The Q&A Archives: Gardening around Wetlands - Optimization

Question: Please can you help me. My lawn is constantly mushy. It takes a good hot day to use the lawn. Even slight rain can make the area unusable. The area is considered to be a wetlands. I live in Pennington NJ. How can I treat my lawn to have a solid ground, and what can I do to make my lawn more usuable?

Answer: This is actually a very complex question. If a large area is constantly wet there is a severe drainage issue, either due to the soil not draining well and/or due to the overall drainage pattern directing excessive runoff to your yard from up hill.

I should mention that if your yard is literally a wetland or adjoins a wetland, there may be legal restrictions on what you can do. In general too you can't redirect runoff from your property in such a way that it floods a neighboring property.

You might be able to work with a professionally trained and degreed landscape architect to adjust the drainage pattern for the property, or to at least create a deck or patio area that is usable. Your local county extension might also be able to direct you to local resources with regard to the drainage in your neighborhood or local area. I hope this helps you get started in figuring out what can be done.

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