Standing water in the yard is a bane to many property owners’ existence. Aside from being unsightly, it can lead to other environmental problems. Puddles of standing water can encourage pests such as mosquitoes to breed, and it can cause more mud to be tracked into your home.

Lawns that have standing water will also lead to moss-covered patches. Depending on how close the water is to your home, your foundation may also suffer due to excessive moisture. In this guide, we explore how to fix standing water in your yard and offer solutions for all budgets.

How To Get Rid of Standing Water in Your Yard?

Understanding what causes standing water can help you correct or prevent the problem entirely. The two most common causes are low spots in your yard and soil that poorly drains. Here are some easy solutions to help reduce and eliminate standing water in your yard.

Soil Draining Improperly

Most water in your yard is drained through the soil. Every type of soil has a different rate of drainage. Clay-heavy soils are not very effective at draining water since the soil traps the moisture instead of filtering it away. Sandy or loam soil drain more effectively because the materials act as a sieve instead of a moisture trap.

If the soil in your yard is of the clay variety, you can adjust it by adding organic matter. Compost is the easiest method to help break up the clay barriers. You can also use wood chips, organic mulch, and organic fertilizer. These break down over time and enrich the soil thus improving the drainage in the treated area. This may be harder to do with grass, but consider aerating the soil with mulch to resolve the problem.

Low Spots in the Yard

Properties located in high precipitation regions and those that are situated at the bottom of a hill are more prone to issues with standing water. Even homes in regular areas may have low spots which can cause water to pool when it rains. The easiest way to fix this problem is by addressing the grading around the foundation of your home. This will prevent serious damage to your foundation, such as water seepage.

Creating a French drain is one way to divert water away from low areas. This is simply a downward-sloping gravel-filled trench. In most cases, these are connected to a drain tile that directs the water to a dry well or a drainage pipe. A dry creek is an aesthetically pleasing option that serves the same function as a French drain but without the use of a pipe.

Compaction and Thatch

Lawn thatch and compaction can prevent proper soil drainage as well. Thatch and compacted soil create a physical barrier that traps water along the surface. Mild issues can be resolved with a dethatching rake, but more serious cases require an aerator tool that can be run across the soil or lawn. Compaction is usually caused by heavy foot or vehicle traffic and is often resolved by core aeration. If the problem persists, it may be a good idea to build a walkway over that area to help better equip the soil to handle foot traffic.

Dry Wells & Runoff Water

When setting up your drainage, make sure that you are not turning your problem into one for your neighbors. The runoff should be diverted into the city drain, or into a dry well. This is basically a large hole filled with rocks and covered with a grate. Water will collect in this area and evaporate during warmer weather. When creating a dry well, make sure that you opt for larger instead of smaller. Rainfall is often unpredictable, and the last thing you need is for your dry well to fill up and send all that water back into your yard. The average size for a dry well is four feet wide and four feet deep, but you can always make it larger if the rainy season in your area tends to be heavier.

It is also common for property owners to create two or three dry wells in different areas to prevent anyone well from getting overloaded. A bit of creativity can turn a low-spot problem into a beautiful, natural-looking runoff creek that runs through your yard.

Types of Residential Drainage Systems

Surface Drainage System

Surface drainage systems are installed in a parallel pattern and act as a channel for excess water. This type of drainage system leads the water to the main drain to prevent water from pooling around the foundation of your home. Homeowners with low-lying or flat properties can benefit most from surface drainage systems as it helps to move stagnant water elsewhere.

Subsurface Drainage System

Installing a subsurface drainage system is a great way to manage wet soil and remove excess water in a controlled fashion. This type of drainage system is also known as a french drain. Although installing a french drain requires digging ditches and installing underground pipes, this is the best way to lower the water table around your home foundation and fix drainage problems.

Slope Drainage System

This type of drainage system allows water to flow away from your home by using pipes anchored at a small incline. Slope drainage systems are best for fixing drainage issues on properties that lie on an uneven plane. Typically, a drainage specialist will regrade the property to direct the water to a storm drain and prevent other potential issues from an uneven foundation.

Causes of Standing Water in Your Yard


If you have a sprinkler system installed and use it regularly, there is a chance you might be overwatering your lawn. Under no circumstances should you ever want to see standing water in your yard. If you do see pools of water, there is a good chance you have a drainage problem. Consider watering your lawn less often, and for shorter periods.

Thatch and Compaction

What is thatch? Thatch is a layer of organic matter that builds up along the outer base of plants. If your lawn is covered in thatch or other debris, it may be hard for your lawn to properly drain the water. Grass clippings, leaves, and roots can also cause water to pool.

Improper Grading

Lawn grading helps to properly drain water away from your lawn and the foundation of your home. Instead of pooling in your yard or around your home, grading allows water to flow freely to storm drainage systems or sewers. If your lawn is improperly graded, water can eventually pool near your home’s foundation and seep into your basement, causing a host of other issues.

Heavy Rain

Soggy conditions can often arise during or after periods of heavy rainfall. Thick soil in your yard prevents water drainage, and it can be even harder to remove the water from pooling on your lawn after a lot of rain without proper drainage systems installed.

Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers | Omaha’s Best Commercial & Residential Sprinkler Systems

Contact Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers to schedule a free estimate on a system install or to find out what you can do to make your existing system more efficient. We welcome commercial and residential clients. And remember, whether you need our services now… or later in the season, Your Healthy Lawn is Our Passion and we are only a phone call away! Call 402-934-7900 to schedule your service.