Wet lawn

sistersgrimmApril 14, 2010

Hi everyone,

I live in the Vancouver area of BC and my backyard is VERY wet, we are in an area that has a lot of clay and a high water table. During the winter there is often pools of water 4" deep standing on the lawn in certain areas. This is usually when the tide is high and it's raining (most of the winter). The front yard also floods in one area but I'm not as concerned about that.

Add to this two German Shepherds that like to run through the yard you can only imagine how muddy my back yard has become.

This is all compounded by the fact that the yard directly to the east is the lowest yard of the 5 that border it and the yard. The yard was designed with sump pumps which are now broken. The neighbor's yard behind me is also probably 8-12 inches higher than mine. Before we had the dogs we just lived with the really soggy yard and stayed out of it for most of the winter.

I'm hoping you can tell me whether my plan is a good one or not or if there is anything else I should consider.

At one end of the yard where the largest pond is created I want to plant a curly willow, hoping that this will help some of the extra water in that area.

I want to add several yards of sand and good top soil to the yard and till it all in and raise the yard about 4 inches overall on a gradual slope to the north fence (that yard is higher).

I want to dig a trench a foot wide and 18" deep across the width of the back yard. I plan to put a section of drainage tubing in the trench and fill with drainage rocks.

Do you think these things will help over all?

Also what type of grass seed should I look for that can withstand HEAVY traffic, shade and wet conditions?

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I really can't comment on the drainage issues, but for the grass seed your options are very limited. The only one that comes to mind is poa supina. Unfortunately it is one of the most expensive grass seeds on the market, but it can grow in shade, spread, and take a lot of abuse. You will have to give it a few months to germinate and mature before you set the dogs loose on it. You can buy it at 100% supina or mixed with poa trivialis to cut costs, but poa trivialis isn't very wear resistant, so the theory is the supina will overtake the trivialis in due time.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 12:10AM
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You have to adress the drainage issue first. Look here for drainage solutions .

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 8:56AM
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freyja5(8a (Surrey, BC, Canada))

Just fyi re raising of the yard level and putting in a slope: I believe many of our Lower Mainland communities have bylaws that prevent the alteration of any existing swale. You might want to check with your municipal hall's engineering dept. to see if your regrading plans are ok, to ensure neighbours' yards are not impacted by water being redirected to them.

We faced a similar problem and put in a similar ditch along the back of our yard. It diverted a bit of the water off the lawn, but with the shade and constant moisture, we still face a soggy yard every spring, fall and winter. My mainly fescue grass in that area is usually 1/2 gone every spring. I've patiently reseeded each year, but that's not for everyone (especially someone with dogs).

I have found the area that I seeded with Perennial Rye actually faired a bit better this winter than the fescue, even though the fescue is usually what is recommended for shady areas.

Can you reduce the shade at all?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 5:13PM
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