Wet areas on site don’t have to be a hindrance to the landscape. As difficult as it may seem, there are many solutions for wetland gardens that can transform the space into an attractive part of the landscape. Most plants cannot tolerate having their root systems submerged in water for long periods, but some plants thrive on water. Raised beds or mechanical methods can also be used to make the area drier.
Landscaping Ideas For Wet Backyard
If you’ve ever tried planting something in the garden, you’ve probably heard the advice to plant in an area that has good drainage. This is because the soil has tiny pores in it, where roots store the oxygen they need to stay healthy. If drainage is poor, these pores will fill with water, which can cause a variety of problems for plant growth, including disease, mold growth, and rot. But it can also be a good thing. Some plants can grow in soil that is constantly moist or wet. With these water-loving plants, disease and rot are rarely a problem. Some landscape innovations can improve poorly drained soils, allowing more varieties of trees, shrubs, and perennials to grow. Here are ten landscaping ideas for a wet backyard :
How Wet Is Your Soil?
The first step in dealing with wet soil is to know your soil well. Find out which parts of your garden are very wet and how long they have been wet. Consider seasonal soil moisture content, how much water dries out after heavy rains, and how often water accumulates in that area.
Here is a simple test used by the landscaping industry to measure the drainage potential of a particular soil. Dig a hole 18 inches deep and about 12 inches wide in a wet area. Fill the hole with water. The water level should continue to drop and drain completely within 24 hours; if there is still water after a day, repeat the test in a few weeks to determine if it is a seasonal drainage problem (for example, spring runoff) or if there is a year-round wet soil problem.
Mix In Compost.
If the poorly drained area is relatively small and not too severe, you can lighten the soil by adding a lot of organic matter. Compost has many pores to take up oxygen. Mixing it into poorly drained soil helps add valuable air pockets. This is a multi-year process. Mixing 3-4 inches of compost each year will improve drainage over time.
Wetland Trees And Shrubs
Planting trees provides a long-term, low-maintenance landscaping solution for a wet backyard. Thirsty trees not only beautify the landscape but also reduce the amount of water in these wet areas, so you can reclaim and enjoy the space you once lost. Trees that are well suited for these wet environments include bald cypress (Taxodium disticum), American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), and weeping willow (Salix babylonica).
University of Maine Extension Gardeners recommends several species of dogwood (Cornus spp.) and rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.) shrubs for very moist soils. Red maple (Acer rubrum) has bright red foliage. Woodbine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), also known as Virginia creeper, is a fast-growing vine with fragrant flowers.
Plant Water-Loving Plants.
If your flooded area is too large to convert with composting, or if you are by a river, there are several methods. The simplest is to choose water-loving plants such as marsh marigold, cardinal flower, and Spurgeon and, if necessary, create paths and walkways in the garden so that the garden can be enjoyed from drier areas.
Native Plants For Wet Areas
Native plants can be incorporated into the landscape to improve wet areas. Shrub wet backyard can include salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis var. Rubra), whose fruits are edible; Indian rhubarb (Darmera palate), which has large leaves; yellow-flowered hollyhock (Euthamia occidentalis); delicate Leatherroot (Hoita macrostachya) with its delicate purple flowers can also be planted. In wet backyards, plant grasses such as American mangosteen (Glyceria grandis), which can grow up to three feet tall, and mangosteen face (Glyceria straita), which is only two to three feet tall.
Creating A Rain Garden
Rain gardens are an ideal solution for areas that tend to flood frequently that’s why it is one of the best landscaping ideas for wet backyards. They collect and filter rainwater, allowing it to soak in slowly. Rain gardens can be planted with plants that prefer moist soil or can tolerate short dry periods.
Raised Garden Beds
In addition to solving the problem of gardening in wet soil, raised beds for vegetables, flowers and shrubs have other advantages. They can irrigate a smaller space, which helps save water. Raising the planting area allows the soil to warm up faster in spring, thus extending the growing season. The soil is not compacted because there is no walking on the ground. Raised beds are easy to move, even for people who have physical disabilities.
According to the University of Georgia Extension, to create raised beds, form ridges or mounds of soil at least 10 inches high. You can also lay flagstone, sandstone, or granite to give your garden a natural look. You can also surround the edges of the raised beds with paving stones made of flat stones, cement, bricks, or recycled plastic to create garden paths that can be used in damp areas.
Creating A Wet Garden Or Pond
For areas with poor drainage, a more complicated option is to create a pond, bog, or water garden. This will probably require professional help. The land needs to be carefully landscaped to ensure that there is enough water. Small ponds have the added benefit of attracting wildlife to naturally wet areas for drinking and bathing. Many birds will seek out a wet backyard, including grackles, mockingbirds, catbirds, cardinals, and goslings.
Drainage Tile Installation
One way to improve poor drainage is to excavate the soil and install drainage tiles below the ground. When installing drainage tiles, attention to detail is the key to success. Carefully analyze the slope, tile depth, and water outlet. A rain garden or wet backyard may be required near the drainage outlet. This work is best done by a professional, but if you want to do it yourself, here are some tools, materials, and procedures.
Mechanically Improve Poorly Drained Soil
If you have a small wet area, you can mechanically improve it instead of just planting water-tolerant plants. A mixture of compost and well-drained soil can be mixed into the wet soil. However, it takes several seasons of cultivation to achieve the desired effect. A quicker option is to hire a landscaper to install a permanent drainage system in the wetland, but this is not very economical. It involves digging trenches, laying gravel to form the foundation, and installing pipes to channel water away from the garden.
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