floods your land. Your land may not have enough of a slope, be improperly graded, or could have a lot of clay in the soil. 

Read the article below to find out more about each of these problems and how to remedy your flooded backyard. 

Why Backyards Flood?

There are only a few reasons why a backyard would consistently flood. Discovering the reason why yours stays underwater will help you determine what you need to do to resolve the problem. 

Built-in a Low Area

Some neighborhoods and developers try to use every square space for homes because land equals money. They prefer not to leave any of it vacant. That means that sometimes builders construct homes in areas that are lower than their neighbors. 

It may not be a lot lower but you will see flooding if the other properties slope to yours. Water will run off those properties and straight down to your land, amounting to a flooded mess. 

Read: How Much Does It Cost To Redo A Backyard?

Neighbor’s Drainage

A neighbor may seek out new drainage options to get rid of excess water on his land. The problem is some of those options may include dumping water onto yours. Plumbing and drainage companies will put in an underground or French drain to push water flow off of the property.

The problem becomes an issue for you if some of those companies are short-sighted and only want to fix their customer’s issues. A drainage problem sometimes takes more engineering and looking at several properties to figure out a good solution for everyone. 

Read: Are Backyard Renovations Worth It?

Not Enough Slope, Bad Grading

Construction companies put up houses so fast that many don’t take the time to give the correct slope for drainage. Grading is an important part of home construction but many companies no longer hire craftsmen for this work and instead opt for inexperienced, cheap labor. 

The big problem is the slope and grading are things that aren’t required to be disclosed during a sale. Chances are you won’t find out about these issues until it rains after you’ve moved in. 

Read: How Much Should I Spend On My Backyard?

Too Much Clay Soil

Good soil is compromised of several components like topsoil, clay, and sand. Those who have too much of any of those are going to see some kinds of problems. Erosion occurs with too much topsoil and too much sand leads to parts of the ground sinking. 

An abundance of clay increases the chances of flooding because it compacts, hardens, and won’t absorb water. This is why pitcher’s mounds are made primarily of clay. 

Read: How Much Does A 14×20 Deck Cost To Build On The Backyard?

What Can You Do?

Fear not, there are solutions for every problem although some are more expensive than others. 

Drainage Fixes

Drainage problems resulting from being in a low area or from a neighbor’s extra water can be resolved with a French drain. These are drainage systems that include a perforated flexible underground pipe, gravel, and typically easy insertion. 

Some companies even offer “trenchless technology” to install drainage systems so you don’t have to suffer through a crew digging up your yard. 

You can also install storm drain channels around areas where water collects, like patios and driveways. Some are relatively inexpensive to install and are effective. 

Flooded Home Fix

You may want to invest in a sump pump to keep everything dry. There are also perimeter drains that protect your home from excess water. A plumber or drain company can explain that process.

Collection Fixes

Several options exist to absorb and collect rainwater or runoff to disperse to other areas or use in drier months. 

Those in rainy climates should consider a rain barrel. It collects rain so it stays off your lawn but you can use the water during the summer for gardens when it’s too dry. 

You can also plant a rock or rain garden. Both will beautify the landscape and use up all the extra water.

A good solution for many residents is to construct a dry well. A dry well will help water drain and disperse it in multiple directions so that it doesn’t make your backyard soggy. 

Grading Fixes

Fixing grading issues in your yard is one of the more expensive and time-consuming options. You will need a crew with heavy equipment, someone with engineering skills, and some dry weather to get it done. 

Your slope should be between 3 and 6 percent for optimal drainage. Part of the project is laying sod at the end to prevent mud and possibly replanting shrubs, flowers, and additional landscaping.

Create your creekbed trenches so water flows better off your property. You can do this yourself with some minor digging and adding rocks and gravel. 

Dry creekbeds can offset a bad slope if done properly and can look as natural as if they belong there. 

Read: How To Catch A Bird On The Backyard?

Soil Fixes

Fixing the soil to absorb more water is another timely job. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it will wear your patience because it also involves digging up problem flooding areas. 

Do a soil test. Soil test kits are available through your local agricultural cooperative extension office. A test that confirms heavy clay will help you decide which is the best way to fix it. 

You can start simply by aerating the soil. This will break up parts of it and improve absorption some. A larger project is to turn some soft areas over and add a rock dirt mix to make those soft spots firmer and more stable. 

Another option is to add organic material like mulch, hay, or straw to softer or lower areas to ensure the grass isn’t destroyed or to cover mud. 


How do I fix my yard where it floods at downspouts?

Downspouts can be a problem because they pour flowing water into one spot. That creates a mini flood plain and can cause erosion. A simple and inexpensive solution is to install downspout extenders to give that spot some relief. 

What do I do where it floods under my trees?

The reason why you’re seeing flooding under trees is probably that there are a lot of leaves and grass debris there. De-thatching that area will increase water absorption and help ease flooding. 

What do I do if my neighbor’s house is flooding onto mine?

Get a free consultation from a water drainage expert or engineer on how to best resolve your flooding problem. 

Can I build up low areas to stop flooding?

Yes, you can raise some areas to stop flooding. Add a soil-sand-rock mixture to the low spot. You may need to dig around it to make sure everything stays put. Get it as even as you can with surrounding areas and put sod on top to prevent erosion and mudding. 

What can I do to stop flooding in my basement?

This will require a plumbing or drainage company to resolve this problem. A sump pump may be the answer to your problem but you may also consider things like French drains and a perimeter drain.