The Q&A Archives: Drainage Problems

Question: I have just moved into a new home and my back yard has a low spot that holds water after steady rain, Two different companies have told me that drain tiles could not be installed to resolve this, as there is no place to drain into. HELP. I have two little kids and a dog and the fenced in back yard is USELESS after it rains.

Answer: Unfortunately, water needs to drain somewhere. Is this a newly-built home? Can you talk with the builder to see if they will remedy the situation? I used to work for a small excavating company, and in situations like these we had a few options. In urban and suburban lots, where neighbors are nearby and don't want the water in their yards, we sometimes dug what we called a "dry well". This is simply a big hole (6 or 8 feet deep, 3 or 4 feet in diameter), filled with coarse gravel. Drainage tiles were directed toward this dry well, which acted like a holding tank for the excess water. (If you have any drainage work done, be sure the contractor uses some type of landscape fabric, to keep the system from silting up.) This is a messy job and digs up the yard, but it may be one option.

Do you have gutters on the house? Sometimes, if you can direct water flowing off the roof into rain barrels, or into this dry well, you can eliminate a portion of the water reaching your yard.

What would happen if you filled in the low spot with soil? Could you re-grade the yard, directing it toward the street, for example?

Hopefully, come summer the soil will be drier and able to absorb summer rains. Maybe this is just a seasonal problem???

Hope this helps you.

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