The cornerstone to a great landscaping experience is your backyard. It's an opportunity to invest into and create a scenic atmosphere that you can enjoy after a long day. However, there will be days where the hard work of a skilled landscaper is tested through rigorous flood waters. Believe it or not, flooding is equally frustrating to a landscaper as it is to a homeowner. Hours of beautification can be ruined in a few minutes of a bad storm. As the Fall season approaches, homeowners will encounter more problems with flooding thanks to the El Nino pattern in the Pacific, and the incoming hurricane season in the Atlantic. Here are ways you can prepare for the next wave of floods.

Install Proper Drainage Systems

Gutter - The first drainage system you should consider are gutters. This type of drainage system is usually installed on the edges of roof tops on garages, houses, and sheds. Gutters are the first line of defense since most water runs off a home and into the backyard. Front yards are almost always leveled well. Most of the time, backyards take the hardest hit during a flood. For better gutter drainage, incorporate gutter guards if you live among trees. Tube Drain Pipes - The second line of defense for backyard water drainage is tube drainage. It runs above or under the ground. Tube drains are black tubes (some have holes around them) that carry drainage to a designated area. Install tube drainage pipes at the end of gutter downspouts. Run them under ground to push drainage to a remote, downhill area; preferably an area that drains away from the home. Slot Drainage - For the most aesthetically appealing patio drainage, utilize a slot drain system. Implement the drain into the patio's structure plan. It's okay to build the patio first, however, make sure there's enough room under the patio structure. For stone and wood patios that sit directly on the ground, it's essential to dig trenches before building the patio. Be sure to dig trenches that gradually lower in elevation. Fill trenches with gravel rock. Soil and sand erode quickly. As the patio is assembled and constructed, measure the patio material around the drain. If the drainage is a longer, rectangular grate, it's possible to mount it on the side of the patio. Run tube drains at one or both sides. These drains run at the same efficiency as gutter guards. Keep them clean for optimal drainage.


Grading, also called land leveling, is the process of moving soil, dirt, or sand from a high elevated area to a low elevated area. Grading is the likely method to building a patio regardless of material. Estimate the levels of water that fall on your backyard. This can be done by reviewing the low elevated areas of the backyard. Consider filling the low areas with soil and gravel. If the grading is close to the patio, raise the patio level using the grading method. Create a barrier (use treated wood or cement blocks) and pour dirt into it until it's at the target height. Level the dirt and install the patio.


Other than gravel, mulch can be effective in flood water management. Mulch is a garden cover that holds moisture. To prevent water from escaping gardens, use a mallet to dig a small channel between the lawn and the garden. Mulch will follow the incline of the channel and keep water within the bed. Be sure to dig the channel's influence more toward the garden so excess water won't go into the lawn.

Rain Gardens

Combine mulch with rain gardens. Rain gardens are a combination of plants, mulch, river rocks, and even manufactured ponds to protect the backyard from excess water. If you prefer to avoid digging too much into the backyard, consider installing an incline of river rocks that lead away from the home. It may take some grading to do this. Install plants that absorb lots of water such as Big Bluestem grass or Scarlet Beebalm. Research based on your needs and budget.

The Best Solution to Combat Backyard Flooding

The best solution to prevent your backyard from flooding is the combination of grading and drainage. Rain gardens and mulch are great cosmetic features, but they need reinforcements during torrential rains. Be adamant on what your backyard needs to prevent flooding. Drain as much from the house as possible. Use boulder-sized (about the size of your hand) gravel to channel water away from your house in case there's an issue with the terrain around the home. There's always a way to meet your backyard needs while exploring great landscaping ideas.