Between melting winter snow and early spring rains, we’re approaching that time of year when the soil in our yards and under our homes swells with excess moisture. When this moisture leaches out of the soil, settlement occurs and, when uneven, it can lead to drainage problems.
As long as the soil beneath your home expands and contracts uniformly, there’s little to worry about. Problems can arise when the dry soil under one side of your foundation is contracting while the wet soil on the other side is expanding. This causes your foundation to heave and crack, which can lead to cracks and separations throughout your home’s interior.
Poor drainage can damage your foundation
If you think the only downside to poor drainage is tiptoeing around water puddles when it rains, consider this: foundation repair can cost up to $30,000 or more, and most homeowner insurance policies don’t cover it.
Avoiding costly foundation repairs is probably your biggest incentive to maintain good yard drainage, but it is by no means the only reason.
Puddles: an invitation for mosquitoes to join your backyard parties
In addition to carrying diseases like West Nile virus, malaria and encephalitis, mosquitoes are also responsible for hosting and delivering heartworms to our dogs and cats. Those little bloodsuckers thrive on moisture, laying their eggs in standing water. They don’t need a lake; all it takes is an ounce for most mosquitoes to lay eggs, though some species require only a damp patch of soil to turn your backyard into a nursery.
What happened to my petunias? It could be drainage-related lawn disease and erosion
Many of the fungal-based diseases that attack our lawns love moisture. Excessive water also prevents grass, plants and trees from getting the nutrients they need to survive. When the ground cover dies, it leaves behind unprotected soil which is susceptible to more damage and erosion.
So if you see pooling water, soggy spots, gullies or other signs of poor drainage, it’s probably a good time to have a professional landscaper check it out. You'll be glad you did.