Persistent moisture in your lawn can detract from the general appearance of the landscape, impair play and other actions, make lawn mowing and other maintenance tasks challenging, and threaten to seep into adjacent structures. Sometimes easy adjustments or corrective actions can reduce muddy soil and excessive lawn moisture; other cases warrant more drastic efforts that involve greater labor or cost.
Easy actions or corrections can sometimes significantly improve moisture problems in the lawn. Ensure that gutters, downspouts and other drainage features are not clogged and can handle the flow of water. Make sure downspouts stretch far enough out that they direct runoff away from the structure or landscaping. If you can, have them drain right into an outlet like a ditch, swale or pond. Clearing overgrown ditches or swales of dense vegetation that slows the planned flow of water, as well as removing soil or other debris that has filled or clogged a drainage characteristic may also improve conditions.
Dethatching and Aerating
Even with good care, a yard can eventually develop thick thatch — the brownish layer of dead and living grass stems, roots and other debris between the soil surface and the base of the green grass blades. If thatch thicker than 1/2 inch accumulates, it can keep water out of readily entering the turf. Where soil is compacted, pore space is restricted and the amount of water an area can absorb and hold will be diminished. Dethatching a lawn, also known as vertical mowing, and aerating are routine lawn care tasks you should perform at least one time per year when grass is actively growing. These measures encourage turf health by allowing air and moisture to better penetrate the soil surface.
You can install French drains, drain tiles and comparable attributes alongside structures, where they could capture water that runs off from the roof or downspouts or into low spots in the backyard. If there are only a few low spots, a subsurface drain to direct water into an outlet may offer adequate relief. The drains usually consist of a trench dug at least 2 feet deep and a foot wide with a bottom that slopes slightly toward the outlet and is lined with filter cloth. A 4-inch perforated pipe is put in the center of the trench bottom, covered with 12 inches of coarse, clean gravel and a second layer of cloth before the rest of the trench is full of gravel or soil and planted. If you already have subsurface drains in your lawn, ensure they are not clogged. Make sure that the outlet isn’t obstructed by scrutinizing tit for an appropriately strong stream of water when it rains. Dig up and clean or replace any silted and clogged piping or gravel.
When dethatching, aerating and other straightforward remedies are ineffective, the soil quality and total grade of the lawn may require attention. Measures to correct sever lawn drainage issues include removing turf and other small vegetation; putting around existing trees and shrubs; tilling the ground deeply to split the top 8 to 12 inches; functioning 6 inches of the organic-matter soil amendment uniformly into the soil; also pitching the soil surface so the ground slopes away from any structures at a speed of 1 percent toward an outlet. In some cases, it may help to make a small pond or rain garden with water-loving vegetation where excess water can drain.
Living With the Mud
If addressing the reason behind excessive lawn moisture is not feasible, a few things can make living with a muddy yard more bearable. You can cover the muddy parts of the lawn with cardboard or plywood as a temporary means to prevent tearing up the muddy place any further or monitoring the mud inside. Installing stepping stones or placing landscape material and covering it with gravel are additional nonpermanent fixes. Building a raised bed using landscape timbers, bricks, concrete blocks or other materials, or utilizing containers, permits plant cultivation without needing to remedy the muddy conditions.