A wet, soggy backyard isn’t any fun. Kids can’t play and pets come in nasty and dirty. Laundry is quadrupled and plants get root rot. There are solutions to fix a swamped backyard but first, you have to get to the deep end of the problem.
Why is my backyard always wet? There are really only three reasons why your backyard is constantly wet. It is either poor drainage, a leak, or bad soil that won’t absorb water.
Read further to find out more about these issues and how to resolve them so you have a dry yard.
The Wet Yard
When you look at what all the home experts say on the subject of a wet yard, they also include too much rain or having a rainy season. Sure, too much rain can be a problem but you wouldn’t have mush if your yard was functioning correctly with drainage. It would be dry on sunny days.
The cause then must be one of the three primary issues of improper drainage, a leak either in the water or sewer line, or soil that won’t accept water.
Resolving the problem involves doing some searching around your backyard.
Look for Leaks
All of your water and sewer lines are underground. You should also know where your septic tank is. It could leak too.
You don’t have to dig up your yard to find a leak. Just walk and follow the lines from the meter to the house. An unusually soggy area indicates a water leak.
The same goes for your septic tank. You will know there is a leak if the area surrounding your tank is unusually wet. There’s a good chance that grass grows greener and faster there too.
Call your plumber or drainage company once you think you’ve found the leak. They will take a look to confirm and give you a price on reinstalling a new pipe or fixing the septic tank. Sometimes, septic tank issues can be resolved just by cleaning them. They should be cleaned every 10 years.
Scope Your Backyard
One suggestion for those with backyard wetness is to take a look at how the backyard slopes and where water pools. This is a good indicator of why your backyard is so soggy.
Yards need at least 2 percent slope to drain properly with home experts saying the best drainage occurs with a 5 percent slope. Otherwise, water will run to your yard and home rather than away from it. Even flat yards should have some slope to help with drainage.
Improper drainage is one of the biggest problems causing wet backyards. There’s just no place for water to go so it collects. There are a couple of ways to resolve this but the long-term solution is to add either underground drainpipes or a French drain.
French drains work well and are simple enough that some handy people can install one themselves.
How to Build a French Drain?
Follow the steps below to create a French drain in your backyard.
You will need a shovel, a power trencher, landscape fabric, gravel, perforated and enclosed pipe, and a tape measure
The French drain should start where the worst of the water is and travel to the edge of the property. Before starting the project, call the local utility companies to make sure you won’t be digging up any pipes or wires. They should mark the locations of both.
- Start by removing the sod from where the trench is going to be. Save the sod.
- Use a power trencher to dig a 24-inch deep trench that is 6 inches wide. Excess water should flow into a drain, gravel bed, or small pond. Discharging water in a rain garden is one creative idea.
- Layer the trench with landscape fabric. Be sure to line both the sides and bottom. There should be enough fabric to lay over the drain’s top.
- Add two inches of the trench’s bottom with clean 1-inch gravel. Gravel should run the entire trench length but shouldn’t be packed.
- Lay a 4-inch in diameter perforated pipe on the gravel. This should also run the entire trench length. You can use the perforated portion in the wettest areas and enclosed pipe for the rest of the trench.
- Place the perforated pipe with holes only on one side with the holes downward, toward the soil.
- Check the angel. Measure the slope. The drainpipe should slope one inch every eight feet. Add more gravel to get the right slope.
- Fill another inch of gravel over the trench until it almost reaches the top. The discharge end of the pipe should stay unblocked.
- Use the landscape fabric to fold over the trench covering the gravel completely. Tuck the fabric to hide it from view after the project is finished.
- Finish by adding the original sod back over the trench as a puzzle. Step on it to get it to stay.
The Soil Problem
One common problem leading to wet backyards is that the soil is compacted and may be made up of too much clay. Clay soil doesn’t absorb water and gets hard like a rock. You can have your soil tested to see how much clay is in it.
You can also aerate your backyard to see if that breaks up the compacted soil.
Quick Fixes to Water Issues
You can do some things to fix your soggy yard quickly. It won’t resolve the problem over the long term but can end sogginess in problem-prone areas.
Put mulch out over extremely soggy areas. Mulch, especially wood chips, will provide dryness and help level things out. They will eventually decompose, sending nutrients to your soil.
What can I do now to fix my wet yard?
One way to fix your wet yard, at least temporarily, is to add topsoil and top that with straw or hay. Adding topsoil and straw to low spots will help level it out to lessen the pool of water. It is also good to throw out some grass seed or sod on top of new topsoil before adding staw.
Grass and sod will become part of your yard and prevent erosion.
What do I do if I have a lot of clay soil?
You may need to dig up problem areas and mix in topsoil and gravel to gain more water absorption. Topsoil will take in the water and the gravel provides a firm foundation and stability.
How do I drain water away from my house?
Ongoing drainage problems can ruin your home’s foundation. Try installing a French drain or a perimeter drain. You can also, in drastic situations, regrade your yard to slope away from your home.
What can I do when my lard is soggy after irrigating?
Your yard is experiencing one of two problems. Either you are watering too much or there is a blocked irrigation drain causing water to pool in your yard. Look for the blockage and cut back on watering.
How long does it take for the soggy ground to dry out?
It depends on the amount of sun and weather. It also depends on how absorbent the ground is. Some land can dry out in two days while other land parcels take several weeks.