Managing the Mud
Look for the Waterfalls
Waterfalls are lovely to look at, but you don’t want to look at them from inside your home as they cascade off your drains. As you’re managing your snowmelt or your rainfall, first work to head off any serious problems that are leading to large puddles in your yard. This includes pavement that directs water into the garden, clogged, sagging, or warped gutters in need of gutter repair, or drainpipes that flow directly into a poorly-drained part of the yard. Fix large-scale sources of water to address the biggest problems first.
Get the Specs on Your Slope
Why is that part of the garden boggy? It may not be the soil’s fault. It could just be the slope. If the bottom of your garden is a pond and the top is completely dry, you probably have a slope that’s not working for you, unless you want a pond at the bottom of the garden. To manage drainage issues due to a slope, you can aim to level your yard. However, an easier way to work with slope-related drainage is to add terraces and swales to slow, sink, and store the water. Move around your garden looking for the contours. Walk across the same height of land in different places in the garden and draw a line between them. Dig a small trench just about the contour line and add plants below it. The trench will slow the water and help it sink into the soil, watering your plants.
Pay special attention to the areas around the basement. Your soil must slope away from the home and not down into the foundation, window wells, and window frames. Directing water toward your foundation is a recipe for a lot of mildew and potential basement flooding.
Work on Your Soil
If you’re still experiencing problems with flooding, work on your soil. Soil that’s very compacted or full of clay will not drain water well. Instead, you’ll have a muddy mess as the water streams off the compacted soil or puddles in the clay-filled mud pits that used to be your garden. Does this sound like a future you want to avoid? Add leaves to your garden in the fall to mulch, and place a mixture of sandy soil into your garden beds. Think of soil as a long-term investment. At first, you’ll see it grow a little, but over time your dedicated work will compound and you’ll see your soil getting healthier. Adding organic material to your soil will make it more porous, improving its ability to hold water, and as your soil deepens that water will move farther and farther down, reducing the puddles at the top.
Watch Where You Plant
As you’re planting this spring, keep water flow in mind. Your garden has an established natural drainage pattern, and in the places that the garden is not boggy, this pattern works. If you plant a tree in the middle of a small drainage ditch by mistake, you can cause drainage problems that back up water toward your home. On the flip side, if you add plants to a boggy area, their roots will suck up the water and their falling leaves will build soil, and you may find that your puddle problems go away. Plants can be an excellent tool, but use them wisely.
When you’re working on home drainage projects such as drainpipes and gutter repairs, contact Harry Helmet. We’ll help you make your home and garden shine, no matter what time of year it might be. Learn more about Gutter Helmet today.