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Remove Standing Water in Your Yard

The roof, gutters and downspouts remove water off your home, but where that run-off water goes is an equally important part of water management around your home.

Water that consistently remains on the surface of your yard after a heavy rain is known as standing or ponding water. If this happens regularly near the foundation of your home, the concern is that this water will work its way into your home. Ponding further out in the yard can become a mosquito magnet. Standing water is a home maintenance problem that needs to be solved.

Because of gravity, water always flows down hill. In a perfect world, every house would be built atop a hill so all water would roll away. In the real world, you should work on keeping all waste water a minimum of 10 feet away from the foundation your home and clear up reoccurring wet spots in the yard. There are several options for accomplishing this.

Drainage Systems

Next to the home, downspouts need to extend 10 feet from the home. Because this is a tripping hazard and can be unsightly, bury them underground, and use PVC pipe, which is sturdier and less prone to clogging than the typical black corrugated piping.

Out in the yard, you can install a French drain system, which is perforated pipe surrounded by gravel installed in an 8-10” underground trench. Or the ground can be regarded to create a swale (a shallow drainage ditch) or mound that carries water to a designated collection area.

Sump pump exhaust points need to be at least 10 feet away from your house. Any closer, and waste water goes back to the foundation, causing the sump to keep pumping same water over and over again.

With any of these options, it is an important safety precaution to check with all utility companies about underground lines before digging. And please be a responsible neighbor by insuring the water moving away from your house does not become your neighbor’s problem.


Next to the home, maintain 6” of visible foundation at all times for proper drainage. Keep an eye on the height and slope of mulch as it’s reapplied every year. If it gets too high it will change the water flow next to the house (possibly causing water to go over the foundation or seep into siding and damage it) and provides easier access for termites to do their damage.

Out in the yard, some wet spots can be turned into a rain garden with plantings that can handle constantly wet roots. In the Midwest, trees such as willow, bald cypress and river birch, and indigenous prairie plants like black-eyed susans or purple cone flowers can prosper in these areas. But know that no tree or plant can thrive in a pond, so underlying drainage issues will still have to be addressed before converting a ponding area into a garden.

From roof to curb, water is the biggest and most constant enemy of your home, so is an important issue that requires accurate and long-lasting solutions. Mosby Building Arts specializes in water management for the Metropolitan St. Louis area. Mosby Home Consultants are deeply experienced in analyzing the root cause of residential water problems and solving them right the first time with assistance of the Mosby production team.

Learn more about Mosby Building Arts water & moisture services here.  And to dry up the standing water problems in your yard, call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.

  • Great article as most home owners don’t realize this standing water is a problem. My handyman business has one area where there are ponds all over the place, and I’ve no idea how individual homeowners can deal with these wet areas as obviously there is clay soil preventing the water from percolating down.