Asked on Apr 2, 2021

Unfinished backyard ?



I have an unfinished backyard. Next to my backyard is a huge runoff about the size of a swimming pool. The condition of my soil is muddy with hay to absorb the water when it rains. I get a lot of pooling in certain areas when it rains. I want to lay top soil and sod but I’m worried that the rain will wash the away the nutrients in the soil. What steps should I take? Should I lay some type of gravel first and then the top soil? If so, what type of gravel should I use?

14 answers
  • I would call in a professional to assess what you need to recontour your yard. You will need a lot of fill (soil) to address the pooling and mud. I would also be concerned about the runoff of standing water. It's a breeding ground for mosquitos.

  • Michelle
    on Apr 4, 2021

    If you are in to grow native plants... for butterflies, bees etc. You could consult with a native plant grower/landscape company. They have plants specifically that would grow in this area and prevent flooding. I have clay soil and have done this. It is a nice way to help the environment, your yard, and pollinators What my contractor called it is a rain garden

  • Robyn Garner
    Robyn Garner
    on Apr 4, 2021

    You can plant either willow hedges or weeping willow trees around the perimeter of the yard. They literally suck up water! Make sure you don't plant them near your foundation or any water lines as they will infiltrate to get water. People claim they are "messy trees" but I had a flooding problem in my back 1/3 of the property. I found them easy to trim with a hedge trimmer so the fronds were above my head and the "mess" only happened in the fall.

    I would, however, call in some pros and pick their brains for other ideas. They won't charge to come look.

  • William
    on Apr 4, 2021

    You would need to raise the grade of your yard with soil and slightly slope it towards the runoff. Do not lay any gravel. The grass will not grow.

  • Em
    on Apr 4, 2021

    You may want to add a run off drain at the lowest point, digging a trench adding the pipe then recover. This will allow the water to run off instead of pooling. I would add gravel and a good bit of it then cover with soil to level with the rest of the yard. It looks like a pool was there originally.

  • Redcatcec
    on Apr 4, 2021

    Have you considered an experienced landscaping company, bring them out and get free ideas and estimates of what can be successfully done. Pick their brains.

    If this is done incorrectly you will have major erosion problems.

  • You need drain or fill rock and like a truck load of it. Then you could put soil or sod on top

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    Kathy Gunter Law
    on Apr 5, 2021

    You could start with fill dirt and pack it in up to about 4" from the top. Then add topsoil and sod.

  • If you dump a load of gravel in there then soil, it should be fine. The rock will assist with draining.

  • Deb K
    Deb K
    on Apr 6, 2021

    Hi Shawn, yikes! That is quite a dilemma! I think you can do a few things here: You need to stabilize along the fence. Hope these videos haps you out some

  • Betsy
    on Apr 6, 2021

    Hi Shawn: First of all, is this your property? If not, find out who owns it and have it taken care of as it's not only a health hazard, but an attractive nuisance for kids who may fall into the water and be injured or worse. You can contact the city to find the owner and tell them, and the city, about it and the need to fix it. If it's yours, you may be able to find a builder who has free fill dirt from a basement dig that you can have to fill in the area. From the looks of the thing, it looks like it was made on purpose. If you are going to fill it with dirt, be sure to mound it so that when it settles, it will settle evenly and not in a dip.

    Good luck

  • Johnavallance82
    on Apr 8, 2021

    Hello there,

    Plant a Willow Tree, to absorb the water. or Build a Pond or Make a Bog garden. Leave it for a few years to see if you need a combination of all the above. or Call in Landscapers and ask them to improve the drainage by laying Land drains. Good luck!

  • Ella
    7 days ago

    The area behind your yard with the run off is owned by someone, it looks like it could be a health and safety issue, call your city planning department and report it.

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