How to find solutions for standing water and drainage?


I purchased my home last year and cleared out alot of trees and brush to give us more space. All of last year I tried growing grass in one particular area of my yard however the gradual slope of my yard and lack of sun that hits the area has left me with a mini swamp that is just a mud pit and disaster for whenever I let my dog into the backyard. I have decided to turn the area into a fire pit/hangout area. For such a large area does anyone have any drainage recommendations? I was going to but down blocks to frame the area and then mulch it or put gravel but didn't think that would fix the issue, then I fear I would just have soaked mulch. Below are photos from last summer at its driest. Thanks!

  9 answers
  • Kelli L. Milligan Kelli L. Milligan on Apr 01, 2019

    Wow, what a beautiful spot. What if you did a built up walkway about and sitting area of 6" and maybe dig out a ditch lined in stones like a dry riverbed that the water could migrate to. The fire pit could be recessed into the center of seating area. May need to do some grading. Add more ferns. Keep it natural looking, just a beautiful space.

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Apr 01, 2019

    What a terrific spot to create a tranquil family seating area. Rake and remove all the debris, dig a sloping area for drainage ( french drain), fill area with either paving blocks or small pea stones or rubber mulch. At each post plant a lovely tall growing lemongrass for privacy and color. Hang seasonal plants for color. Bring in your seating with a bench and several chairs allowing room for a low table. You have so many options, best of luck. Make it your own lovely creation and enjoy!

  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 01, 2019

    Our fire pit is the same height as the seating since it is easier to clean out. Some cinder block seating would look natural and blend in well. A small water feature would look nice and add some nice sound effects too. Maybe a cement statue that would reflect some personality or personal taste to the area.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Apr 01, 2019

    landscaping fabric(so gravel doesn't sink) with xtra thick layer of gravel w/edging to contain it water will seep into ground below ; grade it slightly so water doesn't pool where you do not want it

  • William William on Apr 01, 2019

    It is a beautiful space. Grade the area so water doesn't pool. Lay down some flag stone, pavers, patio block to keep the water at bay. Build the firepit. Add seating.

  • Rymea Rymea on Apr 02, 2019

    You need to raise the area with more soil and then an organic mulch like pine needles, or cypress bark over it. I like the idea of flagstone pavers. Make a path going in and more around the fire pit. But I'm not sure how much soil you can add all at once and not affect the trees because their roots are right at soil level. You should research that first.

  • Oliva Oliva on Apr 02, 2019

    Consider either opening the tree canopy for more sun, or regrading the area to permit better drainage.

    If you're in a frost/freeze area, you need to work this into your plans, or these issues will cause your pavers to heave.

    If you have the stamina, you could install a French drain to redirect the water far from this area. Remember to correctly slope the trench and the interior piping, as well.

    Your yard appears to have a great deal of potential!

  • Adding gravel would likely make things worse and adding hard surfaces won’t necessarily address the water issue. Regrading is ideal though could be expensive. French drains might help. You could try a dry well or 2. You can see how we did a dry well here which has helped our yard:

  • Ellis Ellis on Apr 05, 2019

    I wouldn't try to fight the natural conditions, unless you really like a challenge and mosquitos. I'd turn the area into a rain garden-type area. Look for plants that enjoy those conditions, and make a beautiful natural garden. There is a lot of information on the internet about gardening in wet areas.