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Common Yard Drainage Problems and How to Solve Them

Does your yard look like a swamp? Homeowners deal with faulty yard drainage systems more often than you might think. Poor water drainage can cause a plethora of problems that affect your landscape and home. But, solving drainage issues is easy if you know the causes and signs of excess water in your yard.

Causes of flooding

Several factors contribute to a flooded yard. Poor grading, clogged gutters, and hardscape designs are a few of the most common culprits.

Poor grading

As the leading cause of flooding or pooling in lawns, poor grading leaves many homeowners tied up in knots. When your lawn isn’t leveled correctly, water will slide toward your house rather than away from it. As a result, the water will form a pool beside your home’s foundation. This is why an effective yard drainage system needs a sloped lawn.

Clogged gutters

When gutters get clogged, water can’t divert away from your house. This is because the water spills over the side of the gutters and forms puddles near the base of your home.


Common hardscape materials include concrete and asphalt. These materials are primarily used for patios, walkways, and driveways. If not installed properly, a hardscape can be tilted, even if it’s not noticeable to the naked eye. This tilt can result in water cascading toward your house’s foundation. So, while a hardscape design can make beautiful, smooth driveways, it can also contribute to insufficient drainage in the yard.

Symptoms of poor yard drainage

How can you know if your landscape has an inadequate drainage system? It turns out that the signs are easy to recognize once you know what to look for.

Standing water

Standing water is one of the earliest indicators that your lawn isn’t draining. It typically results from low spots in your yard that collect water. You’ll likely see wet spots or small puddles across your grass when you have standing water issues. These are classic signs that the soil which lays your foundation is retaining too much water. Aside from looking for small pools of water in your grass, you can also confirm standing water by checking your soil.

Soggy soil

Note if your lawn feels moist and squishy for longer than 2-3 days after it rains. This means it’s plausible you have standing water. To check your soil, press your finger into it to see if it sticks together and/or molds to your finger. If it does, it’s probably time to start browsing drainage solutions.

Outdoor drain solutions

The good news about yard drainage problems is that there’s a wide range of solutions. Each solution’s objective is to reroute excess water away from the home’s foundation.

Fix grading

Your lawn needs to slant away from the base of your home to ensure water flows away from your foundation. Ideally, the lawn around your house should slope at a 5% incline. You can check your slope ratio by checking the height of the ground that’s about 10 feet away from your house. It should be at least 6 inches lower than the ground next to your foundation to confirm a slope of 5%. To fix the grading of your yard, level your lawn so rainwater flows away from the ground your home sits upon. If it’s only a small adjustment you need to make, you can grade your yard for drainage on your own. An easy way to do this is by scraping away high areas of topsoil and filling in low areas until you have a proper incline. A larger adjustment may require hiring a property drainage contractor.

Rain garden

A popular drainage solution for backyards is creating a rain garden. This is because rain gardens are aesthetically pleasing and have natural water drainage systems. Rain gardens absorb excess water by allowing it to seep into the soil. So, to make an effective rain garden, you need to use plants that can withstand copious amounts of water. Some of these water-loving plants are Weeping Willow, Blue Elderberry, Primrose, and Globeflower. Fun fact: Rain garden habitats often attract beautiful butterflies!

Rain barrel

A rain barrel catches any runoff water from your gutters during a rain episode. You can also use the collected water to irrigate your plants, which is a great way to conserve water. This makes the rain barrel solution a win-win! If you often have very large pools that spill from your gutters, you can expand your barrel system by adding a yard pump for extra drainage. The pump connects the rain barrel to an outlet away from the home’s foundation.

Dry well

A dry well system is a cost-effective yard drainage method. This system incorporates a large underground basin filled with rocks to drain water. If you need to increase the capacity of your dry well, you can connect it to a French drain.

French drain

You can make a French drain by digging a small trench in your yard. Then, fill the trench with a permeable material, like gravel, so water can flow through. A French drain is connected to a downspout that leads water away from your house and into a dry well or other designated outlet.


Aeration happens when you poke holes in your landscape with a sharp object. Making a bunch of small holes in your lawn breaks down compacted soil; thus, it enables water to trickle down. Aerating is a popular yard drainage solution because it’s easy to do yourself. So, if you’re looking for a DIY summer project that’ll keep your lawn healthy, try aerating!

Replacing hardscape

Replacing your hardscape designs with gravel will ensure rainwater can drain. This is a great concrete patio drainage solution because many hardscape patios can end up slightly slanted. As a result, water is encouraged to run toward your home. If you have a large patio with a complicated hardscape layout, consider hiring a yard drainage service. Taking care of flooding on your lawn with these draining solutions is a top priority. When excess water isn’t vacated properly, chaos ensues!

What happens when you neglect yard drainage solutions

The consequences of poor landscape drainage can be costly and frustrating.


Ignoring standing water on your lawn is a health hazard. This is because it attracts uninvited guests like cockroaches and mosquitoes. Nearly every kind of insect needs a source of moisture to survive. Thus, pooling water in your yard will give rise to pests.

A pool in your basement

Shouldn’t the pool go in your backyard? No one wants unexpected flooding in their basement. The most common cause of basement flooding is poor water drainage. Not to mention the water surplus in your basement can also give birth to mold and mildew. Yikes!

RIP plants

Standing water will jeopardize the health of your plants. To state it bluntly, your plants will die. They’ll drown from over-watering in as quickly as four weeks if the water in your yard isn’t drained. Ensuring adequate yard drainage is a necessity for all homeowners. When you keep water away from your home’s foundation, you’ll keep your lawn, gardens, and house in good shape. Wondering who to call for drainage problems in your yard? Exterior Enterprises can help save your yard– and home! Call us today to schedule a consultation with a landscaping professional.

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