Landscaping is a wonderful combination of art and engineering. Apart from aesthetic appeal, a landscaper must carefully consider rainfall, snowfall, and effective lawn drainage. This is especially true in Connecticut, which sees far greater precipitation than the national average. Let’s take a look at seven ways improper drainage can ruin your lawn and how to ensure that your grass is always greener.
7 Ways Improper Drainage Could Be Harming Your Lawn
Low Areas Become a Swamp
Perhaps the most obvious result of poor drainage is that lower areas of the lawn will gather all the water. Patches of your lovely lawn will soon turn into a spongy bog that squelches underfoot. It might even develop stagnating pools of water that remain for days or weeks on end.
You can take steps to clear out waterlogged patches with an aerator. This is a tool that pokes deep holes into the soil beneath the grass, allowing the water to drain away. But it’s far better to avoid the problem in the first place with more sophisticated planning and design.
Your Grass May Drown
Waterlogged grass can’t survive for long. Too much water begins to rot roots, suffocating them of oxygen. You’ll quickly notice signs of distress when drowning grass starts wilting, withering, and yellowing in appearance.
Your Lawn Starts To Smell Bad
Pools of water not only look swampy, but they start to smell swampy too. With a waterlogged patch of lawn, you’ll soon be smelling decaying organic matter along with mold, algae, fungi, and bacteria that thrive in standing water.
Your Lawn Becomes a Health Hazard
Perhaps the worst result of an ill-planned drainage system is that your lawn becomes a health hazard. When undrained water stagnates, the pathogens and bacteria that breed in it can include dangers such as salmonella, E. coli, and hepatitis.
Worse yet, standing water attracts disease-carrying insects such as mosquitos, and even rodents. Dangerous mold growth can also start growing in as little as 24 hours. A waterlogged lawn may no longer be a harmless place for your children to play.
High Areas of Lawn Dry Out
While some areas of a poorly designed lawn become swamped, higher areas can start to dry out. This is another drainage issue your landscaper should consider. Even lower areas of lawns with overly compacted soil can have water absorption problems. Patches of soil that refuse to hold water long enough to nourish the grass rapidly become unsightly as the lawn withers and dries.
If you have this problem, you’ll need to spend far more attention on those areas prone to drying out. Your sprinklers will be concentrated there and your summer water bills will skyrocket. Again, this is a problem easily avoided with a little foresight and skill on behalf of the landscaper.
Poorly Planned Runoff Causes Erosion
Unplanned water runoff from rain or melting snow causes all kinds of problems. When left without design, heavy rainfall creates unpredictable streams of water that wash over random areas of your lawn, eroding the soil.
Runoff Floods Patios and Walkways
Patios and walkways are often designed and installed with only the visual aspect in mind. But sometimes these features create a blockage to effective lawn runoff.
A walkway itself might become the runoff route for your lawn’s rainwater, turning it into a little stream unsuitable for walking upon. That’s a quick way to ruin your shoes on rainy days.
How Much Rainfall Does Connecticut See?
Our state experiences 50 inches of annual rainfall on average, which is considerably more than the national average of 38 inches. When it comes to planning lawn drainage, snowfall is also an important factor and Connecticut sees a good 37 inches of snow each year. Again, that’s a good deal more than the national average of 28 inches.
All this precipitation makes our state a wonderful place for landscapers, gardeners, and nature lovers. The abundance of rainfall creates lush, vibrant, healthy flowers, foliage, and grass. But it also means that drainage is an especially important consideration.
How to Improve Your Lawn Drainage
The key to good garden drainage is to ensure that water spreads evenly across your lawn and also drains evenly, all without marring the beauty of your grass or its surrounding landscaping elements. There are certain tricks and techniques professional landscapers use to achieve this. Here are a few of them:
Reroute the Gutters of Your House
Many people forget the close connection between a house and its lawn. Roof water deposited by a poorly planned downspout can often cause a sudden swamping of lawn areas. Consider where your gutters are depositing water and where that gutter water is flowing.
You may want to redirect a gutter or extend a downspout so that the roof water goes straight into a storm drain. If the result looks unseemly, you can always hide it behind a tall bush or a climbing plant.
Make Changes to Walkways and Patios
If lawn water is collecting beside or upon your walkway or patio, consider changing the material of the problem area to something that water can pass through. One popular option is to replace your walkway with stepping stones, which allow water to flow between and look wonderful too.
Steer Runoff With a Dry Rock Creek
If you need to channel water runoff in a visually attractive way, consider adding a landscaping element to an area of your lawn. A meandering dry creek bed full of pretty rounded stones often looks very attractive on a larger lawn.
It’s best to give your rocky creek a natural meandering form, just like a real stream. And have it follow the natural slope of your lawn, steering rainfall and melted snow away from the areas of grass that have drainage problems.
Adjust Your Sprinkler Schedule
Your lawn’s drainage problems might be caused by something as simple as too much, too often. If water isn’t draining properly, try turning off your sprinkler system for a few days and observe the drainage.
If the swampy patches subsequently disappear, you might have been overwatering. This is great news, as it’s easy to fix. Reduce your watering schedule for the affected areas of the lawn. Also, pay attention to the weather and whenever it rains, remember to turn off your sprinklers.
How a Landscaper Can Help
They say the first true test of a newly built bridge is when a truck first drives over it. Likewise, the test of a newly built lawn is how it handles the first few days of heavy rainfall. This moment is often what separates an experienced professional landscaper from an enthusiast.
A good landscaper can completely take away the worry of drainage problems. They’ll factor all drainage in when designing your lawn, saving you many potential drainage problems down the road. With a landscaper, you also have the benefit of their experienced artistic eye, which ensures your lawn and its surrounding features look fabulous in all seasons.
Find a perfect local landscaper for your garden today at Landscaper Locator. We carefully vet and background check every landscaper who works with us and bring them all to one place, saving you the hassle of searching them out.