Q: Our drainage issues are beginning to get us down, and we just put in new landscaping a year ago! At first we didn’t think it was a big deal, but now we’re seeing erosion and plant deterioration. Can you give us some advice? We’ve put so much time and money into this doing it ourselves.

A: No one wants their landscape investment to be washed away, but not to worry — we won’t leave you high and dry. Let’s touch on a few basics first.

Improper drainage can ruin your property and plantings by letting water collect in the soil. These standing puddles will drown grass and other plants, killing vegetation that was intended to make your property more beautiful and valuable. (Even worse, they can become a mosquito breeding ground, but that’s a subject for another blog.) Bottom line: Too much moisture in your soil will cause plant roots to become vulnerable to fungus and mold.

Improper drainage can also cause erosion, which can run rampant if not addressed during the initial design phase. Add rainfall and other precipitation, and you’ve got a giant headache on your hands. Erosion decreases property value, reduces yard area and creates sloping ground where you don’t want it.

To keep erosion from literally carrying your landscape investment away with it, have a professional landscape designer come out and look at your yard. Ask for drainage solutions that will save your new plantings not just now but for seasons to come. Don’t be surprised if the designer “shoots the grades” to establish exact topography (even if your property appears flat). Spotting elevations will show where problems lie so they can be addressed through intelligent design.

Sorry to say that you may have to regrade and replant, but at least you now have the dirt on drainage problems and how to avoid them in the future. Good luck!


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