10 Ways How Poor Drainage Damages Your Lawn

Example of how poor drainage damages your lawn

Most people are aware of the fact that poor drainage can cause some problems for their lawns. What they might not realize, however, is just how many different ways poor yard drainage can damage their property.

From killing your grass to causing flooding and even foundation damage, signs of poor yard drainage are nothing to scoff at. Fortunately, a professional irrigation installation and design can remedy most poor drainage issues.

Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of poor drainage and how it damages your lawn.

10 Ways How Poor Drainage Damages Your Lawn

If you suspect that your drainage is not up to par, it is important to take action right away to avoid any further damage, such as subsidence. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the ways in which poor yard drainage can damage your property so you can know if you need to take steps to correct the drainage system in your yard.

Dying Trees Or Grass 

One of the first signs of how poor drainage damages your lawn is dying grass or trees. If you notice that certain areas of your lawn are not growing as well as they should be, it could be due to an inadequate water drainage system.

When water doesn’t drain properly, it can pool on the surface of the ground or oversaturate the soil. This saturation can damage roots and make it difficult for grass to get the oxygen it needs to thrive. This can also cause root rot or wood rot, damaging the trees or grass and making it more susceptible to disease.

In some cases, poor drainage can also cause nutrient deficiencies, as nutrients are leached out of the soil by standing water. As a result, you may see dying patches of grass or even trees. 

Standing Water

Standing water is one of the first signs of how poor drainage damages your lawn. If you notice puddles forming after a rainstorm, it’s important to take action immediately. Standing water causes a number of serious problems for your lawn.

First, the waterlogged soil will become compacted, making it difficult for grass to grow. Second, the water can attract pests, such as mosquitoes and other insects. Third, the water can also lead to mildew and mold growth, which can discolor your grass and make it unsightly. Lastly, puddles of water make it more difficult to mow.

If you have poor drainage, you’ll need to take steps to improve it. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lawn that is unhealthy and unsightly.

Muddy Lawn

Muddy lawn

As noted above, standing water can cause a host of problems with your lawn. However, even if the water eventually evaporates, it leaves behind an unsightly layer of mud.

A muddy lawn is not only aesthetically unattractive, but it is also unhealthy for your grass and trees since the mud can actually smother plants. It also makes it impossible to walk through your lawn without getting mud on your shoes and potentially into your home.

Insect Or Animal Infestations

Another sign of how poor drainage damages your lawn is an insect or animal infestation. The larvae of many insects, such as mosquitoes, cockroaches, and termites, require stagnant water to develop. If your lawn is constantly wet due to poor drainage, it creates the perfect breeding ground for these pests.

Insects aren’t the only creatures that will show up in lawns with poor drainage. Other animals, such as rodents, are naturally attracted to water sources. So if your lawn is constantly wet or has puddles of water, you are more likely to attract unwanted animal guests.

Creatures like mosquitoes and rats are not only a nuisance but can also transmit diseases. If you have a swampy lawn, take action to improve the drainage. Otherwise, you risk damaging your lawn and your health.


Few things are more disheartening to a homeowner than a carpet of moss smothering a lawn. Unfortunately, it’s also a sign of how poor drainage damages your lawn. Moss thrives in damp environments and will quickly take root in areas where water does not drain properly.

Moss will compete with grass for resources, causing the turf grass to thin and die out. Moss is also more susceptible to disease and pests, which can further damage your lawn.

Another problem is moss growth on walkways, driveways, and patios. Not only is moss unsightly, but it can also be dangerous because it makes walkways slippery and increases the risk of falls.


When rain falls on your lawn, it soaks into the ground and then drains away. However, if the drainage is poor, the water can’t drain away quickly enough, and it starts to pool on the surface. This is how poor drainage damages your lawn and causes problems such as erosion.

One way to tell if your lawn is suffering from an erosion problem is to keep an eye on your driveway or sidewalk. If you see the yard’s soil or mulch from your garden beds deposited on your walkways after a rain storm, this is indicative of a runoff issue.

As the water flows over the surface of your lawn, it carries away topsoil, leaving behind exposed roots and compacted soil. Over time, this can cause serious damage to your lawn, leading to bare patches, sinkholes, and other signs of erosion and drainage problems. 

Damage To Concrete Or Asphalt

Closeup of hardscape crack

Any time you see damage to concrete or asphalt, it’s a sign of how poor drainage damages your lawn. Cracks, potholes, and broken concrete are all signs of water damage. When water can’t be absorbed by your lawn, it has to go somewhere, and that’s usually onto your hardscaped property. 

As previously noted, constant moisture on your concrete or asphalt also promotes the growth of moss. Moss tends to grow in areas of poor drainage, and its roots can quickly work their way into cracks and crevices. As the moss grows, it will lift and break apart the concrete or asphalt. The moss will also hold moisture against the surface of the pavement, leading to further deterioration. 

Flooding In Your Basement Or Crawl Space

While a little bit of flooding in your basement or crawl space after heavy rain is normal, frequent or severe flooding is a sign of how poor drainage damages your lawn. Not only will flooding damage your possessions, but it can also promote the growth of mold in your home.

If you notice flooding in your basement or crawlspace, it’s important to take action to correct the poor water drainage problem, such as by clearing a clogged drain. Otherwise, you may be facing serious damage to your home and your lawn.

Foundation Issues

How does poor drainage cause foundation damage? When water stands on your lawn for extended periods of time, it can seep into the soil and put pressure on your foundation. This can lead to cracks in the foundation and affect your home’s structural integrity.

Foundation damage caused by poor drainage on your lawn can also lead to doors and windows sticking. Eventually, the damage to your foundation could require expensive structural repairs. By taking action to improve the drainage on your lawn, you can help prevent foundation issues and keep your lawn healthy.

Foul Odors

Foul odors emanating from your lawn are often a sign of how poor drainage damages your lawn. If you notice foul odors coming from your storm drains or from anywhere else on your property, this could be a sign of clogged drains or that there is stagnant water somewhere around your home.

When water can’t flow freely through the soil, it pools on the surface and rots organic matter, creating an ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms that release noxious gases. Poor drainage also promotes fungal growth, which not only fouls the air but eventually kills grass and other plants by depriving them of oxygen. 

How To Improve Drainage On Your Lawn

Example of a point drain

There are a number of steps you can take to mitigate poor drainage on your lawn.

Check the grading around your house: The land should slope away from your home’s foundation to encourage water runoff. If it doesn’t, you may need to regrade the area using a shovel or bobcat.

Install French drains: You can also install French drains or other yard drains to help move excess water away from problem areas. These drainage systems are composed of perforated pipes buried beneath the ground that collect runoff and direct water away from your yard. You can even install a drainage system under your deck.

Aeration: Another solution is core aeration, which involves removing plugs of grass and soil from your lawn using a machine or by hand. This process allows water, air, and fertilizer to reach the roots more easily. It can alleviate drainage issues by allowing more water to be absorbed by the soil.

Fertilize your grass: Be sure to fertilize regularly and mow at the proper height to promote strong root growth, which will help your lawn withstand heavy rains and flooding better. 

Get A Better Drainage System From Simmons Landscape & Irrigation

There are many signs of how poor water drainage damages your lawn. Some issues, such as puddles of water, are more than just an eyesore; they can also lead to serious health hazards. Other problems, such as erosion, can damage the foundation of your home.

The good news is that Simmons Landscape & Irrigation can help you out. We’re experts in proper drainage systems and irrigation installation, and we can make sure that your lawn is healthy and happy.

Just give us a call or fill out our contact form today. We’ll be happy to assess your situation and help you find the best solution for your needs.