5 Common Landscape Drainage Problems (and How to Solve Them!)


You don’t have to be a professional to know your lawn has a drainage problem.

The water line on the side of your home, bare roots and yard rivets that look like little streams are hard to miss.

These issues are not only unpleasant to look at, but they can also lead to some serious damage if left untreated.

Why Proper Drainage is Important

If you don’t have good drainage on your landscape, chances are, your outdoor living space isn’t going to be a success.

If you can’t decide whether or not that you have drainage, drainage is simply having something that hinders water from moving downhill. It’s really that simple. It could be the result of not being able to design a storm shelter plan or, most often, attempting to correct something without the proper experience and knowledge.

Water is obviously a necessity for a healthy landscape, but you need to know how to properly distribute this resource to prevent issues. If you don’t, the results can be disastrous.

Here are the five most common landscape drainage problems and how to fix them.

1. Poor Elevation at the Foundation

One of the most prevalent drainage problems we see when water is being held at the foundation of your home.

This issue can be disastrous to the house’s interior finishes, such as drywall or wood floors, and it can also contribute to foundation failure. These are all major issues that could have easily been avoided at the initial construction of the house by elevating the house slab enough to get proper slope away from the home.

Solution: Grading around your home to create another place for the water to flow can help keep it from building up around the foundation. You can also install a sub-surface drainage system that includes a catch basin and pipe.

2. Plant Bed Designs

There’s more to think about than just what plants you want installed in your beds. You also need to consider the bed’s layout if you want to prevent another common drainage issue. Improper bed designs impede the natural water flow, keeping the water from moving in the direction the developer and engineer intended. That could cause the water to remain in the beds, killing your plants, or going in a direction that causes other damage.

Solution: Your drainage solution should include a calculator and a site level to make sure you calculate the proper slope to efficiently move the water down hill.

3. Water Traps

Improper grading of your yard can create depressions that hold water.

This excess water will ultimately kill your turf and plant material. Plus, it can leave you with marshy conditions in those areas if it continues.

Solution: You can give water a better place to go by installing creek beds that allow stormwater to be moved on the surface. These creeks can also add some aesthetic value. In extreme causes where there are no other ways to move the water using gravity, you can use mechanical options to evacuate the water with a sump pump.

4. Paved Surfaces

Having the proper grade isn’t just important for your yard — it’s also key to preventing Amy future drainage problems with your hardscape surfaces.

You need to make sure any solid surfaces you may have such as a driveway, pool deck, terraces and walkways have the correct slope.

Solution: In addition to properly grading the area, you can also install retaining walls to help with drainage issues.

5. Gutter Spouts

Another common drainage problem is when gutter down spout exits aren’t properly designed. If the gutter is emptying into bed areas and over saturating plant material, or dumping concentrated amounts of water on paved surfaces, or close to your home, you will have issues.

Solution: Be mindful of where your gutters are pouring water, and redirect your gutters so that the water flow is going downhill instead of towards your home.

Hire Green Valley Nursery For Drainage Landscaping

Do you want to fix all of your drainage issues you have as soon as possible with little to no stress? One way of doing that is by hiring our team at Green Valley Nursery to take care of your landscaping needs.

Depending on the complexity of your drainage issue, this is one of the landscape projects that, many times, should be left to a professional. A fraction of an inch can make the difference between solving the problem and spending more money to fix the drainage twice.

However you decide to correct your drainage issues, the most important thing is to identify your water patterns and ensure they work within the scope of your overall design.

Here at Green Valley Nursery, we can help diagnose your drainage problem and create a lasting solution.

Ken Irby