January 30, 2023

We’re sure you are aware that the heavy clay soil in this area can spell big trouble for residential properties. Clay soil creates poor water drainage, and poor water drainage can lead to soggy areas of lawn that are resistant to growing anything, even grass. If you’ve been ignoring your lawn drainage issues, chances are you have some dead patches and unusable areas of your yard that could use some attention.

A lush green garden with compacted greenery and a dry creek bed.

Dangers of Poor Water Drainage

Poor water drainage is more than just an eyesore. It can affect your property in different ways throughout the year.  In winter, the freezing and thawing process can cause serious damage to both your lawn and foundation. While snow can be good for your yard, pools of standing water will freeze into solid patches of ice, and ice can harm your landscaping, even when your grass is dormant. If there is excessive moisture in the soil and the temperature drops suddenly, water in the grass blades can freeze and expand, damaging the cell membranes of the grass and causing it to die.

Depending on how close your soggy areas are to your house, standing water can pose a risk to your foundation as well. Excess water can seep into the ground along your foundation and enter tiny cracks. When the temperature drops, that water will freeze and expand, increasing the size of the cracks. As the process repeats, the cracks will become large enough to cause flooding in your basement. Even a small amount of water can cause mold and mildew issues, and the standing pools in the yard are a breeding ground for insects in the spring and summer. Although it isn’t a danger, poor drainage can make your outdoor spaces unattractive and unenjoyable.

Advanced Drainage Solutions

There are several commonly used residential drainage solutions that can help with standing water if you have clay soil.

  • Dry Creek Bed

Dry creek beds are carefully dug paths that allow water to flow away from soggy problem areas to create more effective drainage, and are good for areas that are consistently saturated. A dry creek bed will be covered in rocks to mimic the look of a natural creek. Dry creek beds can be worked into the landscaping and are an aesthetically pleasing way to address lawn drainage issues.

  • French Drains

A French drain is a trench with a drainage pipe that runs a few feet from the house and goes below the frost line so the water that flows through it will not freeze. The pipe will be fitted with small holes and will be positioned to run in a slight downward slope, encouraging the water to flow away from the yard and the foundation of your house. The pipe will usually sit on a thin bed of gravel, and the trench itself will be filled with gravel to allow the water to flow more easily. The gravel can be worked into the landscaping, or the drain and gravel can be topped with topsoil and sod for an unbroken look.

  • Re-Grading

Your lawn could have been graded improperly from the start, but it’s also possible that your property was graded properly, and time and erosion has changed the way the water flows. In a re-grading project, your property will have the existing vegetation removed, the ground tilled, and topsoil added to achieve the correct slopes.

Rely on the Professionals for Systems Yard Drainage

Through our decades of experience working in this community, we’ve realized that trying to change the composition of clay soil is less effective and far more disruptive than working with and around it. The above methods of solving residential drainage issues in and around Ann Arbor are tried and true.

Clay soil is an annoyance, but it doesn’t mean that you are doomed to a soggy yard and all the complications that come with it. Twin Oaks Landscape is a full-service landscape contractor with drainage specialists on staff. We can help create the perfect drainage solution for your soil so you can regain those unused areas in your lawn and provide peace of mind that you won’t face major, expensive, and disruptive problems as a result of poor drainage later on. To learn more about how we can help, contact Twin Oaks Landscape today.