The Atlanta area gets more than 40 inches of annual rainfall… how well does your lawn stand up against the rainy Georgia weather? If your lawn is a muddy mess during the rainy season, you’re not alone. It may feel like an uphill battle (especially if your lawn isn’t graded properly) but there are things you can do to prevent a soggy lawn even in Georgia’s rainy season. We’ve listed five simple ways to improve your lawn’s drainage below.
1. Amend Your Soil
Georgia is famous for its clay. This is more common in the northern areas of the state, but you can find clay-heavy soil statewide. Other areas of the state have very sandy soils. Still other areas have sandy and loamy soil. No matter what the makeup of your soil is, if your yard is flooding regularly, the soil composition may be the culprit. In clay-heavy regions, such as Northern Georgia, soil can become compacted over time. When soil is compacted it loses its ability to drain well. On the inverse, very sandy soils usually let too much water through. When this happens, nutrients are lost. Over time, your grass may become weak or thin as nutrients wash away. Work with a professional landscaper to determine your soil’s composition and find out what soil amendment is right for your property. Great lawns start with great soil!
2. Aerate Your Lawn
Where there is water, there is compaction. For warm-season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia, Legacy Turf Farms recommends aerating in the spring or summer. This may come as a surprise! Usually, aerating a lawn is recommended in the fall. In the case of warm-season grasses, it’s actually best to avoid aerating in cooler weather. This is because fall and winter are “off seasons” for these grasses. Aerating sets lawns up for future success, but it adds stress to a lawn in the short term. If you stress your warm-season grasses too much in their off-seasons, it can impede their growth in the “on seasons.” It’s for this reason that we recommend you only aerate your warm-season grasses in the spring or early summer. For cool-season grasses, aerating in the fall is fine!
3. Regrade Your Yard
The “grade” of your yard refers to the slope of the ground. Water runs downhill, so lawns growing on a slope often have pooling water in the low points of the lawn. In addition to causing muddy and swampy spots, this can also have negative effects on your home. If your house is at the bottom of the grade and water pools around the foundation, it can cause damage or flooding to your home. Regrading can help correct an improper slope and help with drainage. This is a more extreme fix, so it’s usually recommended to consider all of your other options first. Legacy Turf Farms recommends that you contact a professional landscaper for an assessment to see if a regrade is an option for your home.
4. Incorporate Water Into Your Landscaping
If for some reason any of the above-listed strategies aren’t feasible options for you there’s still hope! With the amount of yearly rain we get in the South, it’s possible to incorporate water into your landscaping. After all, there’s only so much that amendments, aeration, and grading can do. If your yard is steeply graded or has small mounds or hills, a French drain could be an option. These systems rely on gravity to draw water down. Then, that water can be redirected elsewhere. Rain gardens and dry creek beds offer attractive alternatives to a swampy or flooded lawn. Contact an experienced landscape designer and discuss your options. With the right plan in place, you can enjoy a beautiful and mud-free lawn year-round.
5. Keep Your Lawn Healthy
Healthy sod can actually play a huge role in promoting good drainage. Healthy drainage in turn promotes healthy sod! The rhizomes, stolons, and leaves of turf grasses help promote good yard drainage in a few different ways. Firstly, sod can prevent soil erosion as healthy root systems can physically hold the soil in place. Secondly, those same roots penetrate down into the soil, leaving an easy path down into the ground for rain and water. Finally, healthy sod acts as a water buffer. It disperses water more evenly across a surface and can also slow down the rate of water flow, again preventing soil erosion! Sod does all of this more successfully than seeded grass, especially in areas with a slope. If you’re trying to lay down seeds in a rainy season, it’s common to have to reseed an area multiple times. This is because the newly seeded grass doesn’t have a strong root system to hold it in place. Heavy rains or running water can pull this freshly seeded grass right out of the ground. In comparison, sod can be placed down with sod staples. These staples hold the sod in place even before the roots have fully grown!