I've always loved reading these posts but never thought to make an account. So here goes nothing.

New homeowner, want to fix the drainage issues and get some trouble areas growing.

-My side yard holds water, its mainly an orange clay like substance with some grass/weeds mixed in. I DO have gutters ONLY on this side of the house, it appears the gutters flow to the corner and then allows the pool to form.

-There are two areas by my patio that are really low and "sinking" towards the house. I want to build these up, possibly seed them, and not have water pool.

-Area near my gate is a disaster, I'm thinking some sort of pavers to fix this area.

See photos here:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • 1
    Definitely can be fixed without costing too much. I have never seen a fence built that way either with the way the posts are attached.
    – kevinskio
    Mar 12, 2019 at 11:34
  • FLYNAVY, if the system won’t let you participate in the chat I linked below (as you don’t have enough reputation), a quick way to get those missing four points would be suggesting an edit for two older posts - helps the site get better posts, and once approved you get two points for each edit. Alternatives: One upvote for an answer (10 poins) or one upvote for a question (5 points). Just a hint...
    – Stephie
    Mar 14, 2019 at 20:28
  • @Stephie It is the discussion that holds most of the gems of information the OP needs. Answering a question that most people have no idea how to word, what to ask is simply...not effective. Getting the OP involved in a discussion is where the most valuable information for that OP comes up. Grins!
    – stormy
    Mar 18, 2019 at 0:12
  • @stormy and the discussion is still there - just in a separate chat instead of under an answer. As per the site’s (and the network’s) rules, I simply moved the discussion. Don’t worry!
    – Stephie
    Mar 18, 2019 at 19:42
  • This is why I vote for giving those who want to ask a question on this site a questionnaire and far more guidance. Just by helping someone to ask a question they learn tons. They are being guided and a discussion has begun. Black and white answers just don't work in our world of gardening.
    – stormy
    Mar 19, 2019 at 4:35

2 Answers 2


From what I have been reading of your question, you do have a bit of a drainage problem on your site.

An immediate fix would be a 'dry well' off to the side of your lawn.
Dig a big hole; 2 to 3 feet deep and 6 to 8 feet in diameter. LIne it with landscape fabric, dump in river rock, drain rock, cobble they are all the same thing to fill the hole, cover with landscape fabric, then cover with whatever surface material you've been using. This gives excess water a place to go and be absorbed into the ground, more slowly. Without causing flooding. Very inexpensive solution and extremely sensible!

Pavers or 4" of crushed gravel would work very well along the side of your home. Don't think about 'building areas up', think about scraping soil off the surface to promote drainage of every drop of water that lands on the soil around your home: Every bit of land around your home has to slope away from your foundation. Period.

Usually, you are not allowed to drain the water coming off your property onto your neighbor's. I would also look up the laws, rules of your city or county buildings and code as well as your 'development'. I recommend you talk to your neighbors about their basements and past dealings with drainage issues, talk to Buildings and Code about the rules concerning drainage. Most places will not allow a home owner to drain excess water into the storm drains.

For your wooden structures, you need a minimum of 2" below the wood of the fence. 4 inches is better. There should be at least 4" between the bottom of the siding of your home and the soil.

Finally, I would check out the foundation, your basement and crawl space. Ensure your foundation has a perimeter drain, back filled with drain rock, drainage pipes covered with landscape fabric. There should be asphalt emulsion on the concrete of your home's foundation between any soil and the concrete of your foundation.

Drainage makes or breaks the value of your home and landscape! Not something one dismisses to do for later.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Stephie
    Mar 13, 2019 at 12:33
  • Please remember that we are Gardening SE, not Law SE. For further discussion, please use the chat linked above, thank you.
    – Stephie
    Mar 13, 2019 at 12:34
  • @Stephie grins, sorry but the rules and laws control the landscape just as much as soil and zones. Totally helpful to get people checking out the rules their landscapes have to abide by...and their hardscapes. I swear, the horrible experiences of being an expert witness compel me to warn others to make nice with neighbors and KNOW the rules of the city buildings and code as well as the delopment's rules. The boundaries for 'gardening and landscaping 'are more than fuzzy. We are trying to link up what most people know to stuff they need to know to grow plants. Coloring outside the lines.
    – stormy
    Mar 18, 2019 at 0:05

It seems like a nice yard and you can fix it up real easy. There are just about 1000 different methods for doing so but here is what I would suggest. IMHO the best solution to your problem is gravel. Your side yard has a fence between the gate and the house which is about 1.5 ft wide. I believe if you were to chalk a line that same width around your entire backyard that was approximately .5 - 1 ft deep and fill it with gravel that would solve your problems. You could extend the gravel in the area where your third picture was taken, near the gate.

While gravel will take away a bit of your current grass it can look very nice when utilized correctly. To give you a more concrete idea of what to do I have a few links for you to look at:

Link one

Link two

Note, gravel gardens can look very beautiful I suggest you do a search on Google if you want some good ideas for what to do with your gravel parameter after you have installed it, good luck!

  • Some comments on Rob's suggestions: 1) When Rob writes "gravel", he means "river rock", "pea gravel", or "small cobbles", according to what appears in his Link One. 2) If you're going to use any kind of rock, you're going to want to install edging of some kind. If you don't. the rock will infiltrate into your grass, where it can get kicked up by your own or your neighbor's lawn mower. This can cause property damage or injuries. 3) Link Two inexplicably does not use drain tile. I have no idea what Roger Cook was thinking with solid PVC - he's not accounting for all water infiltration with it.
    – Jurp
    Mar 12, 2019 at 22:53
  • Another comment on rock - if you use rock and don't use edging, not only will the rock infiltrate the grass/weeds, but the grass/weeds will infiltrate your rock. At that point, you either mow your rock or use RoundUp. And finally, definitely extend your downspouts. They need to discharge at LEAST three feet from your foundation. Since you're having problems, go even longer. Use aluminum, not the flexible crap that lays on your lawn and kills it. You can get an elbow that allows you to raise the extension for mowing, which is handy. This is a cheap fix that may help your proiblem a lot.
    – Jurp
    Mar 12, 2019 at 23:05
  • Keep in mind the links I posted and the suggestions I made were meant to be nothing more than a template for understanding.
    – Rob
    Mar 13, 2019 at 15:03
  • Hi Rob - no issues with me; I just didn't want the OP to think that you were recommending base gravel around his house.
    – Jurp
    Mar 13, 2019 at 21:31

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.