April 25, 2022

Clay soil is common in the Ann Arbor area, and can cause poor soil drainage which results in areas that stay soggy long after it rains. Clay soil is dense, compact, and can present some unique challenges in your yard. Rather than fighting the nature of clay soil, it is better to work around, or even with, the soil to solve your drainage issues. A drainage contractor who understands clay soil can help you solve these issues once and for all.

Concrete Bricks in Two Different Colors and Residential Driveway Water Drain Close Up.

The Challenge of Clay Soil and Water Drainage

Soil is usually composed of sand, silt, and clay. Sand has large particles, which do not absorb water. Silt has medium particles and will absorb, but not retain water. Finally, heavy clay soil is made up of very fine particles that are densely packed. Clay soil is full of nutrients, but there are complications. Clay soil forms tight layers that won’t allow water to pass through. This means that, after precipitation, drainage issues will present themselves. When homes are built on clay soil, building contractors use heavy machinery that inadvertently compact the soil and break down the soil structure. This compaction destroys any air pockets that would normally allow for water drainage. After using the machinery, builders usually only dump a shallow layer of topsoil, which isn’t enough to change the drainage quality of the soil overall.

Developing Systems for Yard Drainage

There are several potential solutions to your drainage issues. Your particular drainage issue will determine which solution you may want to employ. When it comes to solving drainage issues in clay soil, a drainage contractor may suggest one of these options:

  • Area Drains

An area drain may also be known as a catch basin or storm drain. It will collect the runoff water and drain it to a lower spot. Area drains work well in hardscaping, or in garden areas.

  • Soakaway

A soakaway will collect and disperse water to a better area for drainage. It’s usually a space about a square yard in area, and a yard deep, filled with rock or stone. Soakaways are usually installed away from the house.

  • Channel Drains

A channel drain can be installed along a pavement area, such as a driveway or patio. Channel drains can be installed as design elements, so the solution works to enhance the look of your yard as well as provide better drainage where water tends to collect.

Advanced Drainage Solutions

When you are trying to solve drainage issues related to heavy, clay soil, you need someone with experience to help you. Many of these solutions are not easy to do yourself and really shouldn’t be attempted by someone without experience. In addition, on your own, or with a contractor inexperienced in heavy clay soil, you may spend time and money experimenting with solutions that may or may not make a difference. A local expert can look at the soil in your yard and find the right solution with much less trial and error. Once you have started working with a drainage contractor, you will have someone who understands your property and can help troubleshoot any other situations that may arise.

Clay soil can be a mixed blessing. The nutrients in this dense soil can help your landscaping thrive if you work with a drainage contractor to address the issues with standing water. If you’re experiencing standing water in your lawn, contact Twin Oaks Landscape today. We have the experience and knowledge you need to improve your clay soil drainage issues.