Asked on Jun 08, 2017

What is the best way to keep water from buildng up in yard?

by Sissy
My backyard is the north side of my home, and the house is about 50 feet across the back. Whenever we have a thunderstorm here in Southern Louisiana, the yard floods. Recently with 7 straight days of rainfall, my yard was soggy and now is starting to smell really musty. In the Winter, NO sun shines on the back yard against the house, and in Summer, it only gets about 1 hour of sun against the house just before the sun sets; and that's only on the northeast end. I'm not in a financial situation to have sand hauled in in order to create a slope away from the house, which has been suggested. The North boundary, on my neighbors property is about a 6-foot deep line of overgrown wild bushes, 4 tall pine trees, and ivy everywhere. Is gutters and sand my only solution?
Soppy yard
  22 answers
  • Jackie Muehlbauer Koenig Jackie Muehlbauer Koenig on Jun 08, 2017

    Where is the water coming from? If your roof slopes towards the back, then a gutter would be the best option.

    if it's coming from a slope in the back yard running towards the house, to protect the house you should have the grade evaluated and fixed before foundation damage occurs. If it's not that serious you could dig a trench adding a pipe that is perforated to allow water to enter and then cover with rock. This would work closer to the house as well. When not raining you have a dry creek Bed. I just did so on my side yard to prevent loss of My yard to Monsoon flooding washing it into the street

  • Lamar Havard Lamar Havard on Jun 08, 2017

    If you can't afford more dirt, you'll have to just transfer the dirt you have from the high side and put it on the low side.

  • Suzanne Suzanne on Jun 08, 2017

    We have called what the above poster mentioned, a French drain. A ditch is made about a foot deep. In your case all along your house maybe 3 feet away from the foundation. A perforated pipe is then run in the area and to an area that run-off is OK with you. Then all the dirt is removed and gavel is placed around and on to the top of the pipe. And it does look nice as a dry river bed if you like.

    I agree with everything the above poster mentioned. Letting this water collect is a bad idea for your foundation. Also, a French drain can be put in after gutters so the water from the roof is directed away from you and the foundation.

    • Merrilee Morrison-Cotter Merrilee Morrison-Cotter on Jun 09, 2017

      We had a similar situation, which meant we had termites in the sillplate. We had no choice but to grade the land, but this French drain works well in conjunction with what we did.

      Also, some German neighbors across the street from me when I was little had a ditch on that side of the house, which they lined with stone. It was maybe 18" wide and a foot deep, and they had it open up where the land sloped away . You could also direct the flow into a different area of your yard away form the house with the look of a dry creek bed of stones. As for doors on that side of the house...They had wide planks to cross the ditch, which was almost always dry when not raining.

  • Ann9553035 Ann9553035 on Jun 09, 2017

    The rocks in the dry creek bed should slow down the water flow so it can seem into the ground instead of running into the street .

  • Sto9987562 Sto9987562 on Jun 09, 2017

    Sometimes , while it's not financially a good time, we still must do something. Your foundation is the single most important part of your home and the largest financial investment you have. If you don't take care of it, it will fail.

    Its important to get that water away from your home. Following some idea that have been suggested is a great start. Perhaps it means a lot of physical work to dig and move and dump. If you can hire some one to help, that may make it quicker, and less demanding in your back.

    • Julie Shannon Julie Shannon on Jun 09, 2017

      And let's also not forget that breeding mosquitoes quite close to your home can bring other health issues!

  • Carol Carol on Jun 09, 2017

    Yes get that water diverted away from your foundation. I just spent 16,400.00 of my retirement to fix the foundation on my fathers home because my stepmother didn't have a downstout installed to direct water away from the foundation ..

  • Terry Knipp Terry Knipp on Jun 09, 2017

    I used a French Drain AND planted a rain garden. You can find information and directions to both on the internet. Also, you can get trees from the Arbor Foundation quite inexpensively. In addition to the Weeping Willow, a River Birch will soak up extra water. Good luck.

  • Rosalie Bryan Rosalie Bryan on Jun 09, 2017

    you need french drains

  • Darlene Darlene on Jun 09, 2017

    Just dig a wide long trench across and fill with river rock so the water will go there. Place the soil you dig out next to the house to help keep the water away from the house.

  • Mandy Brown Mandy Brown on Jun 09, 2017

    Regrading the yard is the best option and the French drain is also a good idea. With those you should consider planting some shrubs and plants along the back of the house. Landscaping will help prevent the water from seeping down into your foundation.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jun 09, 2017

    If all that water is being dumped from your gutters or lack of gutters on that side, I would put up gutters, make sure their clean, and then put an extender pipe or one of those roll out plastic extenders to get it to the down slope of your yard.

    And then put in your french drain. You can rent the ditch diggers for those from an equipment rental place. Get your utility companies to mark out any undergrounds.

  • Jacks Beta Jacks Beta on Jun 09, 2017

    I've always loved seeing this picture on pinterest. Made me want to buy a house that had a slope just to do it.

    • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Jun 09, 2017

      I love the picture you posted. I lived in Arizona and did this in my front yard with river rock. It's an inexpensive solution to a huge problem that any homeowner can do. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sissy Sissy on Jun 09, 2017

    Thank you all for the great suggestions. But there is no slope away from my house. I think the french drain just behind the house and grading the yard towards the trees in the back seems to be a feasible solution. I did consider the gutter because the roof does slant (steeply) towards the back yard, but I think the aforementioned idea would be great. I recently lost my husband, and I guess I know where I need to spend his life insurance.

    • Ellis Ellis on Jun 09, 2017

      I am sorry for your loss. Please be careful about the people you contract with to do this work--there are a lot of incompetent and dishonest people in the home improvements business, I have found to my sorrow. Although you say your yard doesn't slope away from the house, I do recall reading an article about creating a "swale" on your property to carry water away. Some earth moving to make the area close to your house the high part, and creating a slope to a swale to direct the water where it can run off might work. There's a couple of how-tos on the internet: "How to create a drainage swale" at, is one, but there are lots of others.

      I often look at these sites even if I intend to hire the work out; at least that way I'll know if the contractor is knowledgeable.

  • Suzanne Suzanne on Jun 09, 2017

    I would like to add a concern I have about the water that is laying about your property. These days with so many mosquito born diseases, it is not a good idea to have standing water anywhere. FYI

  • Tara Tara on Jun 09, 2017

    My yard has had issues since we bought it. The first night in our home we had unloaded everything but furniture and put it in there. The morning after a storm went through during the night we had at least 3" of flooding.

    That was 15 years ago, we have since made some changes. New door that seals all the way at the bottom of the outside stairs coming into the basement and all new windows.

    Various people around us have made changes to the water flow. We sit at the very bottom of a slight grade downhill from all many many homes. So over the years as these changes happen our side yard which is completely shaded erouded so that the natural swell that was there taking all the water out to the street is no longer there.

    We had a quote to put a underground open pipe from the back of the property all the way down the side of the house out to the sidewalk. $300 which is bad. We have considered doing the dry river bed thing an adding so dirt to the side of the home sloping the land down away from the house.

    We need cheap ideas but would be nice if is nice looking as well!

    The pics below don't justify the extent to which is mostly floods. Sometime it is so deep by the A/C you could float a canoe!!!!

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Jun 09, 2017

    I am sorry for your loss. Prayers and good thoughts for you. About your yard....I would definitely look into getting it corrected. Get multiple quotes from reliable landscaping companies. Verify their references, licenses, etc. before signing anything. Check out volunteer organizations for assistance. Was your husband a Veteran? Veterans always help one another. Might be an opportunity to meet new people while getting some help. Maybe there's a program at your local high school (FFA class) where students can do volunteer work for credits, you would need to purchase supplies. Pizza with the students would be an awesome thank you party. Best of luck. Blessings to you.

  • Sissy Sissy on Jun 09, 2017

    No, he was not a veteran. He was a LA Corrections Officer. He had to take disability retirement while he fought the battle.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jun 09, 2017

    Sounds to me like your neighbors have exacerbated your property's water problem. Did any of the people who've come out to give you estimates document any of these problems? Have you had the city come out to possibly improve drainage on your street? and see if any of your neighbors amendments are causing the problem? in violation of some city codes. If you have pictures of the pre-existing natural hillside that protected your yard, I would show those to the city inspector. You can't just divert water from your yard onto a neighboring property that causes damage without incurring liability.

    The place where your hill used to exist to me seems like a good place to put in a french drain in addition to one along the back of the house, and a gutter.

  • Tam 15076171 Tam 15076171 on Jun 12, 2017

    You can also spread lime to help dry the ground after the standing water has gone and this should help with the musty smell

  • Tara Tara on Jun 13, 2017

    How do u know if someone is replying to your question u posted?

  • Mda6814277 Mda6814277 on Jun 13, 2017

    Can you create a dry river? Dig trench where most water collects, fill with rocks, pebbles

  • Sissy Sissy on Jun 15, 2017

    Thank you all for all the suggestions, I've found a young man to come out & help me to resolve the problems, & now I have many wonderful ideas to suggest to him. I do know that I am going to splurge for the gutters, & connect a 2nd rain barrel to my existing one. Again, thank you all.