We just moved into a house with a yard that's about 45'x80' with some pretty bad drainage issues. After large rain the whole yard is water logged for days, with a few square yards where it actually pools. I think we'll need to level the yard to get rid of the low spots but before doing that I want to resolve the drainage issue. I've been reading about french drains and dry wells, but I'm not sure what the best and most cost effective solution would be.

On a somewhat dryer day I tried digging a bit to see what the soil was like and it looks like the top 10" or so are very heavy clay. Would perhaps using a post hole auger or similar to make multiple paths through the clay be helpful? What are the steps I need to take to assess the situation?

enter image description here

Picture source.

  • Where do you live? How do you feel about adding trees?
    – CloneZero
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 19:48
  • This is in Windsor, Ontario. We've already planted one birch tree, and would be open to adding more.
    – Otus
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 20:45
  • Can't really tell from your picture - what's under the clay? Do you have a roughly 10" layer of clay over more porous soil? My clay seems to go to the center of the earth, or at least to bedrock...
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 21:55
  • That's what it seems like. I have about 10" of that beige, dense clay and below that it turns much darker and seems more porous.
    – Otus
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 22:23

2 Answers 2


I had a similar issue, water logged in backyard, most of it comes from retaining wall. French drain works like magic. I had a storm water connection in the backyard. After identifying flooding area, lay the French drain along that path and connect to the storm water. If you can't find storm water outlet, then you may consider other options. Lots of online resources available how to do it, pretty easy, only thing is it needs some digging.


I just did a french drain on the side of my house that was a swamp all day every day. It was cheap, quick and easy. Looks nice too with the rock we chose to cover it. There has been zero pooling of water since. We only needed to take it out about 8 feet to a better part of the yard vs dragging an underground line all the way to the end of the property. Highly recommend.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.