Getting Rid of Standing Water in Your Yard

Standing water is the term used for unsightly and often dangerous puddles that form in your garden after rain. If you have one or more areas in your yard that hold water long after the rain has gone, you know you have a problem. Sometimes, it’s difficult to solve this problem because it would mean installing a better drainage system. You may even be tempted to simply let the water evaporate under the sun, but standing water can create more problems for you.

There is no tree or shrub that will grow in flooded soil. Unfortunately, standing water doesn’t just occupy one area. It can seep into cracks and reach the soil. Although watering plants daily can lead to better growth, there are a lot of plants that cannot live in a too-wet area. Standing water will make your soil soggy for extended periods. The roots of your plants, in particular your grasses, won’t be able to breathe.

One common solution to the standing water dilemma is the use of topsoil. Dry topsoil can absorb the water for the meantime while you figure out how to drain the rest of it. However, there are instances when the standing water gets displaced rather than soaked up by the layer of topsoil you install.

Ask your city engineer for advice if you plan on renovating your underground drainage system. You may be at risk of troubling your neighbours if you start digging and you hit a major gas pipe or a water pipe that supplies water to the rest of your community. Look for a nearby drainage ditch and use this fact as a possible part of the solution when you’re stating your case. A storm drain is easy to set up as long as you have the local officials’ go signal.

When you’re ready, you can buy some 4” perforated plastic drain pipes. Get the flexible kind that comes in 100’ rolls. The drain pipe has small slits that water can enter. Just create a trench from the center of the flooded area to the drainage point. Using a simple line you can set up a string over top of the trench to ensure that your pipe runs downhill towards the drainage ditch. You should have 6” fall for every 100’ of pipe.

The highest point must be the flooded area, which means you only want your pipe deep enough at this point so it can be covered with soil. Once the trench is there, you can simply install the pipe. Insert a strainer into the end of the pipe to prevent soil debris from entering the pipe and clogging it. Cover the pipe with washed stone to hide it, and then fill the trench with soil. The washed stone creates a void around the pipe allowing water to enter into the pipe. The lower part of the pipe that needs to be exposed is the low end, because this is where the water exits the pipe. You shouldn’t install a strainer at the lower end of the pipe so that water can flow freely.

The technique we described is usually applicable if the topsoil of your garden is sandy or loamy. However, a more specialized technique can be used if you have heavy clay soil.

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