Get your ground game on

May 2, 2014

erin_doan_agency 031514Good Neighbor Tips. A blog by Erin Doan State Farm Insurance Agency.

If water isn’t draining correctly around your property, you could be in for some major headaches: bogs in your lawn, cracked foundations and seepage in your basement, landscaping that washes down your slopes and more.


The culprit often is soil erosion. These five tips may help you remedy an erosion problem and protect the integrity and aesthetics of your property.

  1. Plant hardy species.

  2. Add groundcover plants, native species and grasses to keep soil intact. If you have existing plants in an erosion-prone area, leave them—and their root structures—intact to help prevent erosion. Contact a nursery or your state extension office to learn which plants work best in your region.

  3. Regrade away from the house.

  4. To properly drain water away from your house, your yard must be lower than the level of soil at the base of your house. Use clean fill dirt for your project: It compacts harder and helps hold the slope better than topsoil. While you may be able to tackle smaller areas yourself, seek the assistance of a landscape professional for advice about bigger jobs.

  5. While you’re looking around your home for drainage problems, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and functioning properly, and that water from the downspout is directed well away from your foundation.

  6. Improve your soil.

  7. Add compost, peat moss and/or manure once per year to help build up weakened soils and improve the chance for drainage rather than runoff.

  8. Add mulch.

  9. When you cover bare spots with mulch or loose straw, you help protect the dirt underneath from being washed away. Cover the bald area completely, accumulating at least 2 to 3 inches of mulch for best results. If you’re in a particularly windy region, mulch may stay put longer than loose straw. Mulch “matting” provides larger areas of cover and decomposes over time to improve the soil. Mulch can attract termites, so when applying mulch around your home, keep it around 6 inches from the foundation.

  10. Build structures.

  11. A retaining wall can often slow or redirect the flow of water down a sloped yard. Your property may also be suitable for a rain garden, which helps collect rainwater and allows it to drain into the ground slowly and naturally.

Contact a landscaping professional to get specific guidance for reducing erosion around your yard. And get more tips on lawn preparation from State Farm®.