Low-lying or poorly drained areas in your yard can pose a landscaping challenge. Fortunately, there are options for these spaces that are attractive and easy to maintain. The following are just a few ideas for making the most out of areas with overly wet soil conditions.
Idea #1: Create a Wetland Garden
Some plants grow better in wet soils, so you can plant the space to maximize on these soil conditions. Plant options include toad lilies (Trycyrtis spp.) for color or elephant ears (Colocasia spp.) for foliage. Ornamental grasses, including some varieties of reeds, also can grow well in wet soil. These plants generally need minimal care beyond cutting them back in the fall. To find plants that may grow well in your wetter soils, shop for marginal or bog plants from a garden center that focuses on water gardens, since many of the shore plants for a water garden also grow well in wet lawn areas.
Idea #2: Landscape Drainage Areas
Another option is to create a drainage system that adds to your landscape design. "Dry" creek beds are one popular options. These beds are created by excavating a shallow creek path, generally from a poorly drained area to a lower but better drained region. The bed is then lined with large stones. The final touch is filling in the stones with smaller gravel. The result is quite attractive and you can choose stones and gravel that complement the colors or textures of other hardscape elements in the yard. Dry creek beds aren't always dry, they do help route moisture overflow, such as from rain or sprinklers, away from the wet areas of the yard.
Idea #3: Elevate the Area
Finally, you can opt to elevate the area above the wet soil. There are a couple of options to accomplish this, such as adding a terraced area or building a raised bed. The walls of the elevated area can be made of wood, bricks, or stone. Keep in mind stone and bricks are longer lasting than wood, especially when exposed to consistently wet or damp soil. Begin by working compost into the poorly drained area to help improve drainage, and then build the bed walls with the materials of your choice. You can also use peat, coconut coir, or leaf mulch in addition to or instead of compost. Once done, fill in the bed with a well-draining soil mixture and add the plants of your choice. Monitor the moisture level in this bed carefully though, since it may remain moist longer compared to other areas in the garden due to the excessive moisture it can draw on from below.
If you're uncertain how to approach the poor drainage in a certain area, consider contacting a professional landscaper to discuss the problem. Click here to learn more about what landscaping services are locally available.Share