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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I recently purchased my first home this past fall. Now that we made it to through winter to the spring, we have come to notice that our backyard does not drain well at all. Our yard is not level and we get ponds that last a week in the low spots. We have been looking into different options but being I just graduate College I'm on a budget.
I just had a couple landscaping companies come out to quote how to fix it. One said to grad the lawn, dig a trench and lay a drain out to the street. It would cost $5000. Another came out and said they would "Bore the lawn" 7-14 times throughout the yard and fill with Pea gravel, then lay 17 yards of top soil, then seed. This would cost $2100. I like the second idea but wanted to know if this would work. It also seems pretty easy for a DIY. Just need steps on what I need to do.

My other thought was to slope the dirt into a rain garden, if that would work.

If you have any other ideas or can help me with the steps needed to do this myself it would be much appreciated.


The Yard size is about 1000 sqft. And my property seems to be higher than our neighbors.
 

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Civil Engineer
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Never heard of "boring the lawn". Do they plan to read dull stories until the lawn falls asleep?

Every project of your type needs to start with a good understanding of the real problem. This will require some investigation on your part. The cause of poor drainage can be a poorly permeable soil near the surface, such as clay or silt. You find this out by digging several test pits perhaps three feet deep or so, they don't need to be very large, just sufficient so you can sample the soil and see what you have.

If the soil is poorly draining, you need to replace the poorly draining soil with soil that drains better, so soil with significant fractions of sand and gravel work well. I had a similar sounding problem on the unpaved part of my driveway, it was dense glacial till, and never drained. I hired an excavating company to remove the top 12 inches of soil and replace with crushed stone, no more drainage problem. In your case, you probably don't want crushed stone, but you get the idea.

If the problem is a high groundwater table, you cannot solve that by replacing the soil. You determine if you have a high groundwater problem by digging a few test pits and measuring the elevation of the water in the pits. If the groundwater is near the surface, you need to direct the groundwater away, which can be done with swales, possibly grading, or using tile (buried perforated pipe). But you can't plan the solution until you fully understand the problem.

The landscaping companies that offered solutions may have done some test pits, you may want to discuss with them what investigation they did, and why they selected the solution they did.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Haha, They way he explained it was he would take an Auger and dig down to a certain depth. And fill with pea gravel.
 

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Not clear from your post what the low spots are or how big they are. First, don't do anything that would redirect water towards your home. This sometimes dictates whether you shave the high or fill the low.

If you have low spots in grass, buy bags of cheap topsoil and sand at the home centers, mix them together and fill the low spots and level with a long stick. As long as it's only an inch or two the grass will just grow up through it. With high spots you can carefully shave off the grass sod with a spade, remove some soil and replace the sod.
 

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Master General ReEngineer
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My other thought was to slope the dirt into a rain garden, if that would work.

The Yard size is about 1000 sqft. And my property seems to be higher than our neighbors.
Ayuh,.... The Best answer would be to pitch the entire lawn to the street,.....

A swale could be used to funnel the water to an escape point,...
 

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"Boring the yard" is just a bunch of mini dry wells. It would get rid of the ponding IF the soil below will drain. You can dig a hole, say 2-3 foot, fill it with water and then see how long it takes to dissipate. Then you have to figure out where the water goes once its in the ground, don't want to create a larger problem. Proper way to address the issue would be what Bondo described.
 
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