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Soggy lawn and puddles

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by diymark, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. diymark

    diymark LawnSite Member
    from ma
    Messages: 2

    I recently purchased a new home and have been having problems with puddles forming and soggy grass in the back yard every time it rains. The home has been in place for almost two years. There is a significant hill that slopes down into the center of the lawn where the puddles occur. I believe that low spots on the surface and hard top crust may be my problem. The builder did try to correct this problem by burying the existing lawn with only an inch or two of soil. The soil he used was horrible it was loaded with rocks and sticks. This did very little to solve the puddles and soggy lawn. I would like to try to correct this myself. Here is what I am thinking let me know if this sounds like it would work.

    1. Till the problem area 6”-8” deep, grass and all
    2. Add screen loam and till again to mix the soils
    3. grade the soil with a slope of 1ft for every 50ft away from the house
    4. lightly roll the soil
    5. Add more loam if necessary and level with a landscape rake

    Thanks for your time and suggestions.
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Your problem lies in the hard-pan.

    You said new home, was it built in the last 5-10 years, or just built.

    What is happening in new home construction is that the contractors are using the lots as a parking lot. When the landscapers come in, they don't try to deeply till or add any amendments to the lawn to make it grow better.

    Go rent an auger of some sort, and in the area you have standing water, drill a few holes as deep as you can. This allows a "well" for the water to permeate the hard pan and not leave puddles. (of course, call you local utility locator first.)

    Yes, if you think the grade of your yard is off, then I would fix that problem too. You need at least one inch drop over 8 feet to get water to run off correctly.

    If you do a complete renovation of the lawn, still auger the holes where you need to, then rent a mini-skid with a tiller of some sort and till as deeply as possible to get the best root zone possible. Seed then roll the lawn, or lay sod.

    Don't use a roller unless you have to.
  3. diymark

    diymark LawnSite Member
    from ma
    Messages: 2

    OK, thanks for the help.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I agree except for the mini-skid. If the soil is heavy at all you don't want that large of a machine rolling around on it compacting. Sometimes is unavoidable - I hate working lawns with heavy machines.
    Also till in compost moreso than another soil.

    Then again - the augered holes may be enough.
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Soil test and till to 12" if possible with a generous application of compost (probably around 2-3") and whatever other amendments you may need based on your soil test.
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Oh and slope requirements (IRC & UBC) are 6" slope over the first 10 feet from the foundation. IRC & UBC also state top of foundation should be 12" + 2% above street drain on graded sites.

    The remaining lot slope requirements depends on the lot layout and local codes, but generally speaking it should be a minimum of 2% slope (1/4" per foot). Also you cannot drain your lot onto someone elses lot, which I believe is the case everywhere.

    Personally I prefer to handle storm runoff on site if possible. Consider creating a swale and slope the area to that.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I'm in the same boat as you Axe. I stay away from the heavy machinery on lawns with compaction issues. The thing I hate the most is the big skid steers with a harley rake. Once done it's a very compacted yard.

    If a mini skid and say, and Toro soil cultivator is used, you can make your passes going backwards, but you have to stay off of your already tilled areas when you are done.

    After that I would hand grade the rest of the yard and already had dirt in place in the low spots before tilling.

    I only suggest the mini skid and tiller on newer construction lawns where a rear-tine tiller, such as the 20 horse BCS tiller, wouldn't cut through the hard-pan without taking too much time and effort. A mini and tiller, weight wise is nothing compared to some of the horribly compacted lawns I've seen around here.

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