When puddles of water lie waiting in your backyard after rainstorms, your garden can look a complete mess, particularly if you have pets and/or children jumping in!
Read on for 10 ways to fix that muddy yard.
How to Fix a Muddy Yard: 10 Proven Tips
As promised, here’s a list of tips for fixing a muddy yard:
1. Cover it Up!
A quick solution is to cover the whole area with straw or hay, which provides a temporary cleaning up allowing your grass to dry out. See other ideas for covering it up below.
You can also use a polythene sheet or a weed-suppressing membrane. This can be hosed down from time to time if it gets too muddy.
2. Check the Drainage
Is there water pooling in puddles or certain parts of the yard? Often this is a sign of blockages and unhealthy soil.
You can aerate the lawn or yard in these areas by making little holes. Dig a little to see the underlying rock structure. Adding some sand will make it easier for excess water to drain away. See more on how to aerate your soil below.
3. Check Your Gutter Pipes and Downspouts
If they are full of leaves or other debris, then clean them out. Keep a closer eye on these in the fall, when lots of leaves can clog these spouts.
If water puddles form underneath your pipes and these are close to your house, this can damage the foundations. One easy solution is to extend the spouts further down the yard. You can make a garden feature there or even a water garden. See more below.
4. Save This Water Into a Water Butt
This is a really excellent way to water your pot plants and also save money. You can even use the water to clean up muddy boots or for general cleaning outside.
5. Check the Soil Height of the Yard or Lawn Compared to the House
Is it higher or at the same level? If you add a layer of garden compost or mulch, this will raise the area and add extra drainage.
6. Divert rainwater to a water trench or even a pond
Some gardeners dig a trench farther away from the house and add pebbles to the bottom of this. French drain pipes absorb water right along the whole drain so they are very useful in wet, waterlogged areas.
7. Grow Watercress!
One of the secrets of successful gardens is using the local soil, climate, and conditions by growing suitable plants.
If you ensure that your French drain discharges water in a place where you want lots of water, then sow some watercress seeds and enjoy green salads for free!
Watercress is full of nutrients and you can make juice and soup from it too, to encourage younger people to eat or drink it.
8. Make a Flower or Vegetable Patch
If you turn your backyard mud or lawn into a flower garden or veg patch, this area will enjoy the water and use it to grow food and bright flowers for your yard.
Plants that love moisture include cucumbers, eggplants, sunflowers, and tomatoes. You will need to add compost mulch, which will raise the height of the area and also allow more drainage.
These wriggling creatures signify healthy soil and if you can persuade them to live in your mud, you will benefit from them digging air tunnels underneath the surface.
Buy a good supply of them and dig them in at intervals into the soil. This will encourage birds to visit too so your muddy backyard could have a bird feeder, lots of flowers, and maybe some vegetables to create a wildlife haven instead of a mud patch.
10. Make a Patio!
If all else fails, pave the whole area with paving stones. Pour concrete first, then pave with stones of your choice. You can add some pots with flowers and herbs afterward.
What is the Cheapest Way to Fix a Muddy Yard?
An inexpensive, quick, easy fix is to cover the whole area with straw or hay.
Lay it on quite thickly – up to 1 foot deep, if you have access to hay and this will allow the ground underneath time to dry out.
You can buy bales of hay in pet shops and garden centers. Dogs and children can play safely in this too. It’s non-toxic and in fact, over time it will decompose into your ground.
You can also mulch the whole area with wood chips or tree bark. However, note that this will alter the PH and decrease the fertility of the soil underneath. So, if you would like to grow anything on here shortly, hay is definitely a better idea.
Another cheap alternative is to buy a roll of polythene or weed suppressant membrane and lay this over the top of the whole area. For a more permanent solution, see gravel, paving stones, and cement below.
How Do You Cover a Muddy Yard?
To cover the area temporarily, you can buy polythene sheeting, artificial grass, or weed-control membranes in rolls and lay this down on the whole area.
However, this will also get muddy with exposure to the elements.
A more expensive but longer-lasting solution is a thick, rubber sheet. It is a natural fiber and quite dense and you can lay attractive, colored stones of your choice on top of this, for a more attractive finish.
For a more permanent layer, you can lay a membrane, then pour concrete over this. Finally, use paving stones to make a patio garden. This may get quite slippy in rainy weather, so choose non-slip stones to avoid accidents.
How Do You Firm Up Muddy Ground?
Allow it to dry for a few days after heavy rain, and then observe where the puddles are. You can aerate these areas by using a tool to make holes which will allow for easier soakage.
While doing this, you can check the texture of the soil. It’s possible to add the builder’s sand, compost, and even perlite or pebble stones to help drainage but it depends on the type of soil you have.
Will Grass Grow Back Through the Mud?
Most definitely! Normally the soil needs to dry out before germination happens and you can rake the area when it is drier.
Sow your seed generously and see how to aerate the soil below.
How Do I Improve and Aerate My Soil?
- Dig a little with a trowel or shovel and take a good look at the soil. Are there lots of stones? These help drainage so if you have none, add some pebbles. Does your soil feel like a lump of pastry or is the texture loose?
- Are there any earthworms? If not, this is usually an indicator of poor soil. Beg any friend with a compost bin for some or buy some earthworms and dig holes and add them to your soil. They aerate the soil by making tunnels and their poo adds soil nutrients if there is anybody who needs bait for fishing in your household, they are going to be happy too.
- Healthy soil has a crumbly texture like bread crumbs. If yours is sticking together it is probably full of clay. Just add some sand and some compost if you have it, to help to change the overall texture. Sand and gravel will help drainage.
- Use a pole or a sharp-ended tool to make holes in the ground about 1 foot apart. This will allow air to enter and you can observe if the rain drains away easily. If not, read on.
- Apply lime. Lime alters the soil PH and expert gardeners use it when they’re growing acid-loving plants like hydrangea or cabbages. If your soil is very resistant to draining, an application of lime will help. But be careful! Although both quicklime and hydrated lime dry soil out quickly, it can also be an irritant for eyes and skin so if you decide to use lime, then make sure you wear protective clothing.
How Do I Make a Water Garden?
First, you need to dig a hole to the required shape. Use an area where the soil tends to become waterlogged. Then, follow these steps:
- Place the excavated soil around the sides of the shape, to add height to your pond. Next place a layer of weed suppressant fabric over the hole and the raised soil, followed by a waterproof pond liner.
- After this, add some pebbles for drainage and to weigh down the liner.
- Add some paving stones around the edge to make sure the liner does not lift.
- Then when it rains, allow the pond to fill! Top up with saved water or a hosepipe.
- For water lilies, you will need a deep area with a shelf to place the first plant.
- For a water fountain, you can use a solar-paneled device that will run the motor for a few minutes when the sun is shining.