How To Soak Up Water In Backyard

You can spend ages getting your garden in order and looking pristine. However, all your work can be undone with rain, garden conditions can suffer, and if standing water is bad enough, you can suffer damage.

The problems with standing water are it’s not nice to look at, but it kills your lawn, and it can pose a health hazard with mosquitoes. (Learn How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Inside)

In our guide, you can learn why you may have standing water and the best ways to get rid of it from your backyard and direct it away from your home.

grassy and watery

By the end, you’ll know more about how to fix water pooling in yard and deal with your garden’s flooding issues.

How Do I Fix Standing Water In My Yard?

A waterlogged backyard is upsetting and can lead to asking how to soak up water in your backyard. You have options available, and these can include landscaping to using plants that soak up lots of water.

It can take some work to remove water from your backyard, yet once you fix the problem, your garden can recover and thrive.

Here are a couple of things you can do, to begin with, to see if they help resolve the issues.

watering the plants

Water Gardens Less

You can find you have water in your yard because of your watering system, or you are over-watering your lawn and plants if you water the yard often, cut-back and water less often.

Once grass and plants have their fill of nutrients, they won’t absorb any more water. Over-watering can lead to a wet backyard.

bed of plats

Split Garden Beds

Should you discover water pools around plants you have in a bed or set areas, it could be this causing issues.

It won’t be possible for water to escape because of the barriers you have put in place. Small walls or even your garden path in your landscape can be enough to disrupt the natural flow of water.  (Read our Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Layouts)

One way to resolve this is to put small drainage holes in walls or under your pathway. You can direct water away from the areas it accumulates.

Use Thirsty Plants

If you have a swampy kind of yard rather than standing water, you can plant more greenery. Willow trees love lots of water, as do other shrubs and trees. After rain, garden water levels can rise in some areas.

Yet, once you have thirsty plants in these areas, you may keep water away as these help a great deal as they absorb water.

How Do You Fix Low Spot in Yard That Collects Water?

Ponding happens after rain; garden low spots can spring up when your yard soil is compact, or your yard is graded incorrectly.

Such ponding water can cause leaks in foundations and basements, which leads to the growth of mold.

Installing proper drainage in your yard and filling low spots can help change the structure of your soil. Here are a few ways to deal with low spots in your garden landscape.

Top Dressing

Topdressing is simple and helps fix shallow depressions in your yard. Such areas are the first to fill with water after rain.

Using this method, you can even out low areas by applying soil layers over your existing grass.

The way to do this would be to apply a layer of soil on your lawn, around 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, from eight to 12 weeks.

Spread the dry soil evenly over the depression using a shovel or, better still, a drop spreader. Adding soil that covers under half the grass’s height means your grass will regrow between soil the application.

lawn aeration

Lawn Aeration

Compacted soils will cause water to pool after heavy rainfall. Water can’t soak away fast enough, yet you can use a soil aerator to perforate and thus loosen topsoil across your yard.

Once you do this, you now make it easier for soil to start absorbing air and water to penetrate soil easier, thus reducing pooling while promoting your lawn’s healthy growth. (Learn How to Winterize Lawn)

Soil Type

The soil type in your yard will be a significant factor for surface water pooling. Soils that don’t contain high organic matter levels and chiefly contain clay are causes of water collecting.

A quick fix is adding compost, peat, or other organic matter forms to your soil. It helps increase fertility while improving the drainage to direct water away from flooding these areas.


If your yard has significant depressions or a large flat area at the bottom of an incline, you will need some form of drainage system to stop water pooling and soil being soggy after rain.

French drains are one of the simplest drains you can install yourself and are only a ditch filled with gravel.

To install a French drain, dig a trench from the area that collects water to an area that slopes or ample drainage.

The ditch should slope down at 1 1/2 inches for every 10 feet of the runoff ditch to stop flooding around your house foundation. Install a perforated drainage line in your ditch and a layer of hardware cloth underneath before filling it with gravel.

How Do I Get Rid of Ground Water in My Yard?

Standing water in your yard leads to many problems. Puddles create mosquito breeding grounds, and soggy areas can lead to pets dragging in mud to your house. Grass doesn’t grow as it should, and you can suffer from moss growth.

If there is too much excess water, you’ll find problems with your home’s foundation if the grading runs in the wrong direction. Standing water is typically caused by two common issues: poorly draining soil and low spots in your yard.

Soil Not Draining

Most water drainage on your lawn mostly occurs through the soil; soil type affects drainage. Loamy or sand-filled soils drain much better than yards containing mostly clay.

We have seen you add organic matter to improve your soil as it breaks up problem clay barriers. Besides compost, you can use organic mulches like bark or wood chips, which break down over time. As this happens, it helps improve drainage in the ground beneath them.


Lawn thatch is another enemy of good drainage as it creates a thick barrier that can trap water.

Based on the severity of your lawn-thatch problem, you have a couple of solutions:

You can dethatch your lawn with a power dethatcher or dethatching rake if the cases are not too severe.

You may need core aeration for severe issues where you would use an aerator tool or power aerator. Core aeration helps repair the issues caused by foot traffic compaction.

Low Spots

Besides using a French drain, you can create a dry creek path of gravel and rock and appear like a natural dry creek bed.

You may find these visually appealing when part of your landscape. While they work the same, they won’t contain a drainpipe yet can still direct runoff water toward a storm drain or dry well.

The best way to terminate the trench of a French drain or dry creek is to use a dry well, a deep hole filled with rocks. Water collects from the French drain and drains into the surrounding soil. Four feet wide and four feet in depth is an average size for dry wells.

Just make sure any drains or wells don’t lead to your neighbor’s property flooding, and they do drain the water away as intended.

How Do I Get Rid of a Swampy Yard?

A swampy backyard can be a concern for many homeowners. It is unattractive, makes lawns hard to mow, and that is a minor issue. Poor drainage ultimately renders your yard unusable when you have periods of rain.

Here’s what you need to do to fix these issues.

Determine the Cause

First, you have to know what causes water to accumulate in your yard after a storm. It may be excess roof water that is draining incorrectly, compacted soil keeping water on the surface, or your yard sits at the bottom of a slope.

Also, you could find your property situated near drainage from surrounding properties; thus, you always have an influx of water on your landscape.

Till the soil

When soil is compacted in any area, it can cause water to gather in one place because it can’t soak away fast enough. Aeration is the best way to improve drainage, and one way that is also beneficial to your yard is by adding compost other organic materials to the soil when tilling.

Dry Wells

On occasions, it can be hard to direct excess water away from your yard safely. Install a dry well, and you can help the draining of your backyard of excess water. A dry well will act as a holding tank where excess water can run off your landscape.

If you dig deep enough, you can offer water from a storm or rain a way to bypass any compact soil.

Water is held inside the well where it can soak into the softer soil beneath. It is easy to disguise a dry well by filling it with gravel, then covering it with soil and grass.

Grow Trees and Shrubs

There are many types of trees and shrubs, which absorb a lot of water from soil with their thirsty roots. Depending on where your water issue is, you can plant these and help solve drainage or soil erosion issues.

Plant water-thirsty shrubs and then add lots of in-ground plants. Ivy can help make absorbing water more effective. It can take time, but after a couple of seasons, you’ll see a difference. You can also find flowering perennials that help absorb water in runoff areas. (Find the Best Fertilizer For Trees And Shrubs)

Drainage Pipes

If your property’s foundation is elevated above surrounding lands, you can install a perforated-pipe as part of your garden’s drainage fix. Using perforated pipe buried under your yard can carry water away from your house and your gardens’ wettest areas.

Slope Your Yard

One of the best tips you can find takes the most amount of work. Water accumulates from your home’s roof and other areas around the property when your backyard slopes toward your house.

To rectify this and preserve your foundation, create a slope in your gardens’ landscaping that leads away from your home rather than toward it. Runoff can then drain away from your property.

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