How to Keep Water From Pooling in Your Yard

Does your yard look more like a lake than a lawn? You could have some serious drainage issues. We’ll tell you what’s causing the problem and how to keep water from pooling in your yard.


Why is Water Pooling in Your Yard? (And How to Fix It)

To stop water from pooling in your yard, you have to find the cause. Here are the most common causes of standing water and what you can do to correct them. 

1. Overwatering Your Lawn 

Too much water inhibits the growth of grassroots and suffocates your lawn. Even worse? Standing water can cause an imbalance in the soil and may lead to grass fungus.

Solution: Change the way you water your lawn. 

  • Water at the right time: Water early in the morning, so the water has time to evaporate before nightfall. If you can’t water in the morning, wait until the early evening.
  • Water the right amount: Water the soil to a depth of 6 inches with each watering. Wetting the soil deeply promotes grass with strong deep roots that can better withstand drought stress.
  • Use proper water pressure: When setting up a sprinkler system, make sure the water pressure is correct. You want the water to come out in drops and not as mist. Excess water pressure can be wasteful and flood your yard.

2. Clogged Downspouts and Gutters  

Clogged gutters cause water to back up and overflow, sending large amounts of water onto your lawn all at once.

Solution: Clean out downspouts and gutters in the fall and spring to allow water to flow.

  • Check for leaks: You can fix gutter and downspout leaks with waterproof sealant spray or tape. If you see numerous leaks, consider replacing the gutter or downspout.
  • Extend downspouts: The end of your downspouts should be 4 feet or more from your house.
  • Redirect downspouts: The rocks or bricks bordering your flower beds may hold water in the garden. Don’t let the downspouts drain into these flower beds.

3. Thatch Buildup

Thatch is a layer of organic material that builds up around the base of your grass. Warm weather causes thick thatch to dry out and repel the water, so the ground can no longer absorb it.

Solution: Get rid of heavy thatch using a thatching rake, a power rake, or even a garden rake. Go a step further by aerating your lawn. This will break up the compacted soil and allow your lawn to absorb more water.

4. Poor Grading

If your land doesn’t slope properly, water may collect on your lawn faster than it can drain. Improper grading and poor drainage will make the low spots in your yard even worse with each rainfall.

Solution: Regrade your lawn so it slopes away from your house.

  • Create a downward path for water: Point the water toward a storm sewer or roadway.
  • Level your uneven lawn: Fill in the low spots up to one-half inch at a time with a topdressing mixture. If your lawn has extreme highs and lows, you will need to regrade the entire yard. This is best left to professionals.

5. Soil Problems

Soil composed of thick clay is less absorbent and causes drainage problems.

Solution: Change the makeup of your soil. 

  • Apply soil amendments: For existing lawns, apply soil amendments on top of the grass and water immediately. Sand, manure, lime, and compost will break up the clay and create more pathways for water to drain.

6. High Water Table

Water tables can rise when they collect more water than they’re able to drain away often due to heavy rains.

Solution: Work around the water table.

  • Install raised plant beds: A raised garden bed allows you to plant almost anywhere. When choosing a location for a raised garden bed, consider things like sunlight, water drainage, and accessibility to water.
  • Grow the right plants: Use native grasses, sedges, and rushes, as they’re adapted to the environment, have deep roots, and soak up the moisture.

Try to pinpoint the issue causing water to pool in your yard. If you’re unsure what’s causing the excess water, we can help you find a landscaping pro near you to diagnose your pooling water problem.

How to Redirect Pooling Water

Another way to get rid of water pooling in your yard is to give it somewhere to go. You can do this by installing extra drainage. Hire a pro or build these DIY hardscaping features to improve your yard’s drainage and curb appeal. 

Before you get started, call 811 and have the city mark out any potential underground utilities.

Install a French Drain 

A French drain consists of perforated drain pipes buried underground. Stormwater flows into the pipes and out in a more suitable area. You’ll need to direct it toward a storm drain or an appropriate section of the landscape, like near a tree or a rain garden.

You can build your own French drain or hire a professional. Check with your local municipality to see if they require a permit for this project.

Install a Dry Well

A dry well is a lined hole in the earth that works as a catch basin. It temporarily holds collected water that will slowly seep back into the soil. Dry wells should be big enough to hold runoff without spilling over during average rainstorms.

Dry wells range from low-cost hand-dug pits filled with rocks and permeable landscaping fabric to pricey perforated concrete or polyethylene tanks. Regardless of the design, you can conceal a dry well with turf for cover or an open grate for simple monitoring.

Build a Dry Creek Bed

A dry creek bed is an appealing hardscaping feature that requires very little upkeep and is an efficient drainage solution. Once the dry creek bed is set up, you can add plants to the edges to improve its appearance and give the stone elements some balance.

Plant a Rain Garden

A rain garden is nothing more than a planting space you install in a low part of your yard. A rain garden will direct gutter runoff into a lovely planting area. This acts as a natural filter and sponge to purify the water as it seeps into the surrounding soil.

When designing a rain garden, make sure the garden is at least 10 feet from any foundation and sloping away from your home.

FAQ About How to Deal With Pooling Water

1. How do I divert water from my driveway?

Installing a French drain or swale is the easiest way to channel runoff away from your driveway. A swale is a gravel-lined open trench with sloping sides.

2. What can I put in my yard to absorb water?

Sand, garden compost, leaf mold, and compost additions will loosen up soil that doesn’t absorb water very well. For hardpan soil, you’ll need a shovel to break it up.

3. Do rocks help with drainage?

Yes. Rocks are great components of a yard’s drainage system since they do not compact or deteriorate over time and do not need ongoing maintenance.

Don’t ignore standing water in your yard. The longer you wait, the more it will cost to fix. We can help you find a lawn care professional to solve your pooling water problem.

Main photo credit: Wikimedia | CC-BY-SA-4.0

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!