Most of us take pride in how beautiful and pristine our backyards are, and why not? We work hard to maintain them, and that is why we all love our backyards dearly and hate to see them in poor condition. Especially when we look at it, and instead of the green it used to be, we find a mushy puddle, which might make us feel blue and tensed.
Not only is it unpleasant and depressing to look at water sitting on your previously pretty lawn but it poses a risk to the mini-ecosystem you managed to create in your yard with so many efforts, that is the insects like earthworms, reptiles like a lizard and many other docile and harmless creatures that help us in maintaining the fragile balance. Some that eat secondary infectious pests are driven away or die under the logged water.
Why is stagnant water in the backyard harmful?
- It acts as a breeding ground for infectious and frustrating mosquitoes and many other insects.
- Besides insects, it can attract snakes and some other amphibians
- It can kill your grass, and cause damage to flower beds and ornamental plants.
- It can be a symptom of a more significant issue.
- Pose harm to your home’s foundation.
In this article, we will be looking at the various root causes logging water in the backyard and some quick and permanent solutions to how to soak up in the yard?
Know What is Wrong
Understanding the problem is halfway to the solution. So let us understand the reason water cannot absorb in the soil. The reason can be of two categories, one wherewith few changes in your garden routine can solve the problem or the second category which is a bit more severe as the fundamental design can be flawed and you may need to call a professional. But no need to panic either way it can be dealt with and solved.
Let’s look at category one:
- Overwatering- There is a chance that the groundwater level of the soil you live on is more than average, and hence the yard doesn’t need as much water. If you have sprinklers or any inbuilt water irrigation system, your solution is a few changes away.
- Unknown territory- Pay attention to the area where waterlogging takes place, maybe it is only in the area of your flower bed or some particular area around which you have to build a barrier or sometimes a small fence.
If even after paying close attention to both the above factors the problem remains, maybe you can relate with one of the following mentioned common causes-
The type of soil plays an essential role in the water absorption rate. Compact and heavy soils and sticky clay soils prevent water from absorbing at the rate it usually does. That’s why when we water plants in average quantity, it stops seeping in.
Solution – If you relate to this, then you should work organic matter into your soil. Get rid of the layer of dust and working things like leaves, and organic compost can make your soil amenable to absorption. Some insects like earthworm keep the soil soft and tilled. Soil channels can be opened up for drainage of water by the usage of leaf mold and manure.
Hardpan or soil pan is a dense layer of hardened soil/clay. There is various type of hardpan sharing one major characteristic of being impervious, that is not allowing water to pass through.
Solution – If you are dealing with this issue, the most natural solution is to take a shovel and start digging. It is easier said than done. But this is the quick way to break the barrier, letting water drain away. The best way is to wait for the dry spell and dig it yourself, but if due to any reason you cannot do it, or the layer seems thick, hire a professional contractor, they specialize at this and help you in the best way possible.
Have you noticed where does your lawn tilt or slope? Should it be gradually treading away from your house and direct down towards the street? It also depends on the angle of slope, because that is what takes care of the balance between the time it takes for water to drain and for water to collect.
If it doesn’t slope towards the street and the angle isn’t right, that is what your problem is. It is easy to understand and not so easy to solve. Improper drainage in such a situation can have adverse effects as it creates natural low spots in your yard. These low spots because of the massive puddles that you see.
Solution – You need some landscaping, in simple words, regrade. We recommend hiring a professional as this can get tricky, tiring, and expensive, and, most of all, chances are it can increase the adversity of the problem. Landscapers have the experience and knowledge needed for the job and will get the job done with minimal to no issues.
Ask your landscaper to explain to you and give you the survey of drainage outlets and low-lying points of the yard. Your yard may seem a little different, but the problem is solved, and that’s what matters at the end. And soon, you can start re-decorating your yard just like before.
Thatch is a layer of the dead stalk, moss, stolon, and other organic matter found on the lawn. This layer ruins the permeability of the soil, think of clogging of the sink if we cover the water channel with a plate, water starts to accumulate. Similarly, the organic waste blocks the natural water channels and prevent the soil from absorbing the water as it would have under normal conditions.
Thatch is composed of an organic polymer that is highly resilient to decomposition. Certain grass species are prone to thatch production; acidic soil can also be one of the contributing factors. The overuse of nitrogen fertilizers can result in the rise of the acidity of the soil.
Solution – As the natural channels of the soil are clogged, we can make new ones. This is called dethatching. If the layer of the thatch is thick you can use a vertical mower or a lawn rake, once you have removed the plant debris, pierce small holes almost as deep as your palm at equal intervals using a garden fork. Using an aerator to aerate the soil can be a long-term solution as it relieves compacted soil as well. And aerated soil not only solves the problem but is a healthier solution as well.
After it rains, water seeps into the earth, and it is called groundwater. It keeps on collecting to form a water table. Water tables become elevated because sometimes they receive more water than it drains, and in some areas due to different factors like the presence of rocks and so on, the water level rises so much it touches the soil. This complete saturation of water can be referred to as a high water table. Sometimes it so happens that it rises above the surface, creating mushy puddles in your yard.
Solution – If this is what the reason is for the standing water in your yard, there is not much that can be done to soak water in the yard. It is a comparatively tricky issue to deal with. Its something you will mostly have to work around, like planting shrubs and plants which can survive such conditions and require a lot of water like willow trees, plants also add an aesthetic value to your yard. You can create raised beds by adding a layer of soil. And lastly, work on the drainage efficiency or install dry creeks.
If all the Above Solutions don’t seem to Work.
You can install a drainage system, and there are a variety of them available that can be installed right under your topsoil. The French drain is a common suggestion as it is a coherent and easy system made out of rather simple materials. It uses the simple concept of gravity to do its job to direct the water away from your yard to the street or any place where it can be easily disposed of.
While soaking up water in your backyard and taking care of this issue, make sure that the water from your yard is being directed not and adequately causing nuisance somewhere else. Or whereas you might be celebrating here and then come to know the street or your neighbor’s yard got flooded, which can lead to a different set of problems.
It takes a lot of patience and little to a lot of hard Work to soak up water in your backyard whatever from the above listed the issue might be. But with a little help and determination, this issue can be tackled, giving you back the opportunity to decorate and create the mini-ecosystem once again because no one can take away the fun from your backyard, not even standing water.
Let’s make the water leave your yard, not your happiness 🙂