We’ve seen firsthand how damaging a solid downpour can be to our homes and even worse, the environment.

If it seems like the rains have been worse lately, you’re definitely not imagining it.

During the 20th century, sea levels rose about 15 cm (approximately 6 inches) due to the expansion of warmer seawater. It has been predicted that the sea level may still rise as much as 59cm (23 inches) in the 21st century.
Not only can the downpour have damaging consequences for your property, the inconvenience of a waterlogged house is not palatable!

  • Without a significant vegetation for the water to sink into, the rain will sweep across the streets and that could cause water to carry pesticides into the water system.
  • What’s the point of having a yard if you have to avoid it when it’s flooded? It is a big annoyance to see your yard’s waterlogged. All you can do is wait out the yard until it has completely dried out- it can take days!
  • The worst nightmare that happens is water entering your home and causing cracks on your walls, molds, destroying valuable items and other problems. This can happen when water sits close to your house’s foundations.
  • There’s also the big annoyance of mosquitoes. If water surrounds your area for days at a stretch, then it’s prime for mosquito eggs to hatch. How do you control that?

Let’s fix it. But first, we have to understand the problem

Drainage is not automatic. Soil can never completely absorb water.

Water ALWAYS follows gravity. The water will pull from all high points and end up in the lowest point. When water falls on the ground, it does not immediately penetrate the soil, it instead runs down to wherever gravity may pull it. And then flooding happens at the place where drainage occurs poorly.

So the most important issue to consider when dealing with flooding is to consider where the water is coming from and how it travels on your property.

For instance, if you have water trickling down from your roof onto your yard, then you need to find a way to divert the excess water.

If it happens that the water does end up in your yard, here are suggestions of how gardening can help you mitigate the effects of flooding.

Plant Life

Want to naturally avert water damage? Plant.

However, you have to plant specific varieties of trees, shrubs, and plants. A good rule of thumb is to pick plants that require little watering and have the capacity to withstand water damage if your garden is flooded.

One valid trick is to:

Place plants with high wet-soil tolerance in the centre: The reason for this is simple. The plants at the edge will drain quickly while the middle will remain submerged. So the trick is to have plants that have high water tolerance in the middle ready to absorb that excess pool of water.

Rain gardens- which is what they are called, do not redirect water. What they do is to provide a place for the downpour to pool. Doing this gives the water the chance to get absorbed back into the soil.

An example of these plants include:

1. Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) –  This beautiful shrub has Candle like blooms which appear in midsummer. Its roots can absorb a fair amount of water.

Credit: The dirt on gardening

2. Canna is also a great plant for growing in standing water. Known as ‘Black Knight’, it could be one of the plants in the middle of your garden or where you anticipate a huge pool of water.

Credit: P-interest

3. Ferns and heliconias like moist soil and so can withstand some flooding.

Try landscape grading

If your yard cannot drain excess water, you can create a natural feature that will assist in proper drainage, consequently decreasing the likelihood of pooling water.

Landscape grading carries water from your structures during rainy periods. An artificial slope is constructed thereby directing the water where you want the water to go (could be where you have your wet-soil tolerant plants).

Swales also come in useful;. They could be natural or artificial. It is a shallow ditch or space in a landscape that directs water flow and helps with drainage. The amount of water they need to move will determine the size and structure of the swale constructed,

Here are other suggestions you may find useful:
1. Ensure water courses are left open.

2.Dispose of your refuse properly

3. Plant some of these shrubs close to the house so they stop the water from entering

4. Plant green manure.

5. Concrete drives do more harm than good. Get rid of them.

6. If your soil is sodden, leave it be. Don’t walk or drive over it.

Like we explained above, If your home garden is flooded,  there are actions you can take to assist with water drainage.

But, first, you have to determine where you’ll be channeling excess water before you start getting rid of it. It won’t do to send off that water to a neighbour’s house!

Which of the suggestions do you think will be useful? Let us know.