The next drainage problem to pop up is usually the Soggy Lawn Swamp, though in your yard it may be better
called the Soggy Garden Swamp, the Under Deck Flood, or some other soggy area I’ll let you name. Slosh on
out to the middle of each one and stick a stake in with the number 2 written on it. Again note how hard it is to
push the stake in.

Mark these places on your sketch and then look around to try to find where the water is coming from. Is a Lake
Downspout feeding your swamp? Does the swamp show up as a broad low area in an otherwise flat lawn? Is
your swamp the pathway between raised flower or garden beds? Or does it fill the area above or below a
retaining wall? Is your swamp backed up against your foundation wall? Is it stretched across a dip in your
driveway or along the edge of a patio? Take lots of notes and mark all these areas with your #2 stakes.

After awhile it will be time for
The Rainy River to start flowing (if you are unlucky enough to have one). Sketch
its path and mark it with stakes with 3 written on them, usually one at the river’s beginning and one at its end.
Again note how easy or hard it is to put the stakes in. Try to figure out where the river originates and why it
flows where it does. Does the river begin on your property or your neighbors? What is feeding the river? Is it
flowing across an area that causes any problems for you? Is there a natural depression or swale that the river
follows? Does it drain to a ditch, the street, or just flow into another Soggy Lawn Swamp? If it flows into a
Soggy Lawn Swamp does the swamp keep growing or does it stay the same size? (
in other words, can it
handle the additional flow
?)

Wander around a little longer and see if anything changes much and if any other insights come to mind. Then
go inside, dry off, have a cup of coffee, and try to figure out how you are going to explain your strange
behavior to the neighbors.

Once the rain stops head back outside with your pencil and sketch. Take notes on which areas soak in and
disappear first. Normally the Lake Downspouts and the Rainy Rivers will soak in first, and the Swamps will hang
around the longest – but not always. Note on your sketch the places that disappear quickly. Also mark the
ones that are very slow to disappear - like more than 8 hours. This time information will be useful in setting
priorities of which drainage problems to tackle first.

So now you have information on where your drainage problems occur, some clues as to why they occur, and
information on how severe they are (that's the drain time information). In Step 2 of the Lawn, Yard, and
Garden Drainage Guide we will figure out
How To Design a Drainage System to solve these problems…
In our Drainage Guide you will find information on:

• How to design, build, and install a drainage system
• French drain system building instructions
• Installation of plastic drainage pipe and gravel
• How to install a drywell to drain rain water
Follow the steps linked below to correct most home and yard drainage problems...
Do you have a soggy lawn?

Are your garden plants drowning in rain water?

Do you get big puddles in your yard that take days to dry up?

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Lawn, Yard, and Garden Drainage Guide  -  STEP 1
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How To Analyze Your Water Drainage Problems – Step One

Normal drainage problems start during a rain storm and can last for a few days afterward. They usually fit one of these 3 memorably named categories:
1.  Lake Downspout
2.  Soggy Lawn Swamp
3.  Rainy River

There is a 4th category that we won’t be tackling in this guide, the Eternal Wet Zone. This soggy bit of landscape that never seems to dry up, even
when it has not rained for weeks. It is probably a spring, an area of unusually high water table, or a leaking water or sewer pipe. All of these situations
call for professional assistance. Don’t start digging into an area that may be a little spring, or it is likely to become a BIG spring. Here is an article that
will give you a little
insight on dealing with springs.

Installing a drain system yourself is probably going to involve some expense for plastic drain pipe (still called drain tile by some – I’ll use both terms),
much gravel, and a lot of digging. Before you start spending you time and treasure, let’s figure out
WHY your yard, lawn or garden has a drainage
problem, and then we will figure out how to best
FIX it. That means going out in the next rain storm and getting a little wet.

Before the next rain storm you should do these few tasks. First, round up a dozen or two wooden stakes, a hammer, a pencil or two, and a rain poncho
or umbrella. Next make a sketch - on something fairly water proof - of the portion of yard that has the drainage problem (I like to use a scrap of
plywood). Lastly check your gutters and downspouts – make sure they are not plugged and that the downspouts are intact. You may want to have
others in your household read this guide also so they can do the discovery task for you if you are not home during the next big rain storm.

Shortly after the rain storm starts head outside and watch for the occurrence of our 3 memorably named water drainage problems:
1.  
Lake Downspout
2.  Soggy Lawn Swamp
3.  The Rainy River

The first drain problem to show up is usually Lake Downspout. Try to figure out why rain water is building up near your gutter downspouts. Is the
ground next to the house tilted back towards the house so the water can’t flow away? Does the problem downspout have a whole lot more water coming
out of it than other nearby gutter downspouts? Are there two gutter downspouts fairly near each other with a lake between them?

Mark the center of any Lake Downspout with a stake with the number 1 written on it. Note if the soil is fairly soupy so the stake slides right in, or if it
takes firm steady pressure to push the stake in
(indicates clay soil) or if you have to hammer the stake through a hard crust (surface compaction).
Make notes on your plywood sketch of any clues you discover.
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