Draining a clay yard

Asked December 6, 2017, 10:42 PM EST

My back yard receives runoff from all of the surrounding land as it's in the lowest point - thus running a French drain doesn't do much as the water has no where to go. From reviewing local well records, there is likely ~50' of clay before more permeable sandy soils are reached. I'm currently considering two options or a combination of these two; 1. Dig a dry well. 2. Contract someone to drill through the clay layer so I can install a vertical wick drain. A large retention dry well would be easy enough for me to handle on my own but I'm worried that practically it will still become flooded as it will not drain the water into the clay quickly enough. On the other hand, contracting a drill rig is expensive and it's only my estimate that they'd have to drill 50', it could be much deeper. Please reach out if you have any suggestions or ideas, thanks!

Milwaukee County Wisconsin

1 Response

Thank you for contacting Ask an Expert. It sounds like you have a serious drainage issue, so you need to consult a professional who can do an assessment of your particular problem. There must be a positive outlet for the excess water; however, I cannot advise you on how to accomplish this. I suggest you look for drainage specialists who have the requisite engineering and hydraulics experience. Your county extension agent may be able to refer you.