A beautiful lawn and well-maintained yard is always something to admire. When all of your hard work goes into creating the backyard oasis you have always dreamed of is ruined because of excess water.
A major problem that many homeowners face is water drainage issues. Water can easily run into your yard from neighboring properties, heavy rainfalls, melting snow, roof run-off, and many other possibilities.
The real question is how can we remove the water, what are the best ways to divert water from the yard? Sometimes diverting water away from your yard is easy, however, the answer could be different for any yard.
The fastest and easiest way to divert water away from your lawn is to create a drainage system. A simple solution to divert water in your yard is installing a French drain. It isn’t the only option, but it is something you can do yourself.
Water accumulation in the yard can sometimes be a serious problem, causing considerable damage if not addressed. I highly recommend figuring out where the water is coming from and why it isn’t draining away from your property.
Why Does Water Stand in My Yard?
There could be many reasons that lead to standing water in your yard, some of which you may never really have thought about.
Grading and landscaping is critical when looking at water drainage issues on your property. In the best-case scenarios, your yard slopes one way or the other leading into a road or just away from your property. However, this isn’t always the case.
When your yard is sloped towards one area or is completely flat your yard be susceptible to pooling water. The next step is figuring out what needs to be done for the water to be able to drain.
Soil texture and density are some of the main causes for water drainage issues in your yard. Soil can become so dense that water won’t even pass through. Sometimes, changing your soil may help with diverting water away from your yard.
Maintaining a clean lawn is important if you want to prevent water drainage issues. If your lawn surface is clogged or not well maintained, it can prevent water from being absorbed to the ground easily. In other words, it’s similar to a clogged pipe scenario. The clearer the opening, the easier the flow.
Thatch is a layer of dead grass and hard soil that acts as a shield to water. In these cases, water does not seep through the top surface, which is what is causing the pooling.
The best fix for thatch is aeration, but find more info in our “How to improve waterlogged soil” article.
In some cases, the drained water does not go down into the depths of the land and can remain underneath the surface of the earth. If there’s too much rain, this groundwater can start accumulating, and eventually surface back to the soil in your yard. Therefore a proper drainage system needs to be constructed to drain and divert the water away properly.
9 Ways How to Divert Water in Yard
While drainage problems in the yard can be worrisome, they aren’t always a massive issue and can be fixed. In most cases, it takes non-complex strategies that involve following a few easy steps. The following are some of these solutions:
1. Install a Sump Pump
Sump pumps are used to remove accumulated water in both indoor and outdoor settings. A sump pump is connected to a discharge pipe and includes a float and check valves. The water is collected, pumped, and sent through the discharge pipe. This way, it is made to exit your yard. It’s important to know how to do this the right way.
You should always follow the steps carefully when setting it up. Ideally, you can find experts to handle it, whether you need to install and set it up, or you need to have it checked and repaired. There are different types of pumps, and each works differently. If you pick the right one for your yard, set it up, and get it to work perfectly, your water accumulation issues can be kept under control quite effectively.
This system is super effective in diverting water away from your yard, especially in the cases that might seem impossible.
2. French Drains
A french drain is another great solution to drainage issues. The best thing about this is is that it does not involve excessive work. Nor does it have a difficult set-up process. A french drain is installed by digging up a trench, installing a pipe, and/or filling it up with gravel or rock.
Once set up, it works in such a way that water is drained out naturally from your yard. You will need to choose equipment (like pipes) accordingly, consider the size of your yard, and how bad your drainage problem is. If you wish, you could top it off with some topsoil or sods to cover the drain completely.
Two crucial things in the process are to correctly identify where the water gets accumulated and decide where you want to divert the excess water. These are two important decisions you need to make with care. Aim to divert water with gravity, meaning downhill and away from flooding.
3. Relocate the Rain Gutter/Downspout
Rain gutters and downspouts are usually quite effective when it comes to draining out collected water. However, if there are certain issues in your yard that prevent you from setting them up, you may want to consider moving the downspout system to an appropriate place. Or, perhaps, you could even connect it directly to a drainage system.
This way, you’ll be able to prevent or minimize, the water accumulation in your yard. Although it may not sound like a foolproof solution, there is still a possibility that it could improve or even fix the issue. Keep in mind that you’d probably need professional help to have this sort of a major plumbing job done. If you think you cannot handle it, make sure you call the pros!
4. Dry Well
A water accumulation problem usually arises when the water collected after the rains end up simply draining into any area of the soil or ground in your yard. Usually, only certain areas of your yard’s soil may facilitate the proper draining of water. If the water reaches these areas, it’s likely to drain through into the depths of the ground. If not, you could have drainage trouble.
By installing a dry well, you are assured that all the water is directed to and drained into the dry well. This way, it will flow down to the depths of your yard. When this happens, you won’t have water surfacing and stagnating on the soil. The key is to identify the right spot to install a dry well and also make sure the soil at the chosen spot is of the right type (you may have to test the soil). Sometimes, you also may need legal permission to have a dry well installed in your specific location.
Hiring a local expert to install the dry well is recommended, but not necessarily required.
5. Build a Dry Creek
This might be a budget-friendly solution to taking care of drainage issues. It isn’t very complex either. A little digging and landscaping is all that it takes to create a creek in a specific spot in your yard. When it rains, the creek will start filling up, the water starts flowing and will exit the yard naturally.
It’s important to identify and pick a proper exit point before you build the creek accordingly. This way, the water can leave the yard without any problem. The creek will look like a natural stream, although a temporary one that runs through your yard. You also need to make sure that the creek is a suitable size. Of course, as mentioned, it should head to an appropriate exit point, and not into the neighbor’s garden!
6. Swale Drain System
Swale drains are channels that you can build by digging and landscaping to have gentle slopes on the side. This allows running water to slope into it and soak away. Swale drains are also used as a transport system that carries water into a draining point such as a dry well. A small swale drain is easy to create yourself. However, if you want to build a large one as a solution to the drainage problem, you may need professional support. Soil quality and proper construction are key factors that make swale drains work effectively.
7. Fix Soil Problems
While several solutions are available to solve drainage issues, you also may want to check the soil in your yard and have any issues fixed. It’s important to have quality soil that has the right texture and density so that it can absorb and drain water effectively.
Problems in your soil can always hinder your attempts to solve drainage issues, no matter what method or strategy you opt for. Thus, before you apply one, or as you do, make sure to pay an equal amount of attention to your soil, too.
8. Excavation of Land (Fix Grade)
Excavating the land and grading may help improve the drainage of water in your yard. It’s important to level, grade, and ensure that the surface of the land is in the right condition to make water drainage possible.
Sometimes, grading cannot be simply done with the existing land condition. In such cases, you may have to do some excavation and landscaping to create slopes in the right areas to make drainage easier.
The costs associated with excavation are high, but if your land slopes in a way that pools water with no escape it might be the only option. Consult an expert before hiring someone for this expensive job.
9. Install Catch Basin
Catch basins are usually installed at a low point in the land to collect, hold, and then drain water to allow it to exit the property. Catch basins are made from highly durable material, such as certain types of plastic. They have a grate on top and piping systems that transport collected water to local waterways or the main medium for drainage. You can purchase these from local stores, opting for a decent sized one as per your requirement.
Installing requires digging and proper drain routes to divert water appropriately.
As you can see, there is no need to panic about water accumulation and drainage issues in your outdoor area. At the same time, don’t overlook the matter or leave it unattended. Sometimes it is a simple fix you may not have considered and all it takes to solve the problem is proper research.
Identifying the cause is key to applying an effective solution. Also, make sure to call the professionals when needed, so they can work their magic and fix the problem once and for all.
After seeing 9 different ways how to divert water in yard you should have an idea of what to do next! Good luck fixing your water drainage issues and feel free to ask any questions below.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.