Heavy rain and storms can make a mess of yards, particularly if your property is at a low elevation, at the bottom of a hill, or sits by a creek or a river. If your yard stays wet and flooded for long periods of time, it can cause serious damage to your home. You can help to ease the potential for flooding by installing yard drainage systems and other deterrents. Here's what to do:
Pinpoint Problem Spots
Narrow down the areas in your yard that are at risk of excess water buildup and flooding. Examine the soil permeability and yard topography to ascertain how much moisture yours can tolerate before it becomes a problem. If you're not sure of the best way to approach this, contact a landscaper to help make a map of your property and to show you where water will stand or run off.
Have the Soil Tested Good yard drainage requires several layers of soil, moderately compacted. The more organic material found in your soil, the better. Organic material helps to break up areas of hard clay and lets water seep into the soil more effectively. If a majority of your yard is clay-type soil, you can help its permeability by planting large landscaping trees or shrubs. The roots will help break up the soil and give water somewhere to go. You can do a quick DIY mason jar test, or for more sophisitcated info, call a pro.
Install a French Drain
A French drain is a trench with a drain pipe laid inside, covered over with course sand, gravel or stones to allow water to seep through. Once the water seeps through the covering, it enters the pipe to be moved away. They're useful for diverting water away from your home, so the pipe should be run away from foundations and into a remote area of your yard. These drains allow water to travel naturally and slowly so that it doesn't pool quickly into an area of your yard.
Using Plants as a Barrier
Another drainage solution is to fill your yard with plants that absorb water during growth. You can either choose from wet sun plants or wet shade plants, depending on the amount of light your yard gets. Keep in mind that this is not a fast fix, but rather a long-term measure that slowly redistributes the moisture in your yard. Rain garden depressions located at the base of your yard or around downspout areas are also a great way to capture yard runoff and prevent flooding at nearby sewer systems.
Hydrangeas grow well in the south and can help control water run off.
Use Rocks to Control Run Off
River rocks are a nice landscaping addition, and they can also serve an important function in reducing water buildup. Like sand, river rocks allow water to soak into the soil at a natural pace and reduce the risk of yard flooding. You can restore your yard and possibly save a wet basement by installing river rocks that filter storm water.
For more information on improving yard drainage, contact a landscaping professional.