Common Outdoor Drainage Issues & Their Solutions

Water Overflowing Roof Gutters

Every time there’s rain, does your yard become the pond you never wanted? Your grass looks patchy and gross; you can’t have a successful garden, you cringe every time you let the dog or the kids out to play because you know they’ll get filthy. It sounds like your yard has a drainage problem; which means the water has no place to go, so it just ends up sitting there. That stagnant water can cause issues with not only your lawn but your home if the water leaks in and shifts the foundation of the building. To avoid that, here’s a list of the more common drainage issues and how they can be fixed.

What are the common causes of drainage issues?

  • When water gathers in the yard, there might not be enough of a slope to direct the water away from the house.
  • The downspout might be too short or too close to the landscaped area. Water, especially after a heavy storm, can get caught in the mulch and the soil underneath.
  • If you’ve recently had a construction project such as an inground pool, it might have caused the soil to become impacted, meaning it’s keeping on too much water.
  • The front walkway might be cutting off the water flow, which prevents it from getting into the yard and the storm drain.
  • Runoff erosion happens when the topsoil has been stripped away by the downspout.
  • What are the best solutions for your drainage problems?

    • Check your watering schedule: Simple solutions are always the best. You might be overwatering your lawn. You’re not giving enough time in between waterings to let the previous round drain out. Space out the times but a few days to see how your yard reacts to it.
    • Extend the Downspout: If the problem is at the gutter system, the solution could be to extend the downspout. Divert it into the storm drain or some other safe drainage source. Be careful not to direct it into the neighbor’s yard, or they will have the same issue you did, but you’ll be the one paying for it.
    • Construct a Rain Guard: Similar to the previous point, dig out a rain guard that you can fill with water-loving plants such as ferns, hostas, and ornamental mosses. It’s another solution to work with the excessive water issue.
    • Dig Your Own Creek: Instead of fighting with the water, make it part of the landscaping. Dig a mini creek or drainage swale and decorate the area with rocks or gravel.

  • Install a French Drain & Dry Well: There may not be an easy solution to solve the drainage issue above ground. If that’s the case, go underneath. A French drain is a long trench filled with gravel and a drainage pipe that runs from the house to the appropriate area. The pipe is covered by soil or river stones to hide it. A dry well is what’s installed at the end of the French drain to catch the water.