December 9, 2021

Clay soil, which is prevalent in this area, is dense and compact and can present some unique challenges in your yard. Fighting the nature of clay soil by trying to amend it is a constant and costly process, so it’s better to work around clay soil with custom drainage solutions. A drainage contractor who understands clay soil can help you solve these issues.

Sun shining on a nice residential lawn.

The Challenge of Clay Soil

Soil is usually composed of sand, silt, and clay, and the proportions of each is what defines the soil on your property. Sand has large particles, which do not absorb water. Silt has medium particles and will absorb, but not retain, water. Heavy clay soil is made up of very fine particles that are densely packed. Clay soil is full of nutrients and will form tight layers that won’t allow drainage. This means that, after precipitation, drainage issues will often present themselves. Clay soil can be exacerbated after construction, when contractors will use heavy machinery that compact the soil and break down the soil structure, destroying the air pockets that allow for drainage. Builders usually only dump a layer of topsoil, which can sometimes make things worse.

Solving Your Drainage Issues with a Drainage Contractor

There are several potential solutions to your drainage issues and soggy yard. The different areas of your yard where you are having drainage issues will make a difference in which solution you may want to employ. When it comes to solving drainage issues, a drainage contractor may suggest one of these solutions.

  • Amend the Soil

If heavy clay is trapping the water on the surface, but the soil isn’t entirely heavy clay, adding compost and other organic matter can help change the composition of the soil over time. Adding a few inches of peat, compost, or manure, with the help of earthworms can help, although it can take several years and will need to be repeated over time. If the soil is entirely clay with little sand or silt, this probably won’t make a big enough difference. Amending the soil is an ongoing process that is not usually recommended when addressing clay soil.

  • 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 areas with 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.

How a Drainage Contractor Can Help

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. An expert can look at the soil in your yard and find the right solution. 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 you are having with standing water. We can help. We have experience working with and around clay soil in the Ann Arbor area, and we can develop a custom solution for your drainage issues. Contact Twin Oaks Landscape today.