How do make over a muddy backyard?

Stacy Diedrick
by Stacy Diedrick

Hi guys my backyard is very wet and muddy in the drainage areas. I’ve tried adding more soil and stones nothing works. The builder says the grading passed so it’s our responsibility. I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas as to how to deal with this. Is there anything I can do that will help to absorb the water? I’ve included a picture of the sink area. Thanks

  7 answers
  • Try adding a thick layer of mulch around the plants :

    You could also try digging a bit of a trench to create a way for the water to flow away from some areas.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jul 01, 2019

    Hello there,

    Do you have Gutters and downpipes, if so maybe fit a water Butt to collect the water. or Grow water or bog loving plants - or grow a tree and shrubs to take up the excess water - or Dig down in that area and form a Soak-away - or add plenty of grit to the soil to help with drainage.

    • Stacy Diedrick Stacy Diedrick on Jul 01, 2019

      Hi I like the ideas of plants and shrubs to soak up water. Do you know of any that loves and would be best for this? Thanks

  • Pjo26908388 Pjo26908388 on Jul 01, 2019

    Aerating and thatching the lawn will help the water soak in. As Adrianne said a thick layer of mulch on the plant beds will help too.

    Do do these things and see where the water goes. There can still be low areas that can be solved with landscaping/plantings, hardscapes or a dry river rock feature.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jul 01, 2019


    After addressing gutters and downspouts -a rain garden might be something to consider.

    Some areas actually sponsor by their construction by a % reimbursement.

  • Oh boy. I am simply not as trusting as you are. Regardless of what the builder tells you, I want to see it in writing and checked off by the building inspector. Yes, you are entitled to these documents. Bypass the builder as they are useless and since they have your money, they could care less. Go to your local municipality permit office and request the records yourself if you don't find them in your purchase documents.

    Gutters, downspouts and diverters can certainly help. Have you made note of how the water travels to that area? This looks to be close to the fence and property line, so I would not advise planting a tree that close to the property line. Trees grow and one must account for mature height. You don't want it compromising the fence, as then you might have to repair the fence and may even have to get rid of the tree. All expenses that are avoidable and unnecessary. Planting a tree or two is a good idea, just choose the type of tree that suits the climate, location and take into consideration mature height.

    Another option might be a French drain system. I have 3 on my small piece of property.

    In addition, I like Vimarhonor's suggestion of a rain garden. All the suggestions here are excellent.

    If it were my home and I wasn't sure what to do, I would have consults (typically free - so pick their brain), with landscape designers or architects. They will assess the property as a whole and not just from a photo of a problem area.

    • See 1 previous
    • You are so welcome Stacy! If all your neighbors are having the same issues, especially sinkholes, this is a huge red flag, at least for me. Depending on what state you are in, builders are on the hook for up to 10 years for "construction defects." If it were me, I would band together with all the homeowners and hire a soils expert for an assessment. Depending upon the results, you have 2 options. Spend yet more money and fix yourselves or place a claim against the builder, and hire a construction defect attorney to represent all the homeowners. While this sounds harsh, most builders of housing developments operate under this premise. Once they have a group of people threatening their business, they are more likely to take action to rectify. Unfortunately that's the world we live in these days.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jul 02, 2019

    Hello again,

    There are lots of plants to fit the bill! I could make suggestions but I think your best bet would be to go down to your local or nearest plant centre and ask them to show you the plants most suitable for your situation. If possible - take a photo with you. Whilst there, take a look at the book department - where information can be found on all types of gardening and problems............

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Jul 02, 2019


    IF you've got the drainage issues far from the house - near the rear of the property - plant 1 or more weeping willow trees or willow shrubs. They drink water like crazy! I had a rear part of my land that stayed so wet so long into spring/summer that the grass would grow 3' tall before I was able to drive the mower back there. I needed a crew with scythes to get through it lol!

    I planted 3 golden weeping willows across the back and not only did they solve the wet yard problem, they grew quickly into lovely large trees with those gracefully swaying branches. I loved them!

    But - do not plant willows near your structures! Their roots will seek out any water source and that could include your plumbing. Also know that in fall/spring they will drop those long thin branches onto the lawn. I truly did not find them to be too much bother to clean up after and trimming was actually a breeze! I took my hedge trimmers out, broke the "rules" and would trim them up as high as I could reach (I'm short!). This made them beautiful and neat looking, with people able to walk under them.