Creating spectacular landscapes in small spaces

Tips for eliminating stagnant pools of water in your outdoor space

by Janet Banks

While water is essential for your plants, too much water could cause many different problems. The most common is stagnant pools where mosquitoes breed. Such pools of water are also a sanitation hazard for small children, and they could waterlog your plants over time.

Luckily, you can eliminate stagnant pools of water through landscaping. Strategies such as digging shallow wells, applying stone/concrete and enriching the soil layers could prevent waterlogging in your yard.

1.    Add more soil layers

The easiest way of eliminating pools of water is by adding an upper layer of soil to the affected areas. Absorbent soils such as loam or clay can soak lots of water and limit drainage issues. You could simply purchase a few bags of these soils and walk around your yard, applying them to the affected areas. But an even better approach is to systematically incorporate absorbent soils into your yard. This means that during every planting season, you should add controlled amounts of the new soil and mix it with your current soil layers. You will eventually adjust the composition of soil in your yard to prevent drainage issues.

2.    Plant water-hungry vegetation

In addition to soil layers, also consider planting vegetation that can absorb lots of water. There are many species of plants that have highly absorbent roots. Choose what will grow more easily in your climate without competing with your favourite plants. Planting eucalyptus trees is also an effective strategy for solving drainage issues.

3.    Hardscaping

Hardscaping is an effective way of controlling the flow of water while beautifying your outdoor space. However, most homeowners install paving, walkways and fountains without considering where excess runoff will flow to. Make sure all hardscaping is angled to redirect excess runoff towards a storm drain.

If such a drain doesn't exist, leave small spaces between your stones to allow water to seep into underlying layers. Make sure your soil is absorbent enough (as mentioned above) to handle this influx. When done correctly, your hardscaped areas will remain neat while eliminating random pools of water.

4.    Install a dry well

Installing a dry well could help remove excess water from your yard. A dry well is essentially an underground space where overflowing water can accumulate and trickle into the soil over time. A landscaping service can help you estimate the size of the dry well you might need based on local climate, soil type and vegetation. Furthermore, the walls of your dry well should be lined with sturdy rocks and stones for proper support.