How Flooding Impacts Landscaping

Find out what effects flooding can have on your yard, trees and plant life and what to do if you experience water damage on your property.

How Flooding Impacts Landscaping

Whether heavy rains or an outdoor plumbing issue has wreaked havoc on your yard, the aftermath can be overwhelming. You may not know where to start with flood cleanup efforts or have the slightest idea about the extent of the water damage. It’s just as important to know what happens to the outside of your home—your yard, trees, plant life and outside structures—as it is to pay attention to the inside of your home when flooding has occurred. Learn what happens to landscaping during flooding, what to expect with the water removal process and what preventative measures you can take to help protect your yard from future flooding issues.


Water Damage and Your Yard

In general, the damage caused by flooding inside of a home is easy to identify. You can see the effects of water damage on walls and ceilings in the form of brown and yellow water spots, or changes in texture to walls when they swell from being saturated, or flooring that’s begun to buckle, warp or separate after initial flood cleanup. You may even notice a musty odor that indicates mold or mildew that has started to grow after flooding has occurred. However, water damage can affect the exterior parts of a home and landscaping much differently. Aside from  seeing a large amount of water, you may have no idea what areas of your yard (and outside structures) have been impacted by flooding or how badly they have been damaged.


Both moving and standing water can cause serious water damage to your home’s foundation. During a flood, the impact of rushing water can push the sides of your home causing the house to shift which weakens the structure and can even separate it from the foundation. These effects can be even worse if the foundation is already weak since water can seep deep into the ground during flooding. In addition to cracking, warping and separating, your foundation can also be compromised when it is exposed to debris and sediment found in flood waters. These particles can damage your home’s structure, foundation, electrical system, flooring, and more.


Plant life and vegetation can tolerate flooding to a certain extent. If there is standing water in your yard for less than a month, most trees, shrubs and grasses will survive. It’s only when flood cleanup is delayed and residual water is in your yard for an extended period of time that you might have a problem on your hands. This also depends on the types of vegetation in your yard. For example, newly planted trees, shrubs and plants will usually not stand up to flooding but some varieties can survive for several months before the water removal process begins. More mature plants and trees will also have a better chance at survival. The main factor is that as long as the roots can receive oxygen, the effects of flooding and water damage will be minimal to your landscape.


Much like plants and trees, how well your yard will tolerate flooding depends on the type of grass and soil it’s comprised of. Most grasses can endure being submerged for a long period of time—sometimes over a month—without suffering any long-term damage. The main issue with water damage to lawns has to do with the soil and the lay of the land. Loosely-packed soil types, such as sand, will usually be washed away during flooding. If grass is growing on a sloped area or in a low-lying area, it is also more likely to be washed away or covered with debris and soil. 


Water Removal and Flood Cleanup

If you’ve experienced flooding and your yard is submerged, you usually have to wait until the water recedes and dries up naturally before you begin any flood cleanup. Once most of the water is gone, you can then assess the damage and start restoring your lawn by:

  • Removing debris – including limbs, leaves and trash that have collected on your grass, in your garden, on shrubs/trees or in your drainage system.
  • Yard work – core aerate, fertilize and spread seed to help promote new grass growth (you may also need to pull up and plant new flowers, plants and shrubs if they have been severely damaged or have died).
  • Installing drainage solutions – any preventative measures that will help with future flooding and encourage water removal from your yard should be considered. These solutions can include certain types of drains (such as French drains and curtain drains), sump pumps and dry wells.

If you’re dealing with major flooding and the water level isn’t going down after a week or so, you may need to call a water removal company for help. Not only will the professionals have the proper equipment to effectively remove large amounts of water, but they have experience working with standing water, which can be contaminated and dangerous to your health.


The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.   


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