Asked on May 31, 2013

Wet spots in the yard.

Kristy B
by Kristy B
My husband and I inherited this beautiful house in the country. I love it except for the constant wet spots in the front yard. The second photo with the fence and power pole shows the lower part and the one with the three greener spots it the upper part of the yard. It's kind of a bowl shape with a pretty steep slope from the porch (Where I stood to take the photo), These photos were taken in January, so the streams seem to run year round. Mowing is a real challenge because it's like going through a mud bog. I think the middle greener spot may be my neighbor's leach field. It starts in his yard and has been pretty stinky lately.
I'm looking for any suggestions to manage these spots. Would a pond work? Unfortunately we have city water and the access point is to the right of the pole near where the greener stripe runs.
Is there hope that won't break the bank?
wet spots in the yard, landscape, outdoor living, SW View from porch showing driveway
SW View from porch showing driveway
wet spots in the yard, landscape, outdoor living, South View from porch
South View from porch.
  23 answers
  • We have spots in our yard where water bubbles up, but not in a straight line like the first photo looks like - you need to figure out the source before you can actually work out a cure. You mentioned your neighbors leech field, where's yours? Where does the main & your water lines run?

  • Kristy B Kristy B on May 31, 2013
    My leach field is about an acre and a half away from this one. Our water line runs from about where the wet line is behind the pole about six feet to the right. It runs straight up to the right of where I am standing to take the picture. The area is known for its natural streams. The farmer that owned the area and sub-divided it about 25 years ago said that they are everywhere. He uses the field across the dirt road for hay and has told me about the boggy areas strewn across it.

  • First off I knew this was from KY. My wife and I looked at dozens of homes in the northern part of the state for a flat piece of property for our horses. And what we found was exactly what you show in your photos, Lovely views but nothing was flat enough for having horses. To explain a bit about what is going on it is not uncommon for hilly properties to have moisture exit out from the sided of the hill. The only thing you can do is to develop those extra wet spots into gardening spots that use plants that need lots of water. Planting grass will not cure this as it will always stay wet. Many of the ridge properties we looked at when we were thinking of moving to your fine state had the same issue. Bottom land properties also were always wet. Even when there was no water for any length of time in the state. The ridge land was overly dry and the side of the hills were always wet. So simply plant in those areas things that love water. Perhaps some willow trees as an example. They will help dry out the land as they are water loving plants that do very well in damp and wet areas. On the subject of the odors and possible septic issues. Standing water will begin to smell bad particularly if vegetation is involved. However if your neighbors leach field is running or leaking onto your property you need to address this fast From the photos this appears to be quite obvious that this is occurring. First off do the neighbor thing and ask him/her to have their system checked as you suspect there is something wrong. If that does not work, you may need to go to board of health and get them involved. There are special code requirements that should prevent this from happening because of setbacks etc. In any case, it needs to be addressed and the sooner the better.

  • H.C. Lawn H.C. Lawn on Jun 01, 2013
    is there a chance to dig a ditch 3-4 ftt pipe and stone it to a lower spot . or a butter fly ditch open fill with stone . sounds like sa spring making its way to top of site

  • April E April E on Jun 01, 2013
    build French drains into each boggy spot and lead it down to a holding pond the pond needs to be about 6 foot deep, lined and then filled to 2 foot w/ large stones you can put a pump down in the bottom so that you can bring up the water for garden applications put some nice plants in the pond to keep the water from stagnating this way you add beauty to you yard and fix a problem

  • Brian S Brian S on Jun 01, 2013
    or u can plant a lot of lilacs they love and use a lot of water {still might need some drainage ] maybe a fountain ring to evaporate it on site/

  • Ian S Ian S on Jun 01, 2013
    Once you determine the the source of the water, even if its your neighbors leech field, you can do as was previously suggested by installing a French drain. But, I would use perforated pipe covered with perforated drain sock to keep the soil out with 2-3 inches of rock above and below the pipe.

  • Kristy B Kristy B on Jun 01, 2013
    Thanks, everyone. These ideas are really helpful!

  • Tina Miller Tina Miller on Jun 01, 2013
    A rain garden . . . been considering doing this in my own yard. I also have wet spots where it doesn't drain well.

  • Carmen Connell Carmen Connell on Jun 01, 2013
    did a deep hole fill w/lg gravel run some trenches and run some flex pipe w/holes in it..will help tons I used to have a similar will need at least 3 trench lines or it will back up

  • Rose S Rose S on Jun 01, 2013
    how about making those areas a bog garden. You will attract frogs and they will sing/croak lullabies to you every night. Bog gardens are very nice.:-)

  • Sandra Miller Sandra Miller on Jun 01, 2013
    Figuring out where the water is coming from is the first step, but to save money and improve your water table, a rain garden is the best second step. Drains, gravel etc all cost more money than a few plants. Besides the rain garden will clean the water going into the water table, and provide animals, birds, bees, butterflies etc a habit.

  • Margaret Barclay Margaret Barclay on Jun 01, 2013
    Natural answers are the best - try willow trees. They use up the water but tend to be messy if too near the buildings or cars - doesn't look like you would have that problem. We have the exact same problem near our pole barn (also in a hay field) and it worked wonderfully.

  • Pat Kukachka Pat Kukachka on Jun 01, 2013
    A rain garden would be perfect for your spot. They are very popular now and help to clean up runoff water that goes into our sewers.

  • Anneinspiring Anneinspiring on Jun 02, 2013
    Personally I would transform the area into a Natural pond. Rocks would help filtrate the water aquatic plants would provide shelter and food for fish and transform the space into a natural Eco-system. .

  • Holly Decker Holly Decker on Jun 02, 2013
    my husband and I had that problem when ever we had a heavy rain water would puddle for weeks in our front yard along the driveway, until we bought a weeping willow from a local Amish farmer,never had the problem again, it might work unless it's waterline problem, then NO willow it will tare up a waterline

  • Nancy Blue Moon Nancy Blue Moon on Jun 02, 2013
    We have this problem with a wet spring running under part of our property near the is always damp..we were wondering if putting stone on top would help so that the area is usable for parking or a cookout/sitting area..Thanks if you can help!!

  • Steph Mike Steph Mike on Jun 02, 2013
    Remember, if you go the rain garden route to check with your local county for free help (doing it right is harder than it seems) and you may then be eligeable for a tax write off!

  • Just a heads up to those who want to do things with natural springs etc. The EPA is very diligent on attacking those who disturb what one would think is a simple wet area. Do not simply assume you can dig, fill or alter a wet area until you have the blessings of the local construction office or EPA in the area in which you reside. I have seen people who just put down stone in a low area of their driveway go bankrupt in defending themselves against the EPA who fined them because they altered a natural waterway. Although I doubt planting shrubs will really cause any alarm, but as soon as you begin to dig or alter the landscape with stone or piping you can possibly cause yourself all sort of financial issues. The best theory is when in doubt, have it checked out.

  • Nancy Blue Moon Nancy Blue Moon on Jun 04, 2013
    Thanks for the heads-up on this Woodbridge Environmental..It is so frustrating to own land that is absolutely useless because it is constantly wet..Especially when it is so close to the house..if it were further out on the property it wouldn't bother us so much..

  • Nancy that was one of the several factors why my wife and I did not move to the northern part of the state, of course the hilly properties were not all that conducive to having a horse farm also.

  • Kristy B Kristy B on Jul 21, 2013
    I am either going to strategically place a pond or plant shrubs that don't mind getting their feet wet. This rainy season has certainly pushed me to nip this problem in the bud. Again, thank you for all of the great ideas.

  • S137 S137 on Aug 01, 2013
    You need to determine if it's your neighbor's septic system. Natural spring heads are one thing, somebody else's waste water is a whole 'nother problem.