So my backyard is showing some heavy pooling issues. I am in Southern Maine, USA

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The lowest point (picture 1) is, unfortunately pretty close to the garage pier foundation, and when the water pools it includes two of the pillars.

My thought is to dig out an area where Picture 3 shows the center of the swale and digging out to the left to move the water away from the building and provide an additional feature to the landscape. This would also involve backfilling some of the area nearest the building to ensure the water is moving away.

1) Would a solution be to dig out an area to be a pond (either a retention basin or a infiltration basin - Link: Nomenclature reference ), and put in a small channel system to move all the water from the other pictures spot into it?

2) The lowest point is also near an out-of-use dug well. Would this cause any additional obstacle? Can you incorporate a dug well into a pond?

Some comments asked about the well. The dug well is the brick structure in picture 1 and is out of use. My neighbors and I all used deep drilled wells to pull from the lower aquifer for our water supply. We also all have personal septic tanks and leach fields.

The land behind the house is a four acre field, but due to the mound for the septic leaching, the slop declines towards the yard, causing the natural swales to form.

I hope to refine the question, perhaps with a little feed back because I am out of my milieu.

  • For the benefit of the people who aren't regulars on Home Improvement, can you edit your question to explain what's wrong with the answers you got when you posted this exact question there.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 23:29
  • @NiallC. Thanks. I just thought I might reach people with an additional perspective and expertise on each site. Understood. Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 0:14
  • I'm assuming that you only get standing water after moderate to heavy rainfall, and that the land can become fairly dry if there has been no rain recently - is this correct?
    – Jurp
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 0:46
  • 1
    I think the answers you got at DIY are correct. A pond is work all the time, good grading is a one time job
    – kevinskio
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 1:38
  • @Jurp these areas remain pretty “mushy” even through the summer. When I mow in the summer it seems waterlogged in these areas. I thought it was perhaps because the grass had gotten to long before we moved in, but seeing it through the winter and early spring I think it might be an issue with how the water is moving around the property. Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


I think I would regrade the land as you're intending, but I would not create a pond. To do that correctly you're looking at creating the pond's area and depth, lining it (typically with clay and/or sand), laying pond felt, laying a liner, securing the liner, bringing and placing cobbles of various sizes, and installing plants. You then have maintenance, as noted in the comments.

So, if you don't create a pond, what can you create? A rain garden, especially if the area remains mushy, as you put it, even in dry weather. If this is a vernal issue only, there are still plants that you can use that will handle dry conditions as well as occasional brief standing water. The Rain Garden Alliance is an excellent source to help you get started. It also contains a list of possible plants for you to use. Here's another plant list that may contain some different plants from the Rain Garden Alliance list. Is there maintenance? Sure, some, especially if you don't remove your lawn grass first (I'd replace it with a variety of sedges, personally).

  • Thanks for the alternative concept. Is there no way to set up a vernal pond without lining it with clay, felt etc.? Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 12:03
  • Where in the US are you? I ask because rainfall matters in this case. If your region gets appreciable rain only in one season, then regrading away from the buildings, creating a largish "dip" in the land farther away with channels may be all you really need. This is really a catchment, not a pond. You could seed this with any of the grasses in the rain garden list (e.g Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), which is good for both wet and hilly areas). If you get rainfall throughout the year, then you might want to consider a raingarden, which is what described in this comment, but with more plants.
    – Jurp
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 14:05
  • In looking it up, I believe this would be either a retention basin and a infiltration basin. Referring to the nomenclature of (en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retention_basin) Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 14:27
  • Wikipedia is not always your friend :) Retention Pond = "[area used] to capture sediments" during development of the land. Infiltration is the act of water entering a soil (draining through the soil is Percolation). Both definitions come from "Soil Science and Management", 5th edition. You want to move and retain the water ("catch" it), hence Catchment ("something that catches water" Merriam-Webster). So - a catchment holds water which then infiltrates into the soil via percolation.
    – Jurp
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 15:29

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