I have a long and skinny backyard that is half tile and half weeds and dirt. There is a spot right off of the tile that the dirt dips down and creates a shallow hole that fills up with water whenever we water the nearby planter. This dip is right smack in the middle of my yard and cuts off half of the usable space.
I am going to be having company over very soon and I need a way for people to be able to walk over the muddy spot without putting their feet in mud. I am thinking about just laying a piece of plywood down but I was wondering if anyone had any better suggestions? I'm all ears!
Post a picture.
Most often just raising the grade will work.
I'm not sure why the photo is showing sideways in my post but I hope that helps.
My concern about plywood would be that it (or any other porous material) would become saturated or at least in contact at certain points with the water, which appears to be substantial.
I suppose that would depend, however, on how much of the plywood would be just above the water or actually in it. In the photo, it looks as though the water is at ground level on both sides. Perhaps if you use a large piece of plywood which extends beyond the puddle it might be more stable. Anything you put over it should extend well beyond the puddle edges anyway.
I'm also wondering why the water is puddling in this particular area, which does seem to be lower and more vulnerable that the surrounding ground. Has it always puddled, or just since you've had a planter nearby?
You're right about being concerned that the plywood could become saturated, I'm worried about that too.
There are two reasons the water puddles there. One is that we made the mistake of trying to dig out the crabgrass and realized that it was a much bigger job then we could handle. As you can see in the photo, we didn't accomplish much more than making an even bigger mess than before. And second is because the planter is designed to drain out to the grass area if it is over watered. When we or our neighbor whose planter backs up to ours, over waters it drains out to the grass area and then puddles and takes forever to evaporate.
I understand undertaking a job before realizing it's too big a job to handle - "been there, done that!"
There's not much that can be done about your neighbor's planter unless he/she moves it, but maybe putting some sand down on the puddle might help absorb some of the water when the planters drain. I suppose a length of hose could be inserted at the drain hole of the planter so that the water could be diverted - that might at least take away from of the water.
I had thought about putting sand in the hole as well but I was worried that it would just turn into an even bigger muddy mess. Is there a way to keep that from happen?
What about using pebbles?
(Thank you so much for your input by the way)
I think what I would do is add some sand to just one spot and see how much is necessary to soak up some of the water. Peat moss will also absorb water; I used to add it to my soil mix when transplanting or planting ornamentals. If you have dried grass clippings or compost you could add that as well.
The reason I suggested sand is because it's what was added by the developer to my property, which I'm told used to be a swamp. When I dug down perhaps a foot in some areas, I reached damp sand and the fragrance one smells on approaching a public beach - that indescribable fragrance of water. In fact, I felt like I was at a public beach!
Pebbles might act as a stabilizer at the base of the hole, but I don't think they would do much more than that. I wouldn't feel comfortable walking on them. And when you do have a chance to stabilize the area, there will be all those pebbles there, although I don't think they would cause any harm to anything you might want to plant. In fact, I used to add small rocks and pebbles to the base of my container plants.
If you have any clay pots, the reddish kind that gardeners used before plastic became the norm, you could break them up and add them. They're absorbent and more porous than pebbles.
I'm wondering if for the occasion when you have company you could create a temporary alternate path around that area, just placing some patio stones or steppers outside the area enough that they don't sink but are on stable ground. Alternately, you could take advantage of the little bog and plant some bog plants.
And, you're quite welcome for the advice, for what it's worth. The only time I've dealt with ponding water was at another house with steep front and back yard slopes, and there was so much instability in the back yard ditch that I just stayed away from it. It wasn't safe, as I learned after sinking into the mud about 1 1/2 inches.
These are all really great ideas! I will definitely be adding sand to the hole and one of the absorbent materials that you suggested. Haven't decided which one yet.
I'm not sure there is enough room to put a stepping stone path around the muddy mess but maybe after I add the sand the edges will be strong enough to hold stepping stones.
Thank you GardenSprite!
hope those are stepping stones to the left. if they are access covers for a septic system, you have more problems than you know about.
since you mentioned stepping stones in the last post ahead of this... I would not mess around with temporary fixes. do it once for the same labor.
if you're not going to fix the whole weedy yard, why not just dig a deep ol' pit and drain the water for good? it's called a French drain, and it's a deep pit full of stone that allows fast drainage and a dry top. the top surface should be level to the block patio and pervious to water, so a layer of gravel would be good, perhaps drop two more stepping stones to go around it.
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
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