Are you tired of looking out your window to a muddy mess? If so, stick around! We are going to talk about how to fix a muddy backyard, and the reasons water could be accumulating.
Having a muddy backyard can be a major headache for any homeowner. It’s not fun to deal with, and it’s not nice to look at.
The mud will make it difficult to enjoy your outdoor space. Additionally, it can be a hazard for your kids and pets. Not to mention the mess those kids and pets bring in from that muddy backyard!
Chances are you’ve noticed that you have excess water hanging around, and you’re dealing with a muddy lawn. Maybe you have huge muddy areas or maybe just a few muddy spots.
\Whatever the case, you’re now looking for ways to fix the problem area with a permanent solution.
Fortunately, there are some ways to tackle that muddy mess. Then, you can get back to enjoying your backyard in no time.
Afterall, it’s time to start planning backyard BBQ’s with fun games and bonfires.
Reasons Yards Hold Water
There are a lot of different possible reasons that a yard might hold water. Some are more serious than others, and some are easier to fix than others.
1. Poor Drainage
Poor drainage is one of the most common reasons for standing water in a yard. This can be caused by several different things. For example, incorrect grading, poor soil conditions, or a lack of gutters catchment systems to redirect water.
If your backyard is not properly graded and draining correctly, excess water can build up in the yard.
Grading is done to create a slope away from your home’s foundation. Sometimes barely noticeable, the grading can run all the way to the edges of your property.
If you have low spots in your yard, water will pool in those places.
Poor drainage can also be caused by the soil being too packed down or just having poor-quality soil. For example, clay soil gets hard and impenetrable, and soil compaction doesn’t allow the water to soak in.
Soil’s drainage capabilities depend on how loose or hard the dirt is. Hard dirt means the water has nowhere to go. This is especially true if you have low spots and the water can’t just runoff.
Another drainage issue is a lack of gutters or other catchment systems. They are needed to collect and redirect water away from the area.
If your back or front yards are getting muddy near your house, it could be a combination of poor grading and a lack of or poor gutter system.
Gutter downspouts that don’t have an extension to redirect water to create wet areas that won’t dry up quickly. Avoid this!
2. Clogged Drains
If the yard has existing drains, they may be clogged with debris, dirt, or other materials. This can cause excess water to back up in the yard. This happens really easily, but the good news is, if this is your only water problem, you’re in good shape.
Once you get all of your drainage systems cleaned out, some simple regular maintenance will prevent this from being an issue.
If the yard is being overwatered, the excess water can lead to water accumulation. This can be caused by a broken irrigation system or excessively frequent watering of flowerbeds.
Once the ground is saturated, it can’t take on any more water. Which will quickly create a muddy yard problem.
Having a soggy lawn from overwatering may be an easy fix. Unless, of course, your irrigation system is broken. Then, the problem can become more complicated.
4. Excessive Rainfall
This is a pretty obvious one. If you experience high amounts of rainfall, the excess water can lead to water accumulation in the yard.
There is not anything you can do about the amount of rainfall you get. However, you can make sure you have systems in place to deal with it.
5. Thatch in Lawn
Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic material. It builds up between the soil and the green blades of grass.
Grass clippings and roots can create a barrier over the soil. This makes it hard for the ground to absorb water.
6. Poorly Placed Landscaping
You might not have ever considered the fact that landscaping design is called design for more than just aesthetic purposes.
Something as simple as poorly placed flower beds can mess up the entire flow of runoff water in your yard. This will create big issues.
There are a lot of things to consider when you’re planning to landscape,. Water drainage and runoff are the most important.
7. Dog trail
Dog owners may start to notice muddy patches or trails worn down in their backyard. Especially from dogs or pets who spend a lot of time outside.
Dogs are creatures of habit. They run the same path and use the bathroom in the same areas. This will create channels where the natural flow of water will divert. Clearly, their running patterns will keep it nice and muddy.
8. High Water Table
A high water table just means the soil is already saturated. This happens a lot in low-lying areas or f your property is located toward the bottom of a hill or at the base of a mountain. You’ll notice this more during rainy seasons
Rain runoff from above, even if it isn’t excessive, will naturally begin to pool in your yard. Especially if you have a flat lawn and the water flowing from above you stops at your property.
How to Fix a Muddy Backyard
1. Install a French Drain
A French drain is a trench filled with gravel or a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area.
You can make this prettier with river rocks, or lava rock landscaping.
A french drain can be a good way to add to the aesthetic of your beautiful yard.
In the photo below, from Northern Lights Landscaping, you can see the use of decorative rocks.
2. Create Drainage Swales
Swales are shallow, sloping ditches that divert water away from problem areas. They’re similar to French drains, but they’re larger, more like a ditch than a trench.
This is a good option if you have large amounts of water flowing through your property. If your yard floods with heavy rains, if you have a creek, lake, or other body of water in your yard that may flood into your yard, consider swales.
3. Grade Your Yard to Redirect Water
By grading the yard to slope away from problem areas, you can help divert water away from the area.
Sometimes all your need is some extra dirt to level out low spots and slope the yard appropriately.
Once you add more dirt and create a nice slope for water runoff, you can plant new grass, and this will be a permanent fix for your muddy, wet yard problems.
4. Remove Thatch
Removing thatch is one of those simple solutions that isn’t complicated but might be difficult.
Depending on the size of the area and the amount of thatch you have built up, it can be a lot of hard work. The only way to do it is with a stiff rake or a special thatch rake.
Once the job is done, make sure to rake your yard after you cut your grass. This will prevent thatch from building up again.
It’s also important not to overwater your grass. Overwatering will make it hard for the grass clippings and other debris to break down naturally and quickly. That creates the perfect circumstances for the buildup of thatch.
If you don’t maintain your yard, removing thatch won’t be a long-term solution. The water will begin getting stuck on the surface again.
5. Install Gutter Extensions
Gutter extensions help direct water away from your house and yard, preventing water from pooling in your yard.
If you have to run a long extension from your gutter, you should bury the extension. Burying it will make sure it’s not in the way.
When you do this, make sure you’re directing the gutter extension in the direction you want the water to go permanently. Take as long as necessary to direct water away from areas you want to prevent mud and standing water.
Also, make sure your gutter channel on all sides of your house are cleaned out and not spilling over.
Water that spills over your guttering will cause mud around your home. This will then cause foundational issues in the long run. This is especially true if the problem goes on for an extended period of time.
6. Plant Native Plants
Native plants are well suited to the local climate and soil and can help absorb that extra water. Plants with large root systems, like trees and shrubs and water-loving plants, can help absorb much of the water.
7. Install Porous Pavers
Porous pavers allow water to drain through into the soil, reducing standing water in your yard. They’re also a great way to cover muddy areas.
Pavers are great for dealing with muddy areas. If you have a place that could use a decorative touch or a patio-type landscaping fixture, try using pavers.
You can cover bare spots in your yard by using pavers to create a firepit or sitting area. This is a quick and pretty fix.
This approach can also be a lot less difficult than installing drains or digging ditches.
8. Plant Grass or Other Ground Coverings
Depending on your yard, it may just be that some areas need plant coverage to get rid of mud problems.
If it’s an area where you’re having trouble growing grass, get an aggressive breed of grass seed. Them, cover it with straw mats to give it the best chance possible to grow.
If it’s an area where you could plant a different type of ground covering, try one of these options:
Ground Covering Alternatives
- Peat moss
- Asiatic Jasmine
- Rainbow Creeping Thyme
- Blue Star Creeper
- Brass Buttons
- Dwarf Mondo Grass
Can’t get grass or ground covering to grow? If you have bad or very compact soil, try tilling the area first to loosen up the dirt.
An electric garden till makes it easier getting the job done.
Tilling will help the plants to take root. If that doesn’t work, you can also try adding a layer of topsoil to the area before planting.
A fresh source of soft and airy dirt with more nutrients can often get any type of vegetation to grow.
Some plants are tougher and can grow in almost any type of dirt. Choose your ground covering, deepening on the type of soil you have.
Quick Temporary Solutions for a Muddy Backyard
Sometimes you’re just not ready for a big project. As a homeowner, you know the projects just never stop popping up.
Some projects are fun, but the involuntary ones always seem to come up at the most inconvenient times. You know; when you just can’t or really don’t want to deal with them yet.
If your backyard is holding water because you have a fairly serious issue, like a drainage problem, you might not be ready to tackle a permanent solution.
If you need a temporary solution to quickly clear up standing water ,try applying one of these ground cover materials. Until you can do something more permanent, try these temporary fixes for muddy areas.
- Pine chips or other wood chips
- Organic mulch
- Pea gravel
Are you choosing a simple, quick, and temporary solution? Or, will you go all out and permanently fix your muddy yard? You should have all the ideas and tricks now that you’ve read this blog post!
You’re well on your way to clearing up that mud and enjoying your outdoor spaces!
Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:
The Best Backyard Mosquito Control Systems