How to Revive a Flooded Yard

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Gloves and boots
Rake and shovel
Garden hose
Slow-release fertilizer

Flooding can do extensive damage to your yard, swamping your landscape and killing off grass and plants in mere moments. This can be a terrible experience, but living with an unusable yard is even worse. Revive your outdoor space and get it back to photo-ready beauty with a little time, care, and good DIY tips.

After the Flood

A flooded yard is a frightening and messy experience. In just a few minutes, your carefully planted garden can be washed away by heavy flood waters. But it’s not always enough to let nature lead the way after your yard has been flooded. Take the steps to care for your yard and get it back to good health with tips you can complete yourself.

Step 1 - Avoid Applying Pressure

Whenever you can help it, don't walk on your wet soil. When soil is soft and soggy, it will compress more easily with any amount of pressure. This could ultimately cause damage to the roots of your plants. Besides what's necessary for the initial cleaning, don't walk on your wet soil if you can help it.

Step 2 - Remove Debris

A close-up image of a flooded lawn.

Flood waters can carry a lot of stuff with them, and some of it might end up in your yard. The first thing you need to do is clean up. Start with a rake or shovel, and get all of that loose debris and trash out of your yard. Spray the rest of the area with a hose to remove smaller pieces of debris and silt and get everything clean again.

Step 3 - Clean Your Plants

During deep floods, your plants may become partially or fully submerged. Gently spray off your plants with clean water to remove mud and grime left behind by the flood waters once they have receded.

Step 4 - Let It Dry

Remove any mulch from your garden and landscape areas. This will allow your soil to begin drying out naturally, and you'll need to replace all the mulch anyway. Keep the soil bare for at least a week to make sure the soil is dry before you replace the mulch.

Step 5 - Replenish the Soil

Fertilizer treatments you may have used on your soil were more than likely washed away in the flood, and your soil has been traumatized by the excess water. Replenish everything with a slow-release fertilizer to help restore the lost nutrients.

Step 6 - Aerate Your Yard

An aerator on a lawn.

It may take weeks for your yard to dry out, but new growth will begin to appear in time. When it does, it's time to start aerating your yard. Use an aerifier to create small air holes that will further dry out your soil and improve the overall yard health.

Step 7 - Prepare for the Future

Anyone can experience a flooded yard because natural disasters of all types can happen at any time. But if your yard is prone to flooding, there are ways you can avoid this problem. Consider installing a drainage system or taking other measures to keep your garden areas dry and your yard in good health.

Negative Aftereffects

Someone standing in floodwaters wearing yellow boots.

Floodwaters can cause another problem in your yard that has nothing to do with aesthetics: bacteria. Use care when cleaning up and treating your yard. Wear gloves, boots, and appropriate protection for yourself, and wash your hands with antibacterial soap after you've been doing yard work.

If your yard becomes infected with bacteria or fungus following a flood, there are steps you can take. Try placing new topsoil and planting new grass in affected areas. Heavily water infected areas to flush out organisms. And if all else fails, try a product, like lime, that will kill bacteria.