What can I do about Standing water in my backyard?

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hello, i have an area in my backyard ( wetlands ) that fills with standing water making it a mosquito breeding ground .. can anyone suggest help here ?? Oh this all started when neighbor removed her tree and filled her yard sloping all her water towards us ...she has since sold the property and moved .. any suggestions ?

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  15 answers
  • Donna Dickenson Donna Dickenson on Apr 05, 2017
    first you should have gone to your town hall and while she was doing her changes but if you have photos of before and after i still would go to your building comm and see what they have to say is that fence yours and is it on the lot line in my town in NH they have set back rules that a fence that high must be 15' off the property line it sucks that the new owner might have to pay the price of the old owners work but you do not have to report them wright away just see if it meets the rules and if it doe not see if new nabor will work with you to get your yard fixed you are going to need to put in dranage and that is costly good luck

  • Oh my! What a great piece of land! Well here in CA that is grounds of a lengthy and costly lawsuit. Not to mention, not neighborly and illegal. I, too, would visit your town hall and see what remedies are available to you so that you do not have to pay full cost of remediating your own property. Feel bad for the neighbors that bought the place, but changes may need to be made to their property to help yours. I know it will be a delicate dance as no one wants to be the nasty neighbor. Good luck.

  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Apr 06, 2017
    i have a very similar situation on my hands right now. I contacted our local public works dept. they handle storm water runoff issues. Have them assess the situation and they will handle contacting the new home owner/old homeowner, and make sure the runoff is directed properly.
    What we ended up doing was trenching a descending ditch out to our drainage ditch. Put in a grated drain and pipe and now it is corralled so to speak so that it drains down to the appropriate place.
    Ours started when a neighbor 2 doors down took out his concrete driveway.

  • Lynne B. Lynne B. on Apr 06, 2017
    I agree with all comments about involving the town - in all places that I have lived there are grading and wetlands and tree ordinances that it sounds like your neighbor violated. You might still try, but so long after the fact, it is not likely that your town will get involved unless you can clearly show the before/after situation. If this is rainwater/surface run-off it is one thing. If it is truly wetlands that have been relocated, it is another matter. Is it ponding like this all the time or just after a rainstorm? Different states have different run-off rules. What was the condition of your yard before your neighbor did all this? From the looks of the trees, I'd say it was pretty wet to begin with. The trees have developed "knees" around the base of the trunk - to get oxygen into the roots that are underwater. Am I right? One thing you could try is a bio-swale along the uphill edge of your property where the water is entering. You would be creating a wetland area, like a rain garden, that would capture the water and hold it in that area. But you'd have to do a lot of soil work to make sure the water infiltrates. And it's likely that this area really wants to be a wetland and will never drain. I suggest you consult a wetlands engineer or start by talking to your cooperative extension. Rutgers is one of the best - especially on wetlands! They teach one of the best programs on wetlands in the country. I wonder if they have any students who would be interested in a project? It's really tricky to manage wetlands if you don't have a good understanding of how soil and water behave - as you see what happened when your ignorant neighbor cut down a tree that had been holding lots of water - and shifted the slope. It's really worth a consultation from an expert if you want to have a long-lasting solution. The average landscape/drainage person won't know enough to do an ecologically sound job. My main point is that you really can't do anything right there where the water is puddling unless you want to create a sort of bog/pond garden. That would be my first choice, assuming the municipality allows it. Check out this website http://www.aquascapesunlimited.com/. With the right design (size, depth, soils etc.) and the right NATIVE plants you could have a beautiful wetland/water feature. But you'll still have water there. That area is the low spot and already doesn't drain so you can't get it to drain away unless you started using drains and doing major grading - and maybe even pumps. The only way to get rid of the standing water is to prevent it from getting there by holding it further uphill and helping it to infiltrate. That would require a soil study - best to seek expert help who can give you the proper analysis and guidance. I'd start with Rutgers Cooperative Extension - they also have a great program on stormwater management - and also your county soil and water conservation district. There may not be any way to re-do your neighbor's stupidity, but there are resources to help you manage the consequences. Good luck!

  • Lynne B. Lynne B. on Apr 06, 2017
    I should add - if your yard is an officially delineated wetland you are probably very limited in what you can do. Wetlands are ecologically important which is why they're regulated now. It's unfortunate that your neighbor made things worse for you. I strongly advise seeking guidance from your town's wetlands inspector before doing anything. And you still might have to bring in your own expert. The problem with water of any kind is that is has to go someplace. If you remove it from your yard it will end up in someone else's yard - or basement - and you'll be liable for that.

  • Claude Claude on Apr 06, 2017
    Perfect answer!

  • Jeanette Marfield Jeanette Marfield on Apr 06, 2017
    we had an area that would become boggy every time it rained. The previous owner filled it with lava rock. Right next to this area is a dry creek so most of the excess would flow away. Because it was a pain to try and clean out this area we put a small deck over it. It still gets a little wet but at least we don't have to see the mess and we have additional usable space.

  • Marylu Marylu on Apr 06, 2017
    create a lovely rain garden with native plants which also like wet feet from time to time, add lots of mulch. Some towns have groups that help with establishing rain gardens, universities sometimes help, and sometimes there is money to help with storm water runoff. Go to city with the idea of making lemonade from lemons if neighbor making restitution doesn't pan out.

  • Jean Jean on Apr 06, 2017

    it does look like the fence itself is helping hold the water (some kind of barrier to keep bunnies out or terriers in, perhaps?) there.... I would also suggest the County Extension office..what it 'beyond' your yard will determine a lot, particularly whether there is someplace for water to drain 'to' or whether a rain garden/formal marsh (complete with things that eat mosquito eggs) would be the better bet.

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Apr 06, 2017
    Had a similar situation with a neighbor's sewage (about 20 years ago). Had to go to town hall meetings, took almost two years to get resolved (long story). That being said, a landscaping company might be able to help you with french drains that will slope away from your yard allowing the area to dry out. Check with your local Town Hall Manager regarding resolution, hopefully not a lawyer, and obtain several professional landscaping quotes. I sincerely wish you the best of luck. You have a beautiful back yard in the making.

  • Judy Judy on Apr 06, 2017
    hAhA - SECOND TIME REPLYING - I THINK YOU WILL HAVE TO LIFT UP YOUR LOT, AND THEN BE SURE TO DRAIN THIS AREA. BE ALERT, FOR BUG TIME IS COMING ON, TOO. YOU MAY WANT TO SPRAY THIS AREA, FIRST, BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO WORK ON IT, IN CASE THERE IS OTHER ANIMALS ON IT. I WOULD LIFT UP YOUR CLOSER AREA, THEN LIFT THIS AREA, THO HAVE THE SIDES SLANT DOWN A BIT., WITH GOOD DRAINAGE. BEST WISHES, BUT IF YOU ARE NOT SURE, ASK LOWE'S, FOR THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO HELP YOU. BEST WISHES.

  • Anna Anna on Apr 06, 2017
    If you have an area where the water can drain to then put a series of French drains, connecting to an outlet pipe. I had a side yard which collected run-off and the french drain idea solved the problem.

  • Mfbandit769 Mfbandit769 on Apr 07, 2017
    Simple, hire a professional. I doubt there are any engineers responding to your question on this site.

  • Dfm Dfm on Apr 07, 2017
    OK i don't have a fix for the water. my previous place had areas where water pooled, it eventually was absorbed. to keep the little blood sucking insects away i used mosquito dunks or the granulated form. the dunks went in the rain barrels, the other in any standing water- large puddles, small puddles. you can find the the dunks/ granular at garden shops, on line retailers, wallmarts. i even put them in the water reservoir of my self watering planters.

  • D roach D roach on Apr 08, 2017
    I would put in a soak away, which is a great big pit underground then filled with hardcore so the water goes down into the ground and gradually soaks into the surrounding ground. Then covered with soil. I would also plant a willow tree or 6, as they 'drink' loads of water.