A soggy lawn can be the bane of a homeowner’s landscape experience. When a yard does not drain properly after rain, it holds excess moisture against plants’ roots and prevents oxygen from getting into the soil. Root rot, fungus, and other diseases can run rampant when the ground remains stagnant and wet for too long. Luckily, a poorly draining yard doesn’t mean your landscape is doomed to a fate of sickly plants forever; you can improve your lawn’s drainage to help keep your garden plants healthy and happy.
Here in South Florida, we are pretty lucky when it comes to soil–ours tend to be sandy enough to have good drainage, and have a good amount of peat in them to make them fertile. However, since our terrain is coastal and flat, the water table in many areas is pretty high. This can cause a backup of water when it rains heavily, resulting in a soggy lawn. If your property is at a low point in the community, this could also lead to poor drainage.
If you notice that your yard tends to hold onto water for a long period of time, you may want to install an underground drain such as a French drain to rid yourself of the soggy lawn. These are small trenches dug into your yard where gravel and sometimes a perforated pipe are installed so that they can store and carry away excess water. They give the water a place to flow that is away from your plants’ roots. Some drains are filled with gravel to the top; others are mostly filled with gravel but then covered with soil so that they’re not visible.
If you do not feel like digging down, then you can try building upward! Garden beds or small areas of a yard that tend to hold water can be built up with an earthen berm. This essentially is just a mound of soil placed over a soggy area so that the plants are held higher so their roots don’t drown. While this method works well in some yards, it may instead move the drainage issue to another spot in your landscape. In this case, you may want to hire a professional to assess your yard to determine the best solution.
A great way to prevent poor drainage is to divert water away from your yard in the first place. Rain barrels are a great way to catch and store water that would otherwise be flushed through your lawn. They are extremely easy to install and provide an excellent alternative to standard hose water when it comes to watering your garden. You’ll be saving water, saving money, and improving the health of your landscape by installing one or two of these features.
Alternatively, you can embrace the fact that a section of your lawn tends to hold water and beautify the area with a rain garden. Rain gardens control where excess runoff from houses goes and use the water to help the water-loving plants there thrive (as opposed to drowning plants that prefer drier roots). You can read our article on how to construct your own backyard rain garden here.
For more tips and tricks on keeping your Florida lawn beautiful, be sure to check back to this blog often. If you need help today, stop by Big Earth Landscape Supply for everything you need.