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Understanding yard drainage problems, solutions, and when to hire Pros

Improper yard drainage can be one of the most frustrating outdoor issues a homeowner has to deal with. It's frustrating when you feel as though your lawn looks like a swamp—and in the time it takes to fully dry out, rain seems to already be in the forecast again.

Even worse, you might be fearing that all this water will end up in your home.

If you’re experiencing water woes now, or worrying about future ones, then you are probably looking for a sensible solution to keep water from pooling in your yard. Fortunately, there are yard drainage solutions out there—as long as you can find a landscaping contractor who truly knows what you need.

That’s why we want to help you understand some of the common yard drainage problems and what solutions exist. So often, we hear that other landscaping companies aren’t including drainage on their proposals and homeowners want to know why we do. We want to help you understand yard drainage so that you can make smart choices when it comes to preventing a future problem or fixing a current one.

Yard Drainage Problems

There are so many issues that can occur when your yard isn’t draining properly. Over the years, we’ve seen them all—from the minor (but still frustrating) problems to the serious (and costly) ones.

Here are some of the most common issues we’ve seen as a result of improper yard drainage:

  • Mower ruts: When the yard is always soggy, still have to mow, it’s ultimately going to leave ruts.

  • Plant bed erosion: Every time there’s a heavy rain, the plant beds get completely washed out.

  • Hardscaping floods: Water that isn’t properly directed may be washing over your walkways or patio and leaving a muddy mess that has to be power washed after every storm.

  • Pooling water: Improper patio installation and no drainage solution below may lead to a patio that forms a little “pond” with each rainstorm. This can happen in the yard, too. Any stagnant water like this is an invitation for mosquito breeding.

  • An unusable yard: When your yard turns into a swamp, it may become completely useless.

  • Water in the basement: Every homeowners’ nightmare is that improper yard drainage will ultimately lead to water ending up in the basement. Unfortunately, we’ve seen it happen.

  • Muddy tracks: Whether it’s the dog or the kids, muddy prints keep making it onto your hardscaping, and even worse, into your home.

Yard Drainage Solutions

If you’ve experienced any of these problems, or are worried that adding a hardscaping project to your property could even cause one of these, then you might be wondering what your options are. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to address yard drainage. No matter what drainage solution you utilize, the objective is the same—moving the water away from your home.


One way that yard drainage can be better addressed is with grading. Creating the proper slope can help move surface water away from your house. People are often surprised to learn that even a subtle grading change can make a world of difference.

Underground Piping

Yard drainage solutions also typically involve underground piping. As we mentioned, the idea is to direct water away from your property. This may simply mean moving it to the lowest point of the yard (perhaps in a common area where other homes are also draining). That unused area may remain soggy, but now your yard can dry out.

Retention Areas

Going a step further, creating a type of retention area where the water drains is an environmentally conscious yard drainage solution that will allow the water to slowly percolate back into the ground rather than flood it. An area like this can be created using the right mix of decorative river rocks and some water-loving plants.


Another issue to address is your downspouts. We’re often surprised by just how many homes have downspouts which are emptying out right at the home’s foundation. Not only is this a threat to flooding your basement, but a lot of rain can turn those downspouts into forceful hoses. As water blasts out into your yard, it can destroy plant beds and landscaping in the process.

While these are some areas that need attention and some potential solutions, keep in mind the solution that will work best for you and your property should be customized to your exact needs. In the end, there are a lot of different ways to address drainage and a professional can help you find the solution that is right for you.

Finding Yard Drainage Pros

Of course, finding the right professional may not be that simple. Unfortunately, yard drainage is frequently overlooked by most landscape contractors. There could be any number of reasons why this is the case.

For one, it may not even be on their radar. You may hire a landscape contractor to build a patio and they might simply not have the experience or the expertise to know that adding hardscaping can create drainage problems. Though you may have never experienced drainage issues before, the addition of a new patio can lead to surface water problems.

While some inexperienced landscape contractors truly may not know enough to talk about drainage solutions, we suspect some are just failing to mention it. This is a troubling thought since it impacts the industry as a whole and makes it difficult for homeowners to know who to trust. That’s why we want to make people aware of it.

Why would a landscape contractor who knows drainage is needed fail to mention it?

The main reason is probably cost. By leaving yard drainage solutions off of their proposal, it may look a lot less expensive than the competition’s bid and make it more likely they’ll get the job. They may assume that they’d rather just get the job and let the homeowner deal with the yard drainage problems later. But this is doing a true disservice to the homeowner, who likely doesn’t know enough to realize an important piece of the project is missing.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen this happen more than we’d like.

That’s why it’s so important to hire a landscape contractor in Maryland who understands drainage and includes those solutions when they’re needed. By choosing a company that has your best interest at heart, and isn’t just out to underbid the competition, you can feel confident that you won’t have to deal with water worries down the line. The last thing that you want is to have your beautiful landscape (or your home) ruined by a big rainstorm since drainage was never addressed. But by choosing wisely, water won’t have to be a worry.

Looking for professional drainage and erosion solutions? Hire a pro to do the dirty work for you! Please feel free to contact us at 443-846-0199 or

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