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9 Ideas To Fix Soggy Outdoor Spaces

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Everyone has that one spot in the yard that will not dry out no matter what you do. Even in the heat of summer, that one spot always is a little bit soggy. There are many different ways to attack this problem, and as usual, some are easier than others. 

The first step in fixing the issue is to figure out what is the cause of the sogginess. Are you overwatering? Too much rain? Not enough drainage? Poor soil? All of these can contribute to the moisture content in the soil, and each one will have a different solution. 

After experimenting with your sprinklers or watering systems, consider trying one of the following options to fix your soggy soil.

Here are nine ideas to help fix soggy outdoor spaces:

Redirect Downspouts:

Downspouts are connected to the rain gutters along the edge of your house and direct the water toward a drain. These can get misaligned or be installed improperly and create drainage issues. If you have a drain directly at the downspout base, use a hose or bucket of water and a ladder to see where the water goes when it flows out of the spout. 

If it goes directly into the drain, then you can move on with other ideas. If the water is redirected into your flower beds or grass, you may need to revamp your downspouts. Check your gutters to see if there are any clogs that would cause water to spill over the side in various locations. 


Install Drains Under Sidewalks:

If the water is pooling on one side of your sidewalk, you can dig under the concrete and place a pipe for drainage on the other side. This can be difficult if you don’t have the correct tools or drainage parts, so a contractor or professional drainage specialist might be your best bet. Once you have the piping in place, you can hopefully see a difference in the drainage of the soil.


Use Drip Irrigation:

Drip irrigation is a more targeted approach than traditional sprinklers. They can be complicated to install yourself, but they bring water directly to each plant and let it slowly drip into the ground rather than spraying the whole area, including the plants, with water. 

Be cautious when installing these systems, as you will need a pressure regulator and some specialty equipment for conversion from traditional sprinklers. You should also do your research to determine if the plants you already have can tolerate drip irrigation as some plants take water in from their leaves and their roots, ex: azaleas. 


Soil Amending:

Some soils hold more water than others and are slower to drain. If you live in an area with compacted clay soil, the ground will naturally hold more water than loose richer soil. You don’t have to amend the whole area at once, but start with the soggiest areas and work in a natural compost or well-draining garden soil to increase the drainage. 

Once again, use caution and do your research as some plants do better in different types of soil. 


Trench Drain:

You can add a wide variety of drains to your outdoor spaces, and one of the most common is a trench drain. These are names for the trenches that are dug for installation and will allow water to pass through but are covered with a grate to keep out debris. 

Stainless steel trench drains can be installed in pathways or driveways to create a new place for water to flow and direct it away from the soil. You can hire someone to install one of these drains and fix the issue once and for all. 


Rain Chain:

Similar to downspouts, a rain chain will direct water to a drain as it runs off a structure. If your home does not have a downspout that runs to the ground, you can add a rain chain to the corner to help control the flow. These can look out of place depending on the style of your home, so do your research and find what works best for form and function. 


Add a Pathway:



If the wet area in your yard is heavily traveled, consider adding a pathway through the soggy soil. This will not change the drainage of the area, but if you have tried many of the other options on this list and are still dealing with soggy soil, a pathway may be the best option. These can be brick, loose boards, stepping stones, or gravel.


Plant the Right Plants:

river tree bridge

If the soggy soil is in an area that does not get trafficked and you can leave the sogginess alone, place some plants that enjoy the moist soil and thrive in it. Many plants live on riverbanks or in marshes that want the ground to always be wet. There are both perennials and annuals that fit this need and can give your space a unique look. 

If you put the wrong plants in a soggy space, they are prone to disease and rot for the high moisture level. Water-loving plants combat these issues in other ways, making them the perfect choice. 


Embrace the Moss:

Soggy soil is often unavoidable, especially in areas that receive heavy rains often or snow. You can embrace the sogginess by creating a moss garden instead of grass. Moss may be slow to grow, but it is spongy and green and will make a forest look. If the space has been soggy for an extended period, it is likely you already have moss growing, and you can help it thrive. 


Makeover Your Space:

forest trees sunlight

Fixing soggy soil in the garden can seem like a nuisance, but it can be an opportunity for something new. Change your perspective of the problem and think about what types of flowers you can add to the space or beautiful stepping stones through a soggy landscape. 

If the water is pooling and not draining for an extended time, you should definitely include new drainage in your makeover plan. A new pipe or realigned downspout could be the simplest solution to your oversaturated soil. 

You can even take the hint from mother nature and create a pond in the area where the water collects. This can add dimension to your garden and also redirect the water into a functional piece of the landscape. Whatever you do, don’t be discouraged by soggy soil. There is always a solution.