Preventative Gardening Tips to Protect Your Yard From Flooding
Take steps to make your yard less prone to flooding and residual water damage and learn how to deal with water removal.
Summer and spring usually prove to be the wettest seasons in most parts of the country and increased precipitation coupled with severe storms can pose a major threat to your lawn, the natural landscape and other exterior areas of your home. Warmer months are also the time of year when grass, trees and plant life are in full bloom, which means there are more features of your yard and property that could be potentially damaged by flooding. While you can’t stop the rain from falling, you can take measures to reduce the impact of flooding and water damage to your lawn, soil, plants and trees.
Grass, Soil and Mulch
Soil composition and grass type can both play a big part in how well (or poorly) a lawn will handle flooding. An ideal soil type crumbles easily and allows water to drain adequately; however, it should also not be so light that it washes away during heavy rain. Sand and other loosely-packed soil varieties are likely to experience the most severe water damage (and can even be washed away completely), while clay and other very dense soil types that don’t allow for much drainage will result in a lot of standing water that doesn’t easily subside during the flood cleanup process.
Adding mulch or a compost mixture can help improve soil composition and drainage, but make sure if you’re using mulch specifically for your garden or flowerbeds that you use a heavier hardwood mulch or one made of manmade materials. Light mulch chips, such as pine, tend to get washed away very easily which will make flood cleanup a hassle, plus it can clog drains.
A good way to naturally avert water damage is to plant specific varieties of trees, shrubs and plants in certain areas of your yard. Plants with a high water tolerance should be planted in areas that don’t drain well since their roots can handle being submerged. Shallow root plants that are more susceptible to water damage should be planted in higher elevated areas of a yard or in raised flower beds. Another good rule of thumb is to choose native varieties of flowers, plants and shrubs for your yard, as they usually will require very little watering between rainfall and can withstand water damage if flooding occurs.
If the lay of the land where you live isn't conducive to draining excess water, there are ways you can create natural features that will aid in proper drainage and decrease the likelihood of standing water. A swale is a depression in a landscape—either existing or created—that’s basically a shallow ditch which directs water flow and helps with drainage. Swales can be built narrow or wide, depending on how much water they’ll need to move and should be lined with rocks (at the lowest point) and deep-rooting plants (on the slopes) to maximize their use and minimize the chance of water damage in the event of a flood.
How to Deal With Flood Cleanup
If your yard does experience flooding, there are actions you can take to assist with water removal and to prevent any further damage from happening to the plant life and trees in your yard. First and foremost, determine where you'll be channeling the excess water before you start draining it off your yard because you don't want to accidentally send it toward a neighbor's house or toward another water-logged area, which will result in a bigger flood cleanup effort. Also, make sure to check with your local storm water services department (or appropriate agency) in case you need to get permission to carry out your water removal procedure and/or connect your home's water drainage system with existing storm sewers when you are making upgrades.
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.