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Improve Drainage in Your Yard: Simple Steps for Smart Solutions [2023]

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how to improve drainageGreetings, gardeners! Do you have a lawn that’s constantly waterlogged? Are your plants drooping and wilting due to poor drainage in the soil? If so, then it might be time to consider how you can improve the drainage of your yard.

Having proper soil drainage is essential for healthy grass and strong plant growth. In this article, we’ll discuss several steps on how to improve drainage in order for you to get back on track with creating an inviting outdoor space.

From mixing compost into wet soils, growing water-loving plants, or installing drain tile systems – there are plenty of solutions available if done correctly.

Key Takeaways

  • Conduct a drainage test to determine if the soil is too wet.
  • Different soil types require specific drainage solutions.
  • Adding compost aids drainage in clayey soils.
  • Loamy soils benefit from organic matter and gravel for improved drainage.

How Wet is Your Soil?

how to improve drainage 1
To determine if your soil is too wet, conduct a simple drainage test by digging a hole and filling it with water to see how long it takes for the water to drain away.

Your yard may have different types of soils that require specific solutions, such as vertical drains or other systems designed for particular types of soils. If standing water remains after 24 hours, there is likely an issue with the moisture level or organic matter content of the soil which can be addressed by adding compost and/or choosing plants better suited for poorly drained spots.

Consider creating raised paths or boardwalks in wet areas while rain gardens collect and filter runoff water from surrounding areas into well-drained spots – even bog gardens or ponds can be constructed when needed! Professional help may also be necessary when installing drain tile, but you’ll need shovels, gravel rakes, topsoil, along with corrugated pipe (mesh covered) before getting started on excavating the site carefully so that any altered slope directs surface flow towards desired outlet points camouflaged using stones and groundcovering plants where possible – these are easy steps you can take toward improving poor drainage issues around your property!

Mix in Compost

Mix in Compost
Adding compost to your soil is like giving it a nutrient-rich hug, so why not embrace your garden and give it the TLC it needs? Composting basics include incorporating 3-4 inches of compost into clayey soils in order to aid in drainage solutions.

Loamy soils also benefit from organic matter as this type of soil tends to retain more water than sandy or gravelly types. To improve draining capabilities even further, incorporate several inches of gravel along with the compost.

Not only does this help with poor drainage issues around your property, but you’ll be helping improve the overall health and fertility of the soil too – ensuring that plants are provided optimal growing conditions! With just a few simple steps, you can turn any yard into one full of lush greenery without having to worry about standing water ruining all those hard work hours spent outdoors gardening!

Grow Water-Loving Plants

Grow Water-Loving Plants
Try planting water-loving plants to create a lush oasis in your yard, even if the soil has poor drainage. A drainage test can help determine the level of wetness and provide some insight into potential drainage solutions.

Soil textures with tiny pore spaces can become easily waterlogged, so it’s important to select appropriate plant species for these areas. Water-loving plants have evolved over time to thrive in wetter conditions by having deeper root systems that reach out further for nutrients and oxygen below ground levels.

When choosing which types of plants are best suited for a specific area, take note not only of their preference towards certain soil textures but also their ability to withstand various levels of moisture within those environments, as well as any other environmental factors like direct sunlight or shade requirements too!

With careful consideration when selecting both flowerbeds and foliage varieties based on these criteria, you will be able to create a beautiful landscape no matter what type of terrain you’re working with – even if it is prone to poorer draining habits than usual!

Build a Rain Garden

Build a Rain Garden
Constructing a rain garden can help reduce runoff water and attract wildlife to your yard, with up to 90% of the collected water being absorbed directly into the soil. It is an ideal solution for seasonal drainage issues or areas that are prone to soil saturation.

Rain gardens also provide beneficial habitats for local wildlife and act as natural filtration systems – helping protect against soil erosion while also providing visual appeal.

If you have a wet area but don’t want the hassle of maintaining a small pond, consider building a rain garden instead! This will allow excess moisture from storms or higher-than-usual precipitation levels to flow away from your home without damaging any surrounding structures on its journey downslope towards drainage systems in place around town.

A great way to make sure that all elements within your landscape design complement each other is by incorporating native species into the mix when planting out shrubs and perennials near these new additions; this will ensure they look their best throughout every season whether there’s lots (or little) rainfall around at any given time making them thrive even more than expected over time too – an added bonus indeed!

Create a Bog Garden or Pond

Create a Bog Garden or Pond
If you’re looking for a terrific solution to poor drainage, consider creating a bog garden or pond. Not only will this filter runoff water and create an appealing landscape feature, but it will also attract insects and other wildlife to your yard.

Subsurface tile drains can be installed around the perimeter of the water feature to ensure adequate soil drainage while still maintaining its natural look.

This type of landscaping project requires some expertise, so be sure to consult with professionals before starting construction on any major changes. It’s always better to be safe than sorry! With proper planning and execution, though, your newly formed bog garden or pond should provide years’ worth of enjoyment for both yourself and nearby wildlife.

Install Drain Tile

Install Drain Tile
If you need to improve drainage in your yard, installing drain tile is an effective solution. To begin the installation process, first dig a trench and spread gravel along the bottom before laying down corrugated drainage tile with a slight slope towards the lower elevation of your property.

Next, cover and protect any exposed pipes with additional gravel before camouflaging them at their outlet with stones or ground cover for aesthetic purposes.

What You Need

You’ll need the right tools: shovel, gravel, rake, corrugated drainage tile, topsoil, and stones/groundcover. Consider soil types for moisture retention and drainage levels. Dig an 18-inch-deep trench to install underground drain tile with a slope towards the outlet.

Cover the pipe with wire mesh to prevent clogging from soil particles; camouflage the outlet as desired.

Step 1: Dig a Trench

Dig a trench 18 inches deep to lay the drain tile, ensuring that it slopes towards the outlet for proper drainage. Uncover areas of your yard with a simple test and excavate soil to install the entire drainage pipe.

Cover the pipe with wire mesh; clean debris off regularly to prevent soil blockage. The slope helps move water from low to high levels in slow-draining soil zones into the designated drainage area.

Step 2: Spread Gravel

Spread gravel on top of the drain tile to prevent soil blockage. Mix layers of gravel and soil for optimal plant growth. Ensure proper drainage slope with mesh protection from heavy equipment. Provide enough surface-level material for tile installation and excavation needs.

Step 3: Cover and Protect Pipe

Cover the drain tile with gravel to prevent soil blockage and create an ideal surface for plant growth. Consider drainage issues, solutions, and water flow when planning. Ensure the pipe’s outlet is clear by using landscape trade methods such as adding soil conditioners or organic matter.

Step 4: Camouflage Outlet

Camouflage the outlet with stones or a moisture-loving groundcover to add beauty and ensure water flows away. Protect from soil blockage by using wire mesh, preventing critters from entering the pipe.

Soils and Soil Drainage

Soils and Soil Drainage
Experience the joy of healthy plants with well-drained soil, and tackle drainage issues before they become costly problems. Soil moisture levels affect plant health, so it’s important to understand water levels in your yard when dealing with poor soil drainage.

For big rain events or areas where soggy soils linger too long, adding compost mix can help improve drainage over time. Sandy soils may require more frequent watering than other types as they tend to drain quickly after a storm event.

On the other hand, clayey or waterlogged soils are best drained by installing drain tile underground. This will divert excess water away from plants’ roots and into an area for proper disposal, such as a drywell or bog garden at the lowest point on your property.

If you have specific questions about improving soil drainage in your landscape setting, be sure to consult with local experts who can provide advice tailored specifically for you!

Post Navigation

Post Navigation
Navigate the drainage journey with ease by learning how to manage soil moisture levels and take advantage of techniques that offer relief from soggy soils.

  1. Test water quality.
  2. Design appropriate drainage systems.
  3. Choose plants suited for your soil type.
  4. Create compaction layers for better water absorption in landscapes.
  5. Incorporate drainage basins where possible.

Good news is there are many labor-intensive solutions available like garden plants or raised paths which can help quickly alleviate wetness issues in yards. When selecting plant-available water sources such as rain gardens or ponds, ensure enough area space is provided so they don’t become overwhelmed during heavy rains.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best way to determine the moisture level in my soil?

The best way to determine the moisture level in your soil is to conduct a simple drainage test. Dig a hole, fill it with water, and observe if standing water remains after 24 hours – this indicates possible drainage issues.

Are rain gardens suitable for all climates?

Rain gardens are suitable for most climates; however, the type of vegetation and size may vary. Depending on the rainfall levels and soil characteristics in your area, you can customize a rain garden to suit your needs.

Is there an alternative to installing drain tile?

Yes! Other solutions include adding compost to improve drainage over time, choosing water-loving plants for areas with poor drainage, constructing raised paths or boardwalks in soggy areas, and creating bog gardens or ponds.

Is compost necessary for improving drainage?

Compost is beneficial for improving soil drainage. It helps to break up clay and other heavy soils, aerates the soil, and increases water retention.

What are the benefits of growing water-loving plants?

Growing water-loving plants can provide a variety of benefits. They resist disease better than other types, require less maintenance and care in wet conditions, and attract wildlife to your yard.


In conclusion, improving soil drainage can be done on your own or with a bit of professional help. The best tactic is to determine the moisture level and duration of wetness in your yard, and then take action based on that information.

You can mix in compost, plant water-loving plants, or build a rain garden to improve drainage. If the issue is too severe, you can try installing drain tile so the water can move away from your plants.

Time is of the essence if you want to keep your plants in tip-top condition. With the right approach, you can take your garden to the next level and reap the rewards of a lush, healthy outdoor space.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.