Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget


9
Eliminate Water Worries
Rain can hydrate your thirsty lawn, but if you have a grade problem, it can also lead to water woes.
Rain can hydrate your thirsty lawn, but if you have a grade problem, it can also lead to water woes.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Nature might abhor a vacuum, but it loves water. And seemingly without fail, if you live in a climate where rainfall happens, Mother Nature will find a way to put water where you don't want it.

The way your yard works with (or against) drips, downpours, and deluges can affect your entire landscape project, and if done improperly, can cause serious issues even inside your home. That's why this tip is less about saving money on construction and more about preventing ghastly, costly mistakes.

Runoff and rainfall tend to follow the grade, or slope, of the ground around your home. If you often have water in your basement, a poor grade may contribute to the problem, requiring a dirt-moving project on your part. And if you've never had an interior water problem, you'll want to keep it that way by making sure the grade continues to push water away from the foundation.

Similarly, you may find that after a hard rain, you wind up with standing pools of water in the middle of the yard, providing a nice bedroom community for mosquitos making the commute to your skin. In short, you need to think about how you want to shape the land to make water go where you want it to go…and away from the places you don't.

Proper grading, correctly positioned downspouts and drains, and other factors all change the way water flows through and around your yard. In order to control water, observe your yard before, during, and after a rain shower. Notice any areas where runoff-related erosion is a problem. And then develop your terrain plan accordingly.