soggy backyard

Charleston, SC

Wanting to see what ideas everyone has for our soggy backyard. At the very back about 2 feet from the fence, to the fence the water collects here whenever it rains. The landscape was made for it to drain away from the house but it puddles up. We could raise the yard or put in some type of drain underground? What your ideas?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Do you have neighbors behind you on the other side of the fence where the water collects, or is it some sort of open/public area? If you've got neighbors behind you the best thing to do might be to make the best of the situation and put in a bog garden in the place where the water collects. If you want to get rid of the water, putting in a drain is probably the best idea, but you need to think about where you're going to send the water. Since the area is way at the back of your yard and you're not just allowed to dump your extra water into your neighbor's yard, you might have to run a LOT of drain pipe to route the water out to the front of your property into the storm sewer. And if you raise the level of your yard, then the water will collect in your neighbor's yard instead, and typically in most locations you can get in trouble if you make changes to your property which result in more water draining onto your neighbor's property.

If you recently had landscaping done in your yard which resulted in a change in drainage, then you may be able to make the landscaping company fix the problem. Or if you live in a newly built subdivision then the builder may have some responsibility to remedy the situtation. Otherwise unfortunately it's up to you to do something. But the #1 most important thing to remember is don't do anything that would make more water drain into your neighbor's yard.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Suz, I know Ecrane is so right about not shedding water onto your neighbours, so the best thing to do is, research, was the area boggy before the place was landscaped, if not, then perhaps the company who did this work with any machinery, has just compacted the soil so much with the weight of machinery that it really just needs broken up way down into the sub soil, if soil is so compacted, then it acts like a cover and water cant run through the soil, but it sounds like the problem was there anyway, so you need to find some way of a) breaking up the soil IF it is clay, then add tones of manure/compost and raise that area for plants, by selecting plants that prefere wet/damp soil, they will naturally soak up a lot of water as that is what they like, another thing to do is perhaps use this area to your own advantage by making a proper bog garden, there are lots of wonderful plants that will really enhance an area and will look different from the rest of the garden, If I were you, id investigate who is really responsible for this water area, like Ecrane said, either the landscaper or the builder and try your luck with them for how to solve the problem, there is nothing worse than an area of land that you feel you cant enjoy, but sometimes books from the library or book store will show pictures of areas such as your to excite you into doing other things with the situation you have. good luck anyway. WeeNel.

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Hi, suz1234 - Sounds like it's a perfect place for a RAIN garden - good for plants and the local ecology. It also addresses the questions asked by others - below is a link with more information - Dax

Two things could be the problem. One, I have noticed that the fence is usually the problem (in most cases). Two, the new grade was not given the proper elevations.

Rain gardens are great! But, they require a good amount of maintenance in the future if you are new to gardening. Another thing to remember is that a rain garden is based on plants that like and love moisture. If the area completely drys up in the summer then you will alway want to keep an eye on the area making sure it remains moist by hand watering or an automated water system.

Drain lines are great, but ecrane3 is correct about be a good neighbor and letting water dump into the neighbors yard. You can dig a dry well (3' x 3' x 5' deep) unless you live in an area with a high water table. Check your soil type, compaction, and water table for the area.

The fence is the easiest to take care of. First apply pressure with the chainsaw at the lowest point of the post...just kidding (crack myself up). Anyway, what happens to fences that have been installed for a couple years is a build-up of of grass. Lawns grow vigorously over themselves creating large mats. Thatching and aerating lawns help prevent that matting from occurring. First, see if the fence is buried in lawn. If so, remove the lawn from under the fence at least 1" below the bottom of the fence. If the fence has been there for a while you might have to remove lawn further out from the fence (imagine a long term snow drift building up by your house). Break up the ground to the new seed or sod will take and maybe fill in the low spot will topsoil if needed. Install seed or sod back when you are done. Remember, your lawn is growing vertical and horizontal.

Hope this helps.

This message was edited Jan 7, 2008 3:24 PM

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