Filling soil into a wet area in backyard

TedMondoApril 7, 2014

We have recently moved into a 1950s era house. Near the rear fence in our backyard, there is a wet area where runoff tends to accumulate after heavy rain falls or snow melts (see photo). The neighbors� yards are higher so their runoff seems to drain into our backyard. What type of soil would be suitable for filling in this area? Locally, the soil is high in clay content, and the region we live is flat so there isn�t much drainage.
We are considering what the topsoil provider calls number two screened topsoil to fill this area then to reseed it with grass. We�re thinking about filling the area with several inches of soil so it is even with our neighbor�s yards.

I would greatly appreciate your suggestions and advice on how to complete this project

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Adding more soil on top of it isn't going to help - it's always going to be swampy. You need to correct the drainage by finding another (lower) point to drain that to. First, check the runoff from your neighbors - there should be town ordinances about runoff from their property/ies draining onto yours. If you can prove that runoff is coming from their place(s) onto yours, and get them to correct that, your problem will be alleviated and possibly disappear.

If you have to regrade and/or put in drains, again you have to make sure that you're not creating a problem for someone else.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 13:46

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 1:38PM
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One cannot prevent storm runoff from coming onto their property from the upstream neighbor. Similarly, one cannot prevent runoff from leaving their property onto the downstream neighbor. Water runs downhill no matter what. What one can't do is concentrate water and dump it on their neighbor. Or ... prevent water from leaving an upstream neighbor's property. Before changing anything, study how things got to be like they are. Did a neighbor do some construction and add fill to their yard? Look at the larger neighborhood. Where should water naturally flow in order to get out of this yard (as if the houses didn't exist)? Who is blocking that path?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 8:57PM
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We need an aerial map. Google Maps shot of the property with arrows helping understand the flow.. From the picture the water seems to have a tendency to stay to the left. You might be able to build a pipe channel along that side to the road. It doesn't take much of a change in slope to re-route water, but we need to see a bigger picture to help make suggestions. Include information about where your downspouts are currently routed as well

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:32PM
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You can't stop water from running downhill, but you're not allowed to do any work that dumps water onto a neighbor's property (don't know if the neighbors did that, that's why I said check first, if they did, they have to fix it, and also the OP can't do any grading or anything that will just move the problem to someone else's property). Sorry I wasn't clear about that in the first post.

But agree you need to figure out where it's coming from and why - I would hope that this had not been a problem when the house was built (if so the GC, engineer, and town building inspector weren't doing their jobs) so something must have changed.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:35AM
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