Water drainage issue in the backyard


Old 06-18-09, 11:43 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 185
Water drainage issue in the backyard

Hi folks,

I'm hoping i can get some ideas on how to fix a drainage issue i have in the backyard. We're in the process of selling the house, so i don't want to spend a lot of money if possible. We've been in the house for almost two years and have only had this problem once before. Since we started getting our seasonal rains here in Florida, it's been bad to the point where the standing water won't go away. The soil should be clean fill (Florida fill anyway) since we had to bring in multiple truckloads to level the slab area out. Our three acres, for the most part, has a lot of clay in it though. I'm not sure if you can see it in the pictures or not, but the water tends to sit right behind the back bedroom of the house. It puddles along the back around both sides, and when the rain gets really bad, it drains off both sides, which is good. For some reason, we can't seem to get rid of he standing water though, so i'm thinking it may need a slight grade improvement, or some sort of French drain.

Thanks for your help,


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Old 06-19-09, 02:29 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 18,724
Thanks for the pictures. They are very helpfull. Hopefully someone used to working in Florida will give you some good ideas.

Your lot looks pretty flat with the ground next to the house sloping to the house (wrong direction). Is there enough slope behind the house to do some grading (shallow ditch) to slope the ground and get the water moving away from the house? Grass will slow the movement of water so you might currenly have a very slight downhill grade but the water is taking too long to move away.

You might also consder doing a cry creek bed out of stones. I see that being done very often on home impovement TV shows. The rocks might appear less "swampy" and if you use larger rocks the water may flow through a little better.

I am not sure how much a french drain would help if your water table is close to the surface and if you have heavy rain. I was down in Daytona when they got the 24" of rain just before Memorial Weekend. Grading to get water moving away from houses and elevation (being on high ground) were the only things that worked. The ground was saturated.
Old 06-19-09, 08:27 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 185
The water drains away from the house for the most part, except for right behind the back room in the picture. When there's more water, it does run down past the swing set and out into the side yard, but i do agree that it must need more slope.

I don't think i can build up the ground level behind the room without having it above the slab level, so i'm probably going to have to take away more dirt where its puddling up and grade it out the sides of the house. I also think we have a lot of clay here and the ground gets saturated rather easily.
Old 06-26-09, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 214

How about digging out some of the bigger areas and putting gravel below grade to help with drainage and then putting in a good thick layer of mulch under the swingset, which is common to do and will help disguise the uneven water levels?
Old 06-28-09, 09:59 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 185
We moved the swingset back about 50 feet and set it up on the hill. It was definitely impeding the water flow out of the yard.

We made an attempt yesterday to raise the grade with some fill dirt, but there is just too much water in soil. I'm thinking the French drain type of deal is probably the best bet, since we don't have time to wait for the dry season, and we've been getting daily downpours right now. Maybe a drain that is wider than deeper would be better. I know most of them i have seen about six inches wide and about a foot deep, and i think that works if you have water running at your house, but we seem to have a generally swelling of water around the house.

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