top of page


Regardless of how well-planned and planted your garden is or how far along you are in the landscaping process, yard drainage is something you should not overlook. Your garden, lawn, and even your house will remain in top condition for many more years if you do this.

To protect your landscape and your home's foundation from water damage, you should install yard drainage. There are a variety of yard drainage systems to choose from, each suited to a particular yard layout and grade.

As landscape architects, we can attest that every yard needs some drainage. So, here's why.

What is a drainage system?

Instead of causing damage to your landscape, drainage systems move water to a location where it will not do any harm, such as the street. Depending on the number of trouble spots, some yards may need a more extensive drainage system than others. Gravity may redirect water in specific drainage systems, while others require a sump pump. If your yard has puddles, even when there hasn't been much rain, then installing a drainage system can be the solution for you.

What are the benefits of a drainage system in your yard?

1. Prevents damage from water

Poor drainage can harm your home's foundation. There's more water moving through your yard during a strong storm. This fast-moving water might push its way through fractures in your foundation if sufficient drainage is absent. Besides damaging your home's foundation, this also allows water to seep into your basement, which is an additional concern.

2. Protects soil from erosive forces

Some dirt from your landscaping may be shifted to other parts of your yard when it rains, which is soil erosion. If you don't have sufficient drainage, this displacement may lead to soil depth difficulties, which can harm your landscape over time.

3. Prevents water from accumulating

Standing water in your yard may damage your landscape and be a threat to you and your family's animals. You will have to deal with water damage to your basement as a result. To make matters worse, puddles of water may be a blight on the landscape and attract mosquitoes as well.

4. Ensures healthy backyard vegetation

Drainage removes extra water from the yard by gravity or artificial techniques. Drainage improves soil aeration and plant nutrient absorption. Due to a sound drainage system, grass, trees, and plants will grow well.

What are the common causes of drainage problems in your yard?

1. The poor drainage system can always be associated with potential issues such as bare soil, a property that slopes toward your house, and paved surfaces that funnel water toward the yard. French drains or other innovative gravel and boulders can redirect the water.

2. Planting beds that have been constructed incorrectly or with excessive amounts of dirt or mulch are a common occurrence. Water flows back and forth inside the home due to an increase in elevation and slope around the structure. There are serious issues if the gutters overflow as well. Ensure the planting beds are a few feet away from the house or building.

3. Tree and grassroots can swiftly locate the pipe's source of moisture and gain entry. Once infiltrated the lines, roots can get inside fittings and rapidly develop, causing the fitting to break and attracting all of the water in the pipe. They fill the tube in a short period, necessitating its removal or the use of a root cutting service to clean it manually. Cover the perforated pipe in a filter cloth and glue the joints to prevent the roots from finding a way into the line after you've cleaned it.

4. Surface depressions are another cause of water accumulation or soil saturation. Allowing water to pool in certain areas of the yard causes a mess. It may be possible to ease the issue of water collecting around the foundation of a home or yard by creating a rain gutter or filling in and grading certain sections. Underground catch basins or drains may be required if this doesn't work.

5. Incorrect grading on the part of homeowners, landscapers, and builders may result in the water becoming stuck, or worse, flowing toward the house and into the basement or other parts of the house.

It is preferable if a lot is sloped to drain rain from the house and down to the swale, catch basin, or roadway. A new drainage system is an answer to this watery problem. You may use drains or subsurface drainage to see water that seeps down into the ground, or you might use regrading to reroute the water where it should go.

How should I know if I have a drainage problem in my yard?

There are less obvious signs of incorrect drainage in your yard which may be visible. It is best if you can identify them as soon as possible.

1. A clogged drain or pipe

Nature will always have a way of blowing leaves, dirt, garbage, and stones all over your yard. They have the potential to clog your yard drains, preventing them from properly draining water away from your home.

Leaves prevent water from cascading down the side of your home and accumulating around the structure's foundation. Your gutters will overflow if blocked with leaves and debris or if they are too narrow to handle the quantity of rain that falls on your property.

2. Topsoil changes as a result of rain

To protect your mulch and topsoil, you'll want to ensure that rainfall will get into the drainage system. This process will lessen the clogging of drain covers. This action will also prevent the soil and mulch from entering into paths, dips, and gulleys.

3. Soil eroding in your backyard

A large amount of water in your yard may cause the soil to deteriorate, causing it to sag and slide. This erosion includes spots where the dirt seems to have fallen away from the rest of the landscape. Besides destroying flower beds, decay may also demolish paths, patios, and even foundations in a matter of days. The structure may collapse if the soil under a sidewalk or patio begins to deteriorate. Also, if soil erosion exposes a house's foundation to unacceptable levels, the structure's structural integrity is jeopardized.

4. Other potential signs

Other signs become apparent such as the mud on the outside of your home's siding, the gutter stains caused by dirt or muck, and the peeling and falling off your house's vertical paint.

5. Flooded crawlspace

Any home's moist crawlspace may lead to a wide range of issues. Mold and mildew thrive in wet environments, degrading indoor air quality. An overflowing crawlspace may cause problems with a home's structural integrity, including the roof and flooring concerns. Water pools on your property may also serve as a breeding ground for pests such as mosquitoes and rodents.

6. Twisted flooring

If your yard does not have enough drainage, water may seep into your crawlspace and erode the soil under your home's foundation, causing structural damage. Floorboards may twist, bend, or crack due to excessive moisture in the crawlspace or foundation movement.

How to improve the backyard drainage system?

1. Grow more plants

Grow more plants in your garden, and you will notice an improvement in drainage in no time. It is also a low-cost option that improves the aesthetics of your yard over time. Certain plants despise too much water and cannot endure soggy circumstances.

If you cannot do away with the damp circumstances, the only other option is to choose plants that can tolerate variable moisture levels. The following perennials, shrubs, and trees may be suitable for your landscape: maple tree, common hackberry, American holly, cypress and oak tree, chokeberry, dogwood, winterberry, highbush blueberry, American cranberry bush, Lady's mantle, daylily, wintercreeper, blue phlox, primrose, memorial rose, violet, and yellowroot.

2. Add a French drain

Consider adding a French drain, a wet weather bed, or raised beds to improve drainage in the region.

3. Prick and slice the lawn surface

Drainage problems may be solved by pricking or slicing the lawn's surface with small 2-3cm holes, but using a tool intended to leave deep holes can provide superior results. A free-draining substance like proprietary lawn top dressing or horticulture sand can fill up these gaps, allowing water to escape from the surface to deeper layers that are less compacted.

4. Build a platform bed

To keep your plants out of the squishy dirt below, you'll need to build raised plant beds and fill them with excellent quality, free-draining topsoil. Try using timber railway sleepers or bricks.

5. Improve drainage in the soil

Increasing the permeability of the soil in your beds may help reduce drainage concerns. Ensure your soil is rich in organic matter since excess water will drain while absorbing essential moisture. It is a low-cost, high-impact method to increase soil quality. Meanwhile, adding coarse grit sand to help with drainage is recommended if your soil is sticky and clay-like.

6. Manage the water on the surface

Improve drainage by managing surface water runoff efficiently and adequately. Creating sloping surfaces in your garden is all you need to do to move excess water to a location where it will flow, such as a surface drain or plant bed full of plants that thrive in damp conditions. In this case, we can be of service to you.

7. Install synthetic turf and drainage systems on the property

A permeable sub-base must be constructed underneath the grass to ensure proper drainage. Land drain installation involves:

  • Digging a hole in your yard.

  • Fixing a perforated land drain.

  • Re-covering the spot.

Do this unless needed. The perforated land drain pipe in your grass collects water and directs it to another area of the garden of your choice.

If this seems like a big job it is because it is. If you are looking to repair the drainage system in your Champlain Valley home please consider us for your project.

39 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

New Wave
New Wave
Jan 22, 2022

Great article, thanks.

bottom of page