What can I do about poor drainage in my yard?

If you’ve noticed water pooling in your yard after a rainstorm, you might be dealing with poor drainage. It’s a common issue that can lead to soggy lawns, damaged plants, and even structural problems if not addressed. The good news is there are ways to tackle this problem and keep your yard looking its best. From adjusting the slope of your land to incorporating natural drainage solutions, there are plenty of options to help you manage water effectively. In this blog post, Liberty Heritage Nursery Farm helps to explore what you can do to improve drainage in your yard!

Understanding the Causes of Poor Drainage

Topography and Slope

The natural slope of your yard can significantly impact drainage. Flat or low-lying areas can accumulate water, leading to waterlogging. In contrast, a well-graded yard allows water to flow away from your home and other structures.  Topography and slope play a crucial role in the drainage of your yard. The natural contours of the land determine how water flows across the surface. A well-graded yard allows water to drain away from your home and other structures, preventing waterlogging and potential damage. Conversely, a flat or low-lying yard can lead to water pooling and poor drainage. To improve drainage, consider regrading your yard to create a gentle slope away from your house. This change can help guide water to appropriate runoff areas, reducing the risk of flooding and keeping your yard healthy.

Soil Type

The soil in your yard plays a crucial role in drainage. Clay soils tend to retain water, leading to waterlogging, while sandy soils drain quickly. Understanding your soil type can help you choose the right solutions for your yard. The type of soil in your yard has a significant impact on drainage. Clay soils tend to retain water due to their fine particle size, leading to waterlogged areas and poor drainage. 

Sandy soils, on the other hand, drain quickly and may not hold enough moisture for plants. Loamy soils offer a balanced mix of sand, silt, and clay, providing good drainage and moisture retention. Understanding your soil type helps you choose the right solutions for managing water and supporting healthy plant growth in your yard.

Soil type plays a key role in managing drainage issues in home lawns in Liberty Township. Clay soils, common in the area, can lead to waterlogged lawns, while sandy soils may not hold enough moisture. Loamy soils are ideal for balanced drainage. To identify your soil type, conduct a simple soil test or consult a local landscaping expert.

Once you know your soil type, you can choose the best solutions to improve drainage. Adding organic matter can enhance soil structure and drainage. If needed, local drainage experts can provide targeted solutions such as soil amendments, grading, and other measures to fix drainage issues and keep your lawn healthy.

Poor Landscaping

Inadequate landscaping can contribute to poor drainage. Overcrowded plants, excessive mulch, and improper grading can impede water flow. Addressing these issues is crucial for improving drainage. Poor landscaping can contribute to poor drainage in your yard. Overcrowded plants and improper planting techniques can block water flow and lead to waterlogging. Excessive use of mulch or soil around plants can trap water against your home’s foundation, causing potential damage. Additionally, planting water-loving plants in areas prone to pooling can exacerbate drainage problems. It’s essential to create a landscape design that accounts for water flow and avoids potential obstacles.

By hiring a professional landscaping service, you can address these issues effectively. Landscapers can assess your yard’s unique drainage challenges and design a plan that balances aesthetics with functionality. They can recommend the right plants and placement, improve grading, and incorporate drainage solutions to keep your yard healthy and beautiful.

Blocked Drains and Gutters

Clogged drains and gutters can cause water to pool around your home, leading to poor drainage. Regular maintenance of these systems is necessary to ensure proper water flow. Blocked drains and gutters can lead to significant drainage issues in your yard. When gutters and downspouts are clogged with leaves, debris, and other materials, water can’t flow away from your home properly. Instead, it pools around your foundation or in your yard, causing erosion and potential structural damage. Keeping drains and gutters clear is essential for managing water runoff effectively.

A drainage solution service can help you maintain and clean your drains and gutters regularly. Professionals can ensure your systems function correctly, preventing clogs and safeguarding your home and yard from water damage. Investing in regular maintenance services is a proactive approach to keep your property in good condition.

Hardscaping and Impervious Surfaces

Hardscaping, such as concrete and asphalt, can prevent water from soaking into the ground, causing runoff and pooling. Permeable materials and proper design can help mitigate this issue. Hardscaping and impervious surfaces can significantly impact drainage in your yard. Hardscaping materials like concrete, asphalt, and traditional pavers create solid surfaces that do not allow water to penetrate. As a result, rainwater can pool on these surfaces and create runoff, potentially causing erosion and drainage issues. Impervious surfaces also limit the soil’s ability to absorb water, which can lead to waterlogged areas in your yard.

Working with a professional hardscaping service can help you manage these challenges. Experts can suggest permeable paving options that allow water to pass through while maintaining the aesthetics of your landscape. They can also design hardscaping features that incorporate proper grading and drainage solutions, helping you achieve a beautiful, functional yard that manages water effectively.

Assessing the Drainage Problem

  • Observe Your Yard

Take time to observe your yard during and after rain. Look for areas where water pools or flows excessively. Note the direction of water flow and the time it takes for water to drain away.

  • Soil Testing

Conduct a soil test to determine your soil’s composition and drainage capacity. This will help you choose the most appropriate drainage solutions.

  • Check Gutters and Downspouts

Inspect your gutters and downspouts for blockages and proper function. Ensure that water flows away from your home’s foundation.

  • Survey Your Yard

A professional survey can provide a detailed analysis of your yard’s topography and existing drainage systems. This information is valuable for designing effective drainage solutions.

Solutions for Poor Drainage

  • Adjusting Grading

Regrading your yard can redirect water away from your home and other structures. This may involve adding or removing soil to create a proper slope.

  • Installing French Drains

French drains are trenches filled with gravel and a perforated pipe. They collect and direct water away from problem areas. This is an effective solution for managing excess water.

  • Creating a Rain Garden

A rain garden is a planted area designed to absorb and filter rainwater. This natural solution can help manage water runoff while providing aesthetic appeal.

  • Adding Dry Wells

Dry wells are underground structures that collect and disperse water. They work well for managing water runoff from roofs and driveways.

  • Incorporating Permeable Paving

Permeable paving materials, such as porous concrete or pavers, allow water to seep through the surface and into the ground. This helps reduce runoff and improve drainage.

  • Building Retaining Walls and Swales

Retaining walls can help manage water flow and prevent erosion. Swales, or shallow channels, guide water away from your home and can be integrated into your landscaping.

  • Installing Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are installed in basements or crawl spaces to pump out excess water. This is a crucial solution if your home is prone to flooding.

Maintenance and Prevention

  • Regular Gutter Cleaning

Clean your gutters and downspouts regularly to prevent blockages. This ensures that water flows away from your home properly.

  • Trim Vegetation

Overgrown vegetation can impede water flow and contribute to poor drainage. Regularly trim trees, shrubs, and other plants to maintain clear pathways for water.

  • Manage Mulch and Soil

Avoid piling mulch and soil too close to your home. This can trap water against your foundation and lead to drainage issues.

  • Check for Leaks

Leaks in your water lines can contribute to water pooling in your yard. Inspect your pipes and faucets regularly for signs of leaks.

  • Monitor Changes

Keep an eye on any changes in your yard’s drainage over time. New construction, landscaping changes, or other alterations can affect water flow.


What is the solution for drainage problem?

One popular solution to a drainage problem is to route rain water to a low point in your yard where it can flow away from the house naturally over rocks in a dry creek bed. In particularly heavy storm events, the debris washed away from by excess water will be captured in a catch basin (pictured).

How can I improve my ground drainage?

A key practice for improving soil drainage is incorporating organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure. Organic matter improves soil structure by increasing soil aggregation which allows for more and varied pore sizes. Soil aggregates are groups of mineral particles that bind together.

How do you fix soil that doesn’t drain?

Adding lots of organic matter such as compost, farm manure, or shredded leaves to clayey soil will allow it to drain more easily and hold the right amounts of water and air for better plant growth and increased biological activity.

How can I improve my waterlogged soil?

To dry out soil quickly, you can apply hydrated lime to the soil, add compost and then turn the soil thoroughly to aerate it. Adding hydrated lime and compost will help absorb the water in your soil, and turning it all will help distribute the water in the waterlogged soil throughout your garden.

What type of soil has poor drainage?

The worst drainage problems typically occur in clay soils that bind together, thereby creating a dense, almost solid surface. These soils are also referred to as adobe, gumbo, caliche, hardpan, or heavy soil. Due to their tendency to be watertight, such clay soils are often used in the making of ceramics.


Improving poor drainage in your yard can transform it into a healthier, more vibrant space. By identifying the causes of water accumulation and implementing targeted solutions like French drains, rain gardens, or permeable paving, you can manage water more effectively and protect your property. Regular maintenance and monitoring will help prevent future drainage issues and keep your yard in great shape. Remember, taking proactive steps now will save you from bigger problems down the road and ensure your yard remains a beautiful, functional area for you and your family to enjoy!

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