Soggy Yard
May 31, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We moved into out Montreal row house 3 years ago and were so excited about having a yard for our children to play. We laid down sod and sadly we have a portion that simply refuses to grow despite planting grass seed, fertilizing and all the rest! We are left with a muddy ward that really isn’t much fun for anyone.

How can I go from a soggy yard to the landscaping in my Houzz ideabook (see links below). I would like to keep a portion of the grass that is growing and put in large stone slabs, river rocks or gravel.

Any ideas on how to do this on a tight budget? Thanks for your help!

Eco-Conscious Transformation Ideabook: Yard Modern Revival Greico Designer Builders Dallas
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Revolutionary Gardens
Water either has somewhere to go and runs off your property, or else your yard is flat enough that water sits and eventually evaporates or percolates down through the soil. With the limited info you've provided, I'd guess you're dealing with situation #2. In really bad scenarios, I've seen where a homeowner's yard is lower than the neighbors so it gets everyones' water. Hopefully that's not the case here.

Drainage is hard to do DIY if you don't know what you're doing. Water is your home's natural enemy so it's one area that's really worth bringing in a pro for. If you do, here are a few pointers:

- if someone says "we'll put in a French drain" you say "to where?" The purpose of a French drain is to collect water into a pipe under the ground and move that water to where it can drain away. I've seen folks put in French drains that go nowhere. Congratulations, you now have a 4" pipe full of muddy water under a puddle, when before there was just a puddle.

- if someone says "we'll build a drywell" you say "how big?" In New England we had freely draining, sandy soil so a drywell could be 55 gallons and work. In Virginia (where I am), heavy clay dictates a dry well needs to be several times bigger. The goal is not to hide the water underground, it's to move it to the aquifer. You (or the person you hire) needs to know the local soils and how water behaves in them.

- if someone says "we'll build a rain garden" you say "show me how it'll work". A rain garden is more than a swampy pit with some birch trees in it. Designed correctly, it'll percolate water through the soil. Done wrong, you've built a mosquito ranch.

I hope that helps. There are just too many nuances to successfully solve a drainage problem over the internet, but I hope these pointers assist you in finding a solution!
5 Likes   May 31, 2013 at 11:07AM
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2nd Alarm Landscape
Agree with Revolutionary Gardens. A couple other things to consider... In most areas, you cannot discharge storm water to your neighbors. Additionally, in some areas, you cannot discharge it to the street to flow in to a community water space (creek or storm sewer.) I've watched contractors do both and have to come back to fix the problems. All drainage issues demand a thorough site visit. There are some great products that can combine the best of french drains and dry wells. Contact a reputable landscape contractor in your area.
2 Likes   June 14, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Like the others have said above, you need to identify the source of the muddiness before throwing money at it. If you can do that, you are on your way to finding the solution. Best of luck
2 Likes   June 14, 2013 at 9:31PM
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I agree. Don't waste money and time until you deal with the underlying issue.
0 Likes   June 14, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Thanks everyone for your comments. Looks like I have to call in the pros to fix the root of my problem before having fun with the design!
0 Likes   June 16, 2013 at 7:33PM
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2nd Alarm Landscape
Also, check out this is the product line we use exclusively.
0 Likes   June 17, 2013 at 8:22AM
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Thank you for your help! Soggy ward problem resolved! Now I get to work on design!
1 Like   August 29, 2014 at 8:16AM
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