How To Achieve Better Yard Drainage (Easy Fix)

I have a beautiful yard, but I don’t think of it as a “green space.” It’s just my yard. But recently I’ve been thinking about ways to make my yard more environmentally friendly and the one thing that came to mind was drainage. 

My neighbor has had some pretty bad flooding problems, so I started researching how to better manage water in my own lawn and garden. 

It turns out there are lots of simple things you can do if your yard is prone to flooding or just gets soggy after heavy rainfalls:

How to Fix Tough Backyard Drainage Problems
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How to absorb standing water in yard easy way
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Digging A French Drain

A French drain is a trench that collects water, redirecting it away from where it may cause damage. 

The trench should be at least 2 feet deep and lined with gravel or other material that allows the water to pass through. You may also use pieces of wood, bricks or even concrete blocks if they fit in your budget.

Once the French drain is complete, you can begin filling it with soil from the top down until there’s enough to cover both sides of your trench (about 6 inches). 

This will help prevent roots from growing into your drainage system as well as keep any weeds out of your yard drainage system.

If your backyard is experiencing poor drainage, it can result in a number of issues such as standing water, soil erosion, and damaged plants. Check out our guide on how to add backyard drainage to fix this issue and prevent further damage.

Regarding Your Yard

To properly grade your yard, you’ll want to remove excess soil from the yard and add topsoil. Then, add compost and mulch. If it’s sandy in your area, consider adding sand as well. 

Finally, if you live in an area where water tends to pool on driveways or sidewalks or if you simply like a more natural look try adding gravel or stones instead of artificial materials like bark chips.

Creating A Dry Stream Bed

A dry stream bed is a shallow ditch that diverts water away from your home. They can be created in many ways and have a few advantages over other types of drainage systems, including:

  • They’re easy to make and don’t require any expensive materials or equipment.
  • They can be used to direct water away from specific areas of your yard, such as gardens and trees.
  • They’re unobtrusive enough that they won’t detract from the aesthetic appeal of your property.

Do you want to reduce the amount of water in your backyard? Consider learning more about how to absorb water in your backyard with our expert tips and easy fixes.

Planting A Rain Garden

Rain gardens are shallow depressions in the ground that collect rainwater runoff from roofs, driveways, and other hard surfaces. 

The water collects in the garden’s soil and is slowly released into the ground. Rain gardens have many benefits:

  • They keep stormwater out of sewers where it can cause flooding during heavy rains or blockages due to debris buildup
  • They reduce erosion by slowing down rainwater as it flows over your lawn and into the soil instead of rushing into ponds or drains that lead directly to storm drains
  • They provide wildlife habitat for birds and insects

Growing Ground Cover Instead Of Lawn

Growing ground cover instead of lawn is a good way to reduce your yard’s water usage, as well as maintenance and mowing costs. 

Ground covers can be used to prevent erosion and weeds, and they’ll also help keep your yard looking lush without requiring much in the way of watering or fertilizing.

If you’re interested in planting some ground cover but aren’t sure where to start, here are some options:

Standing water in your yard can cause a number of issues such as attracting mosquitoes and other unwanted insects, resulting in foul odors, and even causing damage to your plants. Check out our tips on how to absorb standing water in your yard to avoid these issues.

Adding Mulch Or Compost On Top Of The Soil

You can also add mulch or compost to the top of your soil. Mulch is a layer of organic material that is spread on the soil to retain moisture, keep weeds from growing, and improve drainage. 

Compost is made by decomposing organic material like leaves and grass clippings. Both mulch and compost are good for your yard because they add nutrients to help plants grow better in addition to improving drainage.

Adding Plants That Thrive In Damp Soil

There are many options for plants that enjoy wet, swampy conditions. The best way to determine what will work best in your yard is to do some research about the types of plants that thrive in damp soil. 

This can be done by talking with your local nursery or reading online articles about the types of plants that are appropriate for your area.

Ground cover – Ground covers are great because they spread out quickly and create a beautiful blanket over the ground that adds beauty as well as reduces weeds from growing through cracks and crevices.

Perennials – Perennials come back year after year, making them an excellent investment in any landscaping project. 

They also tend to be drought tolerant so if you’re going away on vacation or simply forget to water them once in a while, they will still be there when you get back home!

Shrubs – Shrubs are also a fantastic choice because they offer beauty while also providing a lot of shade/shelter during hot summer days! 

It’s important though not just any shrub will do either; make sure whatever type(s) you choose fits well into its intended spot within your garden design plan so not only does it make sense visually but also physically too since most shrubs need room around them so their roots can grow properly without being restricted by walls or fences.

Trees – One final option worth considering is having trees planted near where there isn’t much drainage at all; this will help provide better drainage around said location as well as give off more oxygen into our air which helps keep everything healthy down below too.”

Excess water in your yard can lead to a number of issues, including soil erosion, damage to your plants, and even structural damage to your home’s foundation. Learn about how to absorb excess water in your yard and prevent further damage in our expert guide.

Improving Clay Soil With Sand Or Compost

If you have clay soil, it’s time to get some help from a friend. Sand and compost are two of the best ways to improve your heavy and compacted clay soil. 

You can add sand or compost by layering it into your yard with a tiller, which will make for easier planting in the future.

To do this, first till up your entire yard and remove any rocks that are larger than about 1/4 inch (6 mm) in diameter. 

Then, spread a layer of sand about 3 inches deep across the topsoil. Next, use a rake to smooth out any clumps so that there aren’t any hills or depressions left behind from compaction this will keep water flowing smoothly through your yard instead of pooling around clumps of soil! 

Wait until all moisture has dried up before adding another layer; this may take several days depending on how thickly you applied it, but don’t worry if there are still damp spots because they’ll dry out eventually just keep applying more until you’re satisfied with how much work has been done here!

Reducing Water Use During Dry Months

The best way to ensure you don’t overwater your plants is to be aware of how much rain you’ve received. 

A rain gauge can help you track rainfall and predict when your plants need water. You should also consider using a hose with a shut-off nozzle on the end so that you only use as much water as necessary each time.

If your yard has poor drainage, there are other ways to save water:

  • Drain hoses after each use – keeping them full of water can lead to mold or bacteria growth, which will cause disease in your grass and other plants.
  • Use a rain barrel to collect any extra runoff from downspouts – this will allow it to soak into the ground instead of running off onto pavement or concrete surfaces where it evaporates quickly (and wastes precious natural resources).

Proper backyard lighting can help improve the overall look and feel of your outdoor space, as well as provide added safety and security. Check out our guide on how to add yard lights for an easy way to improve your backyard ambiance.

Diverting Runoff From Paved Areas To The Yard Or Flowerbeds

Divert runoff from paved areas to the yard or flowerbeds. If you have a lawn and driveways, they should be connected to the landscape so that rainwater can be absorbed into the soil instead of rushing off your property and down storm drains.

Use a rain barrel. Rain barrels are inexpensive and easy-to-install water storage containers that collect rainwater from your roof and store it for future use on your plants or lawn (such as watering). 

If you have more than one garden area, consider putting more than one barrel on your property they make great decorative accessories too! The best part is that you’ll never have to worry about paying for outdoor irrigation again!

Using Rain Barrels To Reuse Rainwater For Irrigation

Rain barrels are an easy way to reuse rainwater for irrigation. They can be used for watering the garden or yard, and they can also be used to water plants in pots, the lawn or a pond. 

Rain barrels typically require minimal installation just screwing it into place on your downspout and provide cost savings over purchased water by about 10%. 

If you’re interested in using a rain barrel but aren’t sure where to start, here’s how to get one up and running:

Measure the size of your downspout before buying a rain barrel. You may need two or more barrels depending on how much water flows from your roof during heavy rains (you’ll want at least one barrel per inch). 

For example, if you have 12-inch downspouts coming off of your roof then I recommend getting two 50-gallon drums that fit snugly between each other so they line up with both ends of each downspout (see photo above). 

In addition to getting different size barrels for different-sized roofs there are also different types available depending on what type of debris needs removing from standing water like leaves before use such as mesh liners which allow fish to oxygenate through while keeping out insects etcetera).

Rain Barrel Irrigation Systems

Good Ideas Rain Wizard50 GallonsMolded polyethyleneSpigot installation
Algreen Cascata65 GallonsPolyethyleneLink multiple barrels together
Impressions Nantucket50 GallonsPolyethyleneFlat-back design for easy placement
Suncast Resin Barrel50 GallonsResinEasy to install with included hose
EarthMinded RainStation90 GallonsPolyethyleneOverflow hose that diverts rainwater

Collecting Water In Household Containers For Reuse In The Yard

When you’re collecting water for reuse in your garden, try to use containers that are as large and sturdy as possible. 

This will help prevent contaminants from entering the container and make it easier to clean. If you don’t have a large, sturdy container available, consider using recycled materials such as discarded barrels or drums. 

You can also opt for commercial products such as rain barrels or tanks with built-in spigots that allow easy access to the stored water.

A rainwater harvesting system is another option for collecting rainwater for reuse in your yard, garden or flowerbeds. 

These systems collect runoff from rooftops using gutters and downspouts before distributing it across the landscape via underground piping systems that deliver water directly where you need it most right at plant roots!

Household Containers for Yard Water Reuse

ContainerCapacityBest Use
Plastic Barrels55 GallonsCollecting water from gutters and downspouts
Trash Cans32-45 GallonsCollecting water from roof runoff
Plastic Totes100-250 GallonsCollecting water from larger areas such as the lawn
Rain Barrels50-70 GallonsAesthetically pleasing and efficient
Glass Carboys5-6 GallonsCompact and portable


These are just a few of the ways that you can improve drainage in your yard. We’re sure there are many others, too! 

Remember that you don’t need a lot of money or time to make these changes just an interest in taking care of your environment and some elbow grease. 

If you have any questions about how to get started or which type of project is right for you, feel free to reach out.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources on achieving better yard drainage:

Check out this article from The Family Handyman on how to achieve better yard drainage with step-by-step instructions and diagrams.

Forbes has put together a list of yard drainage solutions for homeowners looking to improve the drainage in their outdoor space.

Learn about how to improve yard drainage through a variety of techniques with this guide from LawnStarter: Improve Drainage in Your Yard.


What are some common reasons for poor yard drainage?

Poor yard drainage can be caused by a variety of factors such as compacted soil, improper grading, blocked or inadequate drainage systems, or a high water table.

How can I tell if my yard has poor drainage?

If you notice standing water in your yard after it rains, unusually low spots, soil erosion, or a foul smell, it may be an indication that your yard has poor drainage.

What are some signs of a failing drainage system?

Signs of a failing drainage system include slow drainage, unusual sounds or odors, or water backing up into your home or yard.

What can I do to improve yard drainage?

There are several techniques you can use to improve yard drainage, such as adding a French drain or dry well, regrading your yard, or installing new gutter systems.

Do I need a professional to improve my yard drainage?

It depends on the severity of the drainage issue and your level of experience with outdoor maintenance. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult a professional for advice and assistance.