How to Improve Drainage in Lawns?

POSTED ON April 1, 2023 BY Galena Lawn Care

Soil drainage is essential for lawn health. Plants need well-drained soil for healthy growth. Plants require enough water to grow, but too much water can be detrimental. A lawn with improper drainage can suffer from various problems like fungal infections, weed infestations, grass dying, and other diseases. 

Soil has tiny pores that hold vital nutrients and oxygen molecules. The roots need those nutrients to keep plants and trees healthy. Without a proper drainage system when those small spaces get filled with water, plants can’t absorb the necessary nutrients. The roots become rot, and fungal diseases may develop, thus leading to growth challenges for plants.

You can conclude that a lawn has poor drainage if you notice waterlogged in the yard or the plants in the garden are droopy. It is possible now to check the permeability of the soil, and if the result shows poor drainage, it is possible to improve it. 

How to make lawn drainage?

First, to get rid of the excess water in your yard, you should understand where the water is coming from. The problem could be simple, like the discharge of a drainpipe collecting in a comparatively lower area of your yard. Then, the problem can be solved with ease. All you need is to extend the drainpipe to a different location. Thus, the waste water does not stand in the yard. 

If it is too complex to detect the real cause behind water logging, you can consider installing an underground drainage pipe. This drainage pipe will help to remove clogged water from the low spots in the yard. To make the drainage system work properly, dig a trench that will gradually slope downwards from the source to the outlet. 

There are various other ways to dispose of the extra water, from the garden, like installing a dry well or adding a French drainage system. 

How to improve the drainage of soil?

To improve the drainage capability of your lawn, you need to find the causes behind waterlog. Lawn drainage has become a crucial issue, particularly in a residential neighborhoods. The continuous digging of virgin soil and too much construction has led to damage to the surface. 

It takes experienced supervision to determine why your lawn is flooded and how you can resolve it.

Here are some obvious reasons for poor lawn drainage:

Quality of soil- Dense soil is excellent at retaining nutrients and moisture. However, if it’s too denser air and water circulation suffer turning the lawn sodden. On the other hand, chalky soil and sandy loams have better drainage. However, the latter can dry out too much in the summer months. So, you need to choose the lawn soil correctly depending on the area you are staying in.

Underground obstructions- Buried debris can lead to poor soil drainage. If you notice any particular area in the lawn is often discolored or dead, check for buried debris, wood, or rocks. 

Level of the ground- Undulating lawns are more likely to collect water in places. Lower spots in the yard are likely to collect more water than the rest of the areas. Leveling the ground evenly can drastically resolve drainage problems. 

High water table- When the level of water underground is high, it will fill all the pores between rocks and sediments. 

Less structure in soil- organic matter formed by decomposing animals, plants, and microorganisms can add structure to the soil, and improve soil drainage. Without proper structure, the soil becomes dry and has fewer pores for the water to flow through.

Compact soil layers- Extreme compact soil layers cause poor drainage in the yard. Heavy machines pushed the dirt, resulting in few pore spaces of air and water to move through. 

Whatever the reason, it’s possible to improve the soil in a few simple ways. You can take assistance from professionals or DIY soil amendment options to enhance the drainage of the soil. 


Aerating a lawn means creating multiple holes on the surface of the lawn. The process improves drainage, and the roots receive air which keeps them dry. Usually, an aerator machine is used in lawns to perform the process. 

The machine has different attachments that help to remove moss, spiking, pricking, and stilting the lawn surface. It can help ease the problem of compaction. It makes the roots strong and solves the overall drainage problem. 

There is a variety of aerators available in the market. Some of them are hand-operated. 

Fork lifting

Fork lifting is another common method often used to improve lawn drainage. It is a simple action where a garden fork is forced into the soil for about 2 inches under the lawn surface and then its gently lifted. The process creates sufficient holes beneath the topsoil layer of the lawn. It is a natural way to reduce compaction.

Changing the topsoil

Spreading a layer of compost-based loams or sand can improve the quality of soil over time and solve the drainage problem. However, the process takes time, and if you are ready to wait it can improve yards drainage over time. 

Making the lawn even

This involves filling the low spots with loamy soil and making it level with the rest of the lawn. The areas filled with new soil can then be turfed and seeded to complete the process. 

The methods mentioned so far to improve lawn drainage are simple, and you can do it too. However, if the problem is intensive and the lawn is too big, it is best to take the help of professionals. They can re-work the whole lawn level, improve the topsoil and install a proper drainage system. 

How to improve the drainage of sloped lawns?

Some people think that sloped landscapes have a natural advantage. But, sometimes sloping areas tend to collect water in areas, especially at the bottom of the hills. To get rid of that problem you can use:

  • Channel drains
  • French drains
  • Retaining walls
  • Sump pumps

How to improve drainage in clay soil lawn?

It is possible to improve the drainage in a clay soil lawn in a few easy steps. First, you need to loosen up the clay particles. For that, you need to aerate your lawn, make holes, top dress the land with sand, and compost. For a permanent solution, you can consider building a proper drainage system for your lawn. 

With all this information, you will be able to solve drainage problems in the lawn and will be able to create a healthy and green lawn. 

Call Galena Lawn Care at 740-913-1599 or Send Us a Message