6 Solutions for Poor Drainage in Your Yard - Backyard Boss
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6 Solutions for Poor Drainage in Your Yard

After springtime showers, we are ready to get outside and enjoy blooming flowers and time in the backyard. No one wants to look out the window and see that their yard is a wet mess, full of puddles and water. If your yard has a drainage problem, it can ruin your garden, kill your grass and make outdoor areas unusable. 

Some signs that indicate your lawn might have poor drainage include puddles, divets, fissures, soggy spots, or patches of extreme grass growth. When you see these signs, the next step is to try and identify what might be causing these issues.

Compact soil, downspout problems, poor landscape grading, or project installation can all be causes of poor drainage. Keep reading for solutions to common drainage problems to make sure nothing puts a damper on your summer backyard plans.

Loosen your soil

Foot and rake ion green lawn
Eugene_Brennan via Pixabay

Hard, compact soil will not allow water to easily drain through and cause puddles to form on top of your lawn. If there are no obvious slopes or dips that water should be collecting in, but you see water sitting in your yard, you might have a soil problem. In particular, if you live in an area with high clay content soils, your yard will be prone to this issue.

You can help alleviate the problem by aerating your yard regularly. This will loosen soil and allow water to seep in. If your yard is severely compacted, you will need to rototill the entire area.

Check your downspouts

cement downspout extender surrounded by stones
Image Credit: Virynja on Canva

A drainage issue in your yard might be caused by something as simple as poorly installed downspouts. This is a common issue in newly built houses, as builders will often leave the spouts short and too close to the house. The area around your house, as well as around decks and patios, acts as a perfect place for water to pool. As a result, water can damage your foundation or other yard structures.

Luckily, the solution to this issue is simple and cheap. All you need to do is extend your downspouts so that water can drain away from your house. However, if you need to extend your downspouts s long way, you might want to try the next solution for something more aesthetically pleasing.

Install a dry river bed

Dry Creek Bed
Image credits: oneillbro via Canva

One common sign of poor drainage is water running down the same path in your yard, causing erosion. An easy way to fix this problem is to embrace the natural drainage path. Build a dry creek bed to divert the water to a specific area. You might be able to get away with a simple trench with rocks that will allow water to flow through, as well as absorb into the ground. 

If there is a lot of soil and silt in the water, you can add a plastic lining. Alternatively, if there is a high water volume, you will want to combine this solution with the next solution on the list.

Add a drain pipe

French Drain With a Black Pipe
Image credits: Brian Hartnett Photography via Canva

Installing a pipe is an easy and common solution for poor drainage in your yard. This option is also called a French drain and is similar to the dry creek bed solution above. The main difference is that this includes a pipe. The pipe runs away from the house in a trench, which is typically covered with stones or soil. You can use a perforated or weeping pipe which will allow small amounts of water to trickle out as it moves down the pipe.

This will prevent a large volume of water from building up at the outlet of the pipe. If water buildup at the outlet is a problem, the next solution on the list could be what you need.

Install drainage wells

Dry well construction
drywellguy via Openverse

Drainage wells, or dry wells, are a more advanced solution for poor drainage. However, this option is the best long-term solution for high-volume drainage problems. It might be necessary to combine drainage well with some of the other options on this list to truly solve your poor drainage problem. Essentially, installing drainage well gets water deeper into the ground so it can percolate through the soil.

The first step is to dig a hole and ensure that the underlying soil has good drainage. Next, you can purchase a dry well or build it using landscape fabric and gravel. Keep in mind that a dry well will work best if it is installed in a low-lying area.

Build a rain garden

Fern Plants
Image credits: skhoward via Canva

Last but not least, you can embrace the water if you have a permanently wet area. If the area is soggy but not pooling water, it might be a great spot to plant a rain garden. To plant a rain garden, all you need to do is choose some water-loving plants

Native plants to your area make a great choice, including ferns, mosses, and rushes. These plants will help absorb water, and their roots will help improve overall drainage in the area.


Poor drainage can be a real wet blanket when it comes to enjoying a beautiful backyard. When you notice drainage issues in your yard, the most important thing to do is identify the cause. Once you know what the problem is, you can get to work on a solution and enjoy your well-drained yard.