Garden flooding


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My son has lived in the Columbus area of Ohio amongst farmland for three years. As you can see he has a problem with part of his garden flooding. The ground is completely flat, but the field beyond the trees and fence on the left has a slight slope which doesn't help the situation. To the right, outside the fence there is a green verge with a road just beyond that. It looks as if a previous owner of the property has tried to alleviate the problem by planting a Willow, unfortunately that isn't enough.

Any suggestions on how to drain this area would be very welcome please.

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My son has lived in the Columbus area of Ohio amongst farmland for three years. As you can see he has a problem with part of his garden flooding. The ground is completely flat, but the field beyond the trees and fence on the left has a slight slope which doesn't help the situation. To the right, outside the fence there is a green verge with a road just beyond that. It looks as if a previous owner of the property has tried to alleviate the problem by planting a Willow, unfortunately that isn't enough.

Any suggestions on how to drain this area would be very welcome please.

View attachment 47267
From the picture it seems like the surrounding land has a higher elevation and if so the only solutions I can think of are building a berm and swale or a French drain. I would think berm and swale to be a lot cheaper and easier
 
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My son has lived in the Columbus area of Ohio amongst farmland for three years. As you can see he has a problem with part of his garden flooding. The ground is completely flat, but the field beyond the trees and fence on the left has a slight slope which doesn't help the situation. To the right, outside the fence there is a green verge with a road just beyond that. It looks as if a previous owner of the property has tried to alleviate the problem by planting a Willow, unfortunately that isn't enough.

Any suggestions on how to drain this area would be very welcome please.

View attachment 47267
I would not try. It is too much to summon the energy to turn fantasy into reality. I would do raised bed and enjoy the support that water offers to the tips of the roots.
 

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Follow nature and turn it into a pond! And then use the dug up soil to build up the area around the pond. If the house is far away from the soggy swathe, plant willows.. I'm only joking! Not an expert!
 
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From the picture it seems like the surrounding land has a higher elevation and if so the only solutions I can think of are building a berm and swale or a French drain. I would think berm and swale to be a lot cheaper and easier
Thanks Chuck, (y) I was thinking along those lines myself. A berm and swale would possibly work, but unless it drains through the ground there is nowhere for the water to run too which could create another problem. A French drain would be more efficient I think. If filled with gravel and may be a depth of soil on top it could then be hidden under the lawn.
 
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I would do raised bed and enjoy the support that water offers to the tips of the roots.
Thanks DirtMechanic. :) A nice idea but I don't think this would work. The amount of water you see in the picture is after it starts to drain, surface water can stretch twice as far as that and I think it would eventually swamp the soil of a raised bed turning it into a bog.

Follow nature and turn it into a pond!
Thank you too Alp. :) Another good idea but there are two very good reasons this can't happen. My son has two large, mad dogs that he wouldn't be able to keep out of it, and to be honest it's not something he would be interested in having or maintaining.

Sorry folks it has to be some sort of drainage.
 
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IMO there is a low spot somewhere for the water to go and if not make one. Back in my working days doing construction I did this exact same sort of thing. You need 2 things for the job. A lazer and a bobcat with teeth for digging. From the picture it looks like the far corner is the low spot but you will have to rent a lazer meant to do elevations to lay out the depth of the swale. And this may be a problem with the adjacent landowner and if it is you will have to do all of the work inside the fence. You would use the soil from the swale to make the berm.
 
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IMO there is a low spot somewhere for the water to go and if not make one. Back in my working days doing construction I did this exact same sort of thing. You need 2 things for the job. A lazer and a bobcat with teeth for digging. From the picture it looks like the far corner is the low spot but you will have to rent a lazer meant to do elevations to lay out the depth of the swale. And this may be a problem with the adjacent landowner and if it is you will have to do all of the work inside the fence. You would use the soil from the swale to make the berm.
And make sure gentle swales do not fill in with sediment. I hate redigging for runoff because it fills back in over years.
 

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I'd love to have a lake and let nature take its course. Would come in handy when there is a drought or a fire!
 

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It’s only a small part of the yard make a water loving plant area and enjoy it
That's a good idea. A natural wetland area would be awesome in the area. Especially being in Ohio, that's an important area for the Monarch migration, so planting things like Swamp Milkweed, sedges, rushes, and other water-loving native plants would go a long way.
 
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Thank you everyone for your ideas. (y) I'll pass these onto my son to think on and I will let you know what he decides to do.
 

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(@Chuck and @DirtMechanic)

Just out of curiosity, what would happen if he were to add a ton more organic matter to that part of the yard? Something to help absorb the water? I recognize it would take a while to decompose and become dirt, so it may not be the answer he's looking for...but what if?

The thread was started in November, which is prime leaf collection time. (I see at least a few trees in the yard.) Also, the city will send big vacuum trucks to sweep leaves if you rake them to the curb. People are also asked to put them in biodegradable bags at the curb. He should be able to call "311" (City services and City information) and see if he can pick up leaves somewhere.

After every big storm in Columbus, the news talks about all the fallen trees that need cleaned up. He could call 311 and ask if the city/county road crews would be willing to deliver a load of wood chips. And if not, individual tree trimming companies would probably be willing to deliver for the cost of the gas it takes to get there. (Saves them from having to pay to dump them somewhere. ;))

Sheal states that it is in the Columbus area - amongst farmland - so bales of straw should be cheap and easy to find. Straw absorbs a lot of water!! With the wood chips to weight it down, the straw would not be likely to float away. :)

He should be able to get cardboard simply by visiting a store. If he put it on the bottom, and layered the other stuff on top, it wouldn't look like "trash in the yard."

With enough organic matter in that yard, wouldn't it eventually be able to keep up with the water? Especially if he were to also plant a few more water-loving plants? (I'm very fond of pussy willows, they are one of the first plants in the spring that you can cut for a vase. The one we had in the yard at my childhood home would have silvery grey catkins, followed by pretty yellow flowers, both attractive. You just can't plant them close to water lines, they'll send their roots down and break the pipes to steal your water! :eek:)

What if?
 
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(@Chuck and @DirtMechanic)

Just out of curiosity, what would happen if he were to add a ton more organic matter to that part of the yard? Something to help absorb the water? I recognize it would take a while to decompose and become dirt, so it may not be the answer he's looking for...but what if?

The thread was started in November, which is prime leaf collection time. (I see at least a few trees in the yard.) Also, the city will send big vacuum trucks to sweep leaves if you rake them to the curb. People are also asked to put them in biodegradable bags at the curb. He should be able to call "311" (City services and City information) and see if he can pick up leaves somewhere.

After every big storm in Columbus, the news talks about all the fallen trees that need cleaned up. He could call 311 and ask if the city/county road crews would be willing to deliver a load of wood chips. And if not, individual tree trimming companies would probably be willing to deliver for the cost of the gas it takes to get there. (Saves them from having to pay to dump them somewhere. ;))

Sheal states that it is in the Columbus area - amongst farmland - so bales of straw should be cheap and easy to find. Straw absorbs a lot of water!! With the wood chips to weight it down, the straw would not be likely to float away. :)

He should be able to get cardboard simply by visiting a store. If he put it on the bottom, and layered the other stuff on top, it wouldn't look like "trash in the yard."

With enough organic matter in that yard, wouldn't it eventually be able to keep up with the water? Especially if he were to also plant a few more water-loving plants? (I'm very fond of pussy willows, they are one of the first plants in the spring that you can cut for a vase. The one we had in the yard at my childhood home would have silvery grey catkins, followed by pretty yellow flowers, both attractive. You just can't plant them close to water lines, they'll send their roots down and break the pipes to steal your water! :eek:)

What if?
It takes roughly 500 years to make 1 inch of soil. This is soil, not soil organic matter. You could add 10 tons of organic matter to the area and when it decomposed you should be able to measure it but it would be a minuscule amount. The following link more or less explains it.
 

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Hmm... I get the gist of the article, but I don't really understand it. So, more questions!! :D You know I am full of questions!

(Chuck, I know it's hard to read tone into text, please know I am not trying to argue!
49238
Teach me!)

Ok, I know I used the phrase "turn into dirt," - what I meant was "to compost." Wouldn't it turn into compost eventually? Wouldn't it absorb water? (What would happen to the water?) Would the composted material then just float on the puddle?

Couldn't he turn it into one big composting pile of absorbent material? It might not be especially good for growing grass, but if that's the way the yard looks much of the time, he's probably not mowing there anyway...
 
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For some reason this is an issue (soil science) I have great interest in and feel like responding, but will first read Chuck's link. I'm still a little fuzzy on the time it takes for soil to be formed and I'm not unfamiliar with the supposed long periods of time it's suppose to take. I've heard even longer time frames of up to 1,000 years, depending on the climate. I'm not clear on what part of the soil these references are referring to, that takes so long.

One example is my soil here in Florida, which has a parent material of sand, which is just ground up forms of rocks. Are they saying that's the part of the soil that takes that long to form?

BTW, like MaryMary, I'm also not arguing the facts, just trying to understand something that's always very much interested me about gardening...
 
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Hmm... I get the gist of the article, but I don't really understand it. So, more questions!! :D You know I am full of questions!

(Chuck, I know it's hard to read tone into text, please know I am not trying to argue! View attachment 49238Teach me!)

Ok, I know I used the phrase "turn into dirt," - what I meant was "to compost." Wouldn't it turn into compost eventually? Wouldn't it absorb water? (What would happen to the water?) Would the composted material then just float on the puddle?

Couldn't he turn it into one big composting pile of absorbent material? It might not be especially good for growing grass, but if that's the way the yard looks much of the time, he's probably not mowing there anyway...
If you raise the level of the flooded area to be above the surrounding area with compost the entire raised area will become a quagmire of saturated particles. Compost does not adhere to itself like soil does. Soil will become mud, compost something altogether different. The property of the OP is surrounded by land of a higher elevation so he will have to either raise his entire property, house and all, to a level higher than his neighbors OR devise a way to drain away the excess water. It will be impossible to add enough organic mater as to absorb all of the rain water. IMO the only feasible thing to do is to build a berm and swale around his property so that when it rains the berm will be high enough and the swale at a steep enough angle to allow all of the water up hill from him to drain somewhere else. He could also fill in the flooded area with soil but all that would do is make the water continue to go downhill. Planting grass at the proper time of year and filling in the low area with topsoil is a way to stop the standing water but that does not stop the area from flooding. A berm and swale will.
For some reason this is an issue (soil science) I have great interest in and feel like responding, but will first read Chuck's link. I'm still a little fuzzy on the time it takes for soil to be formed and I'm not unfamiliar with the supposed long periods of time it's suppose to take. I've heard even longer time frames of up to 1,000 years, depending on the climate. I'm not clear on what part of the soil these references are referring to, that takes so long.

One example is my soil here in Florida, which has a parent material of sand, which is just ground up forms of rocks. Are they saying that's the part of the soil that takes that long to form?

BTW, like MaryMary, I'm also not arguing the facts, just trying to understand something that's always very much interested me about gardening...
The 500 year time is an average. Some soils take less, some take more time. The following link is the easiest I have found to understand soil formation.

 
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I've read both links by Chuck and I totally agree with both of them; however, it occurred to me that maybe we gardeners don't plant in soil, as strictly defined by soil scientists. So maybe in one sense, it's kind of a non-issue.

Kind of crazy, I know, but when you read about soils and their formation a lot of emphasis is placed on horizons or layers. In my case any layer of soil formation I had before I started gardening was totally disrupted by me. I totally demolished it by tilling over it with the goal of killing off the Bermuda grass. I then mulched over the totally mixed up horizontal layers.

However, the plants don't seem to care, one of the first plants I inadvertently grew were potatoes in my compost pile of leaves and kitchen waste...that was definitely not soil. Actually you couldn't even call it dirt (btw, the best definition I've heard of dirt is just displaced soil). In other words, when we dig/till up our garden areas, aren't we just left with dirt?
 

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