Asked on Jun 11, 2016

How to deal with standing water?

by Michicachan999
Hi all. I am a new homeowner, this is my first house. The house sits on the highest point of the property and everything slopes downward from thereon, so when it rains everything collects in the bottom valley near the fence (which is the neighbor's). Attached is a picture I took of the worst spot in the yard. It has turned into a miniature pond where frogs swim, until it evaporates. I'm afraid it'll become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, though. What solutions do you propose?
how to deal with standing water, A small pond that will eventually dry up if it stops raining but not before
A small pond that will eventually dry up if it stops raining, but not before.
  38 answers
  • TwoPlusCute TwoPlusCute on Jun 12, 2016
    Mosquitoes are definitely a concern. I had a similar problem. I filled the area with extra soil and planted grass. In my case, it helped keeping the water from pooling there. My suggestions: 1. Make the slope smaller by adding soil and reseeding grass. 2. Plant a variety of moist loving plants. Water will be absorbed much faster. 3. Add plants that mosquitoes dislike, namely lemongrass (citronella). They make for a fabulous tall grass in the summer. Hope you find a solution. :)
  • Ruidoso Ruidoso on Jun 13, 2016
    Put a key hole garden there!
  • Valerie Valerie on Jun 13, 2016
    I think this post should help solve the problem:
  • Viv5196087 Viv5196087 on Jun 13, 2016
    make a dry well, by digging parallel pit beside the fence, then put gravel in it. Add dirt every time it becomes less.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 13, 2016
    This is the second post I have seen in the last 2 days about standing water and everyone suggest the pea gravel dry well. The one I saw yesterday suggested dig out the infected area, fill it with crushed rock up to about 3" or so from the top. Once it has "settled" (after a couple of rains) fill with topsoil and plant some sod. In the future the water will fill up this well and make it's way into the soil instead of standing.
  • UpState UpState on Jun 13, 2016
    Dry well... Water drinking Swamp plants... Willow trees.
  • B B on Jun 13, 2016
    You could try a pondless waterfall. Beautiful and solves a problem.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jun 13, 2016
    It is a mosquito family resort . Drain, not contain.
  • Susan Beecher Susan Beecher on Jun 13, 2016
    Build a rain garden! Search on-line for how tos. This the best solution and not hard.
    • Mary Thorne Mary Thorne on Jun 13, 2016
      @Susan Beecher I agree. Since the area does drain eventually, the rain garden will be very pretty and the frogs will still be happy :)
  • Connie Connie on Jun 13, 2016
    Hi. Perhaps planting a small hedge the length of the fence....filling in with decorative stone .
  • Stanley Chalk Stanley Chalk on Jun 13, 2016
    The simplist answer there is a pipe system that is put around most homes that help drain away water from the foundation. It has to slope to one end slightly . If you do it yourself then it should not cost too much money. Check at Lowe's or Home depot for the pipe.
  • Sharon Bourque Betsill Sharon Bourque Betsill on Jun 13, 2016
    Do it yourself Drain system
  • Christine Millership Christine Millership on Jun 13, 2016
    Hi, What a great lot of suggestions! You might not want to do serious digging, or spend a lot, so my own suggestion is to plant willow. It's not as boring as it sounds, trust me. Buy willow stems, not a tree, and you'll be able to plait them into shapes and it is so creative. Willow loves water, and will soak it up from the area. To create a tree, it takes about 50 stems. Check on Google for plaiting the willow stems, and you can see how create a tree, a fence, a place to shelter: there's lots of ideas, so instead of digging, you can channel your energies into creating something unique, created by you! As someone's already suggested, plant things mosquitos hate while the stems are establishing, and once they're drinking the water well, you should be seeing the benefit. Good luck whatever you choose!
  • Carolyn Carolyn on Jun 13, 2016
    Christine, I have this same issue as yard slopes to back and to side, but both neighbors have put CEMENT under their wooden fences, preventing rainwater to flow out of my yard. I've put my dog kennels at back of yard, so poor dogs now have 4-6 inches of water and/or muck when it rains... and it has now become monsoon season in Texas where we formerly had drought. I've been trying to "fill in" and build up area, but that's going to take a lot of dirt. I'm so glad you mentioned willow and I will research that and give it a try, too. Had to put old fence panels in kennels just to give dogs a dry place to sit.
  • Kathy Sijan Kathy Sijan on Jun 13, 2016
    I never knew that about willow stems. Here is an article:
  • Dee Dee on Jun 13, 2016
    Could backfilling be an answer? Hard to know without really seeing all the area.
  • Tauni Tauni on Jun 13, 2016
    We have the same problem ... cheap fix ... bale of straw and bag of lime ... lime is what big contractors use on a muddy area to keep their trucks from sinking in the mud ... So I got the bright idea to use it on my muddy road and the straw on top to help immediately soak up the water ... guess what!? It works! :) And after you have laid down the lime and straw ... give it a couple of rains and you can put gravel on top of that ... it stays real nice and dry
    • UpState UpState on Jun 22, 2016
      How about like a 40 pound bag of 'kitty litter' ...(clean) ?
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Jun 13, 2016
    At the lowest part of the yard dig a dry well and fill with rock. I had the same problem and this was the best money I invested in the yard.
  • Chris mara Chris mara on Jun 13, 2016
    Hi we are in similar situation however drainage runs downward through our yard from three neighbors yards slightly elevated above us. Next to us in the other lot side is lowest neighbors yard and fortunately/unfortunately he collects all the first, mulch etc that runs down and collects in his yard that then goes to a natural pond. Instead of fighting the elements and neighbors I followed the trail of water and had someone dig a trench. Had them add some twists and turns so when it DID rain and all the water started coming down 1) it would not erode my land anymore 2) it would channel the water to its natural location (pond) and 3) it would not collect in low areas inviting mosquitos, etc. I laid commercial grade landscape material that was permeable and then had gravel put into the trench. I then had river rocks put over that. For decorative purposes I put medium to small Boulder type of rocks around the edges and planted shade plants like hosts, variegated grass, lily turf, impatiens. These plants make it look natural like it was part of original land with a natural creek. You could do same with your area and turn an eyesore into a shade focal point while addressing water situation. You may still have frogs! The water that gathers there will go to the bottom of the pit and absorb into the soil or by air and plant roots. The dirt you dig up to make your "shade rainwater garden" can be mounded up along the sides a bit to create soil to put your plants in/around and embed your rock. P.s. When it rains heavy at our home, the rainwater comes down the elevation from neighbors above and from what is normally a dry creek turns into a rushing water creek which follows course of laid path and makes its way toward pond. No more loss of precious dirt, rotten plant roots, mosquitos. Just wanted to share in case it might spark idea for you. Good luck!
  • Jennie Lee Jennie Lee on Jun 13, 2016
    For immediate, labor-free mosquito control, look for a product called "Mosquito Dunks". I used to buy them at Lowe's. Non toxic; NOT a pesticide.
  • Karen Karen on Jun 13, 2016
    Looks to me like you need a French drain. This will lead it off of your property and to the street. Find a qualified installer. I actually got my local septic tank service company to do mine ( friend suggested). Do now. You may want to add more drainage to your yard. You have to make sure that whatever you do does not cause water to go on either neighbors property. It's important that it is done right and to city codes.
  • Charlotte Charlotte on Jun 13, 2016
    Build a Rain Garden there. Rain gardens are full of thirsty, deep rooted plants that help the rainwater filter naturally back into the environment.
  • Kat Kat on Jun 13, 2016
    I second the rain garden. You would find your eco system in your yard come alive.
  • Ljgordon Ljgordon on Jun 13, 2016
    I brought in several dump truck loads of dirt, spread it and made my yard higher than my neighbor's. I also dug a very shallow ditch to drain the water from both of our properties.
    • Gabrielle Falk Gabrielle Falk on Jun 14, 2016
      @Ljgordon With heavy rain, was your drain enough to make sure your neighbour didn't get flooded? A friend of ours (in Sydney Australia) is having huge problems with a neighbour who lives on the lower side, when our friend's pool overflows after heavy rain.
  • Carol Carol on Jun 13, 2016
    Here's info on a rain garden with instructions...
  • Pat Packard Pat Packard on Jun 13, 2016
    I live on a hillside and would have a running little rivulet during spring runoff. I got 2 little starts totaling 3 leaves from a friend that looked like little rhubarb starts. However, after this stuff got started no water runs over the surface and I have a 12 by 12 foot clump of what looks like 6' foot tall giant rhubarb. These have hollow stems that hold water in them. I would be happy to give you more information on these and send pix. At this time all I have are phone pix. I also get wandering folks who have never seen anything like this who stop and inquire. Imagine rhubarb over six feet tall. Someone told me it might be a variety of gunnera. Not sure about that.
    • UpState UpState on Jun 15, 2016
      When you figure out what you actually have...please share. Could be very helpful to many.
  • Gabrielle Falk Gabrielle Falk on Jun 14, 2016
    You are very lucky indeed to have frogs in your garden. Frogs in your garden are indicative of a healthy environment. The frogs will eat the mosquito larvae and since the frogs found my water bowls in the garden, we have had NO problems with mosquitoes. Front or back. Why not capitalise on the wet area, and install some sort of frog pond. If you do install a frog pond, make sure that the frogs can get out. You won't need anything too deep. But I do have an pump to recirculate and aerate the water. Just gentle. My big frog pond used to be a fish pond and the goldfish would eat the frog eggs. Unfortunately I accidentally left the hose running, and the fish died (cannot handle fresh water from the hose). The sides of a pond can be slippery, and contrary to popular belief, frogs can drown, and that is far too sad. They are like bees. Keepers of the environment. Make sure they have some sort of 'rock' or something that they can get a grip on to get out of the pond. They don't spend all their life in water. The female lays eggs, which are then fertilised by the male. That's when you see a white/frothy scum on the water, and if you look closely you will see tiny little black dots - undeveloped tadpoles. Do everything you can to look after your frogs. Years ago I put bowls of water out, in the garden, just to look pretty, but in a very short space of time the local frogs found the bowls, and started laying eggs. Frogs like water that is a bit murky (safe for the undeveloped eggs and safe from birds) and definitely shady. They don't really like fresh water from the hose. In Sydney the water contains chlorine (for teeth protection) so it is best to have water standing by in a container when you need to top up their pond/s. With the surrounding soil/garden damp and cool. Congrats. that you have frogs. Make sure you keep them. If frogs disappear, we are all in trouble. Congratulations on the wild life in your garden. You are very lucky.
  • Yusuf Abdul-Rahman Yusuf Abdul-Rahman on Jun 14, 2016
    Will I have a wonderful garden in my wonderful house with roses and flowers
  • Rebecca Rebecca on Jun 14, 2016
    I just saw this on hometalk dig a dry well they made one 4 by 4 by 3 foot deep lined it with fabric and then what gravel sand and then we planted the dirt over the top you couldn't see it but it soaked up the excess water and then let it dissipate in the ground slowly
  • Jill Kinkade Jill Kinkade on Jun 14, 2016
    it into a rain garden. You should be able to find the details on-line. Or planting ivy or some other water hungry in the spot and putting in a structure for it to climb up would work (and that's quite simple to do!).
  • Chris mara Chris mara on Jun 15, 2016
    Reading the posts it seems like the ground level changed over time OR your neighbors changed something in their yard that is now diverting water to lowest level which is towards you. A pool install could do that. If someone else down the line created a raised bed or patio now that water is trying to divert around obstacle. Unfortunately you cannot change what neighbors have going on in their yards unless it was something major. That's not the case with your yard. So all you can do is solve your own problem in any of recommended ways. Good luck!
  • Andrea Jackson Andrea Jackson on Jun 19, 2016
    My cousin turned hers into a water feature/fountain. You dig it out a little more install a fountain pump and build up with rocks and the hose. You now have a water feature in that corner.
    • Michicachan999 Michicachan999 on Jun 26, 2016
      I have been seriously considering such a thing. I'm not sure what the rules are for neighboring fences, though, and I'm wary about building anything right up against it. I'll try envisioning what I can do about it, though. Thanks for your post!
  • Sue Sanders Sue Sanders on Jun 21, 2016
    Our neighbor used his tractor to dig a trench all along his fence sloping it toward the street so his water would not run into our driveway. His property was slightly higher than our property. The trench was more like a scoop so was easy for him to mow. At front of our yards was a trench down the entire front of our yards with pipe under our driveway for the water to continue down the street. At the end of our street was a water retention pond and a grate that allowed the water to enter the sewer line. Our neighborhood is two and a half acre lots. Landscaping is the key, to run slope of yard with a trench going to the lowest part of your yard to flow to street and into grates. If yard slopes to the back then you would have to put in a French drain at the end of the trench.
  • Dus7174931 Dus7174931 on Jul 23, 2016
    the long term solution is to install a perforated pipe(designed for just this reason) it absorbs the excess water, then channels it to a new location such as a city drain, or even out to the street, where it will run to the sewer drain on your block.
  • Connie wedding Connie wedding on Sep 18, 2016
    To help it go way down into the ground much faster and keep it off the surface, you could use a post-hole-digger to make deep holes in the ground, about 4 feet....then fill with gravel. If you don't want the gravel to show, plant something beside it that will drape over and cover it. Maybe a circle of Hostas all around the tree, with the drains in between the plants.