Some Creative Solutions to Soil Drainage Problems

Areas of poorly draining soil, particularly in gardens and around driveways and pathways, can mar the appearance of the landscape and create other problems as well. People tend to avoid these areas, both because they're unattractive and because they're difficult to move through—especially after a storm. But there are some creative solutions that not only address soil drainage problems but also transform the places in which they exist into appealing features of the landscape.

The first step is to observe the journey that water makes around your yard. Put on some mucking boots and a raincoat and meander around outside the next time it rains. Observe where all that water goes. Where does it channel out freely? Where does it collect? Watch also for signs of erosion in different places. Some telltale indications that water may be draining poorly in ways that you can't see include bare spots on your lawn or patches of plants that don't stand upright. Areas like these might be profitably turned into bog gardens for water-loving plants. Sometimes it makes more sense to take cues from nature.

Surface flowing water, however, can be easier to manage. With a little creativity and effort, you can assist its drainage in ways that make for appealing landscape features in their own right. Dry creeks, for example, can facilitate water flow during and immediately after a storm, and they also add visual interest to a garden area on sunny days. Dry creeks are particularly useful in regions that see regular, heavy rainfall. To make one, begin by shoveling out a canal about two feet wide and a foot deep. You'll want to gradually increase the depth at the bottom as you go to create a slope. Once you've dug a ditch, line it with landscape fabric. Then add gravel, leaving three or four inches at the top to fill with more decorative stones. The fabric will hinder the soil from working upwards into the stones. Placing larger rocks in random places along the edges will make this man-made feature appear more natural. Once you've completed your dry creek, test it by hosing it with water at the starting place and watching to see if it flows evenly to the end.

Using these tips can help you enjoy an eco-friendly garden and a great gardening hobby. You can feel good about growing your favorite vegetables and enjoying your favorite flowers — knowing that you have made a positive impact on the environment. For additional advice, contact a company that specialises in erosion and sediment control.