How to End Standing Water in Your Nashville Lawn

Did you know that Nashville gets over 47 inches of rain each year? If you have an area in your lawn that always seems to attract standing water, you’re probably well aware that Nashville gets its fair share of precipitation. We are also pretty sure that you are not looking forward to May, Nashville’s rainiest month.

Standing water is more than just an inconvenience, particularly if it is gathering along or near your foundation. There is a solution for standing water, it’s just not what most people think it is.

The water is standing because the ground is a low spot, right? So, to correct that, all you need to do is add topsoil and build the ground up. That’s a popular belief, but unfortunately it doesn’t solve the problem. The topsoil eventually will be washed away, and the standing water will return.

Short of grading your entire lawn, the water that lands on the lawn is still going to drain to what is your “low spot.” What you need is a way to move that water to another location. What you need is a French ditch.

Ditch Digging Your Way to a Dry Landscape

At the Parke Company, Nashville’s leading landscaping service and tree service, we are no strangers to lawns with standing water. Water seeks the lowest level and if you put something in the way of that natural flow, like the foundation of a house, it will backup, saturate the soil, and become standing water. The solution is to capture that water and move it someplace else. And that’s just what a French ditch can do.

The French ditch has been in use since the mid-1850s, usually as a farm drainage system. While the materials have been upgraded since then, the concept remains the same. Essentially, you dig a ditch through the standing water area and to an area that can either absorb or disburse the moisture. The ditch uses a perforated pipe that allows water to percolate up into it and carries it away. Sounds like a simple lawn maintenance issue, right?

Well, if you’re planning on doing it yourself, here’s a quick list of equipment and materials that you will need:

  • Flat edge spade or rent a Ditch Witch
  • A pick
  • Perforated pipe and connectors (if required)
  • Dry well (if required)
  • Washed gravel (lots and lots of washed gravel)
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Enough garden fabric to cover the length of the pipe

Installing a French Ditch

Putting the ditch in takes a lot of physically challenging work. But before you break the first sweat, there are steps you want to take:

  • First, call your local utilities and find the location of any buried lines on your property. If you have an irrigation system, you’ll want to determine if the line or control cable runs through your projected ditch.
  • Stake out your ditch.
  • Start digging. The depth and width of the trench will depend on the size of the pipe you use. The ditch should be graded to lose 6 inches over 100 feet.
  • If you are going to use a dry well as a collection point, dig a hole for it at the end of your ditch.
  • Start pouring a gravel base into the ditch. Dump the gravel into the ditch and use the spade to spread it.
  • Lay the pipe and snap the end into the dry well (if applicable).
  • Cover the pipe with gravel and then cover with garden fabric to keep dirt from entering the perforated pipe.
  • Cover with dirt. If you were careful about saving the sod when you started digging, add the sod and tamp down.
  • Wait for a good rain to see results.

Contact The Parke Company

Of course, if you want to skip this exercise, give The Parke Company a call. Our lawn services are not limited to lawn mowing and tree trimming. We can solve your “standing water” problem fast and professionally. And if you take into consideration your time, material, and equipment costs, Deep Heat rub and aspirin expense, we can probably install your French ditch for less than you can. Call us today!

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