Owning a home is stressful enough. The last thing you want to worry about is the possibility of flooding in your yard or into your house. When a home is first built, the ground is leveled and grated for drainage but not always with the proper methods which include floodproofing your home. Even if it is done correctly from the start, the soil can shift through weather changes, freezing and thawing, and earthquakes.
Some areas will be more prone to flooding as they get more rainfall than other places, but there is still the potential for flooding in a dryer climate. It is common to have outdoor gardening space, but it is essential that you do your best to prevent water damage to both your garden and your home.
Here are 8 tips for creating a flood-proof home and garden:
Slope the Ground:
It may be the most obvious answer, but if you have an area around your home that slopes in the wrong direction, either hire a professional or grade the site yourself if it is a small problem. Standing water around a foundation can cause irreparable damage to the home, which can be extremely expensive to fix.
It is not recommended that you fix a large area on your own as you could create other issues by solving one. A professional may cost more money upfront than doing it yourself, but you can rest assured the grading is done correctly the first time.
Choose the Right Plants:
Everyone has that pesky spot in their yard where it always seems to be too soggy no matter what you try, and this is often due to the plants in the area. Plants that do not require as much water are less likely to do well in a wet spot and may suffer, making the area even wetter.
Check your local garden center to find out which plants work best in your area in soggy spaces, and they may even help reduce sogginess. Plants also help prevent erosion and can be beneficial to keeping the current grading around your home.
Don’t Over Water:
It is tempting to care for your plants and grass by giving them lots of water every day, but in many climates, it is not necessary to water every day. Too much water can cause harm to your yard just as much as too little water can make the plants suffer.
To see if you are overwatering your yard, monitor your sprinklers when they are running and see if excess water drains down the driveway or into the other flowerbeds. Adjust your watering schedule to accommodate the weather as well. During a rainstorm, you don’t need to run your sprinklers, but during a hot summer day, they may need to run twice.
Rain Garden or Pond:
If you have tried all of the above methods and are still seeing signs of flooding, consider installing a rain garden or pond. These areas are meant to hold onto water and can prevent your entire yard from flooding by diverting the water to them. Rain gardens and ponds are home to plants that love water and can handle the saturated soil and helps to flood-proof your home.
Rain gardens also help increase the groundwater in your area and allow it to soak in naturally to the aqueduct. Increasing the groundwater can help bridge gaps during droughts for your entire yard.
Flooded sidewalks and gardens are a hassle and can cause damage. A trench drain can be installed in almost any existing sidewalk and be custom fit to your needs. Drains are equipped with leaf catchers to prevent clogging and can increase the functionality of your outdoor space.
Many patios or driveways have low spots creating puddles that last for days after a storm. A preformed trench drain is a simple solution to flooding so that you can get back outside and roast marshmallows over a fire as soon as the rain stops.
If you want to install a pathway in your yard but are concerned about drainage, choose an option with drainage between stones or bricks. A solid concrete slab will not offer any drainage, but a stepping stone or pallet walkway will let water slide through the cracks and create a safer environment.
Interlocking stones without cement mortars is an excellent choice for a solid path or driveway that allows water to flow through to the soil which will flood-proof the home.
Amend the Soil:
Some soil used in construction as fill to level the ground for a house is not the best for gardening, and it can cause flooding. Clay soil will often let water sit on top rather than soaking in because it has a low saturation level. Heavily compacted soil can react the same way, so if you are planting in a new area, till the ground, so it lets the water flow through.
If you’ve ever bought a plant from the store, you have probably seen the white specks that look like small rocks in the soil. These specks are vermiculite or perlite and are used for water retention. They can increase the amount of water that can be absorbed into the soil, reduce soggy areas, and give your plants the water they need.
Divert Downspouts or Install Rain Barrel:
Another good way to flood-proof your home is with downspouts that bring water from the roof of your home to the ground level and often drain into the garden. If a drain to the street is not nearby, it can cause flooding and damage your foundation. You can connect the downspout to a nearby drain with a few pieces attached to the spout or divert the water to an area where it can soak into the ground.
For a house without rain gutters, the water will often flow to one or two corners of the house and pour off the roof, causing flooding. If you cannot install rain gutters that drain to the street, you should consider using a rain barrel. These collect water and make it available for use when there is no rain. You can also apply filters to make it safe to drink.
Preparation is Key:
Solving flooding after the fact is a major headache. It is much better to solve potential problems before they cause irreparable or expensive damage. Whether you install trench drains, a rain barrel, or embrace your soggy soil with a rain garden, you have peace of mind knowing your yard won’t flood.
Outdoor spaces are constantly evolving. Pathways get installed, and plants get replaced. Use the changes you were going to make anyway to your advantage and flood-proof your home by kicking flooding to the curb.