Using gravel to control water accumulation

Using gravel to control water accumulation

Do you experience consistent issues at your home or office with water accumulating after rains? Does the ground squish with every step when you walk across the lawn? If this sounds familiar, you likely have drainage problems and they should be addressed as soon as possible. Even a small puddle can grow into a big one, cause all manner of damage, and get very expensive very quickly.

Accumulated water often leads to costly property damage in the form of flooded gardens, ruined landscaping, sinking sidewalks, slippery pathways, drowned container plants, and much more. Savvy homeowners and property managers know the smart strategy is to be familiar with ways to prevent water damage before it’s too late.

Gravel to the rescue

Compared to most soils and virtually every other natural material, water moves through gravel much faster, allowing traditionally wet areas to quickly dry out instead of forming pools all over the place. To help stabilize a surface, some landscapers recommend putting down layers of sand and crushed rock underneath a gravel layer, but even a basic two-inch layer of gravel works wonders to keep puddles at bay and the sand from working its way to daylight.

French drains for the tough stuff

Severe water accumulation problems call for more elaborate and strategic drainage systems. French drains are wildly effective in water diversion. Here’s how they work: A trench filled with gravel directs water away as it rises, and sends it to a more suitable area. Simple French drains simply provide a pathway for water to follow and the gravel within keeps leaves and other debris from piling up and blocking the water flow.

More complex French drains use perforated pipe in the bottom of the trench to help channel it and a gravel layer over the pipe keeps out debris.

Raised bed gravelscaping

Raised beds are great for gardeners to plant their favorites above the surface soil but sometimes a raised bed can have drainage problems of its own, since natural water flow is impeded by the bed sides. A layer of gravel beneath the soil at the bottom of the bed allows water to drain quickly and keep it from accumulating around fragile plant roots.

Container gravel

Similar to raised beds, container gardening is popular for convenience and maintenance but water has a tendency to stay put and waterlog your plants. Use a good soil mix along with a layer of gravel underneath the container itself. Water that evaporates from the damp gravel does a dual service by boosting humidity to the plants.