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Yard Drainage with Clay Soil In Los Angeles

Many Los Angeles homeowners find their yards equipped with clay soil, but not all homeowners understand what that means for their yard drainage system.

Since clay soil is particularly dense, it can pose unique challenges to yard drainage for California homeowners. Discover how you can best structure your LA yard drainage system if you have a clay soil yard.

Related: 7 Signs You Have a Drainage Problem In Your Yard

What Makes Clay Soil Unique?

How does clay soil differ from other types of soil? Many Los Angeles homeowners have found themselves asking this question. Unlike more traditional soil, clay soil, which can be found in many LA yards, is a mixture of clay, silt, and sand. These different properties have water particles that range from very fine for clay to large for sand, with silt containing medium-sized particles.

soil grading

While silt can absorb water, it is unable to retain it. Meanwhile, sand cannot absorb water at all and clay has particles that are packed very densely.

Overall, these various features can be tricky to work with in unison. Although clay soil is nutrientrich, Los Angeles homeowners with clay soil yards are likely aware that it can be problematic to deal with. While some people try to fight their clay soil, the best choice is to integrate a drainage system into their yard that will work with their soil. However, this requires a bit of personalized care.

Related: What To Do About Water Damage To Your House

Clay Soil Challenges For LA Homeowners

Clay soil can pose a major problem when it comes to yard drainage, as it tends to group in tight layers that permit proper yard drainage from occurring. Drainage issues will therefore routinely occur following periods of rainfall. However, it is possible to design a yard drainage system that can address yard drainage problems for a property that contains clay soil.

When it comes to installing a yard drainage system, it’s necessary to incorporate one that can work well in a clay soil yard. Some yard contractors will add a layer of topsoil on top of the clay soil to try and disguise the clay soil. However, this will only add more problems down the line. It’s therefore necessary for LA homeowners to team up with a yard drainage professional and explore one of the trusted yard drainage solutions for yards with clay soil.

Option 1: Amend the Soil

One yard drainage option for clay soil is to amend the soil. This can be done when heavy clay traps water on the surface. It is a rather simple solution, although it requires repetition and time to work. This process will help to loosen the soil and improve the movement of water. Amending the soil can bring many beneficial organisms into the soil, such as earthworms and insects, which can improve the nutrient level of the soil.

Amending the soil is different from compacting the clay soil and adding a layer of topsoil, which should not be done. It instead involves adding compost and organic matter into the clay soil so that over time the composition of the clay soil changes. Several years of mixing in compost, manure, and other organic matter will change the composition of the soil. However, this is a process that will have to be routinely repeated. It is also only recommended for clay soil that also contains silt and sand, as opposed to a more pure form of clay soil.

Related: How to Solve Common French Drain Problems

Drainage installation

Option 2: Attractive Solutions For LA Homeowners

Los Angeles homeowners have several creative and functional yard drainage options that work well with clay soil. One option is a dry riverbed or dry creek bed installation, which is a shallow stonelined trench that collects extra water and redirects it to a lower area for appropriate drainage. 

LA homeowners often favor this yard drainage solution, as dry riverbeds can be customized and combined with many natural elements that allow them to blend into the yard.

Homeowners can also incorporate rain gardens into their LA properties to create an attractive outlet for excess water. Rain gardens can be beautiful areas equipped with waterabsorbing greenery and flowers. Skilled contractors know how to strategically arrange such plants in the yard to maximize yard drainage, which increases the appeal of the yard design. Many plants tolerate wet soil and can be incorporated into the yard drainage design.

Option 3: Available Drainage System Installations

There are several yard drainage systems that can be installed with clay soil. French drains work well in many yards, including LA properties that have clay soil. French drains consist of a perforated pipe that is placed in a gravel-filled trench to remove water away from the property. They are favored for the seamless design that allows them to blend into any property, as they can be covered by landscaping. A rain garden can also be put at the end of the French drain.

Channel and trench drains are another choice for popular yard drainage systems. These surface drain solutions are popular in Los Angeles for homes with clay soil, as they are tasked with rapidly removing surface water. Channel drains are installed along paved surfaces and can be incorporated into the yard as a practical yet appealing part of the design element to help the yard contend with standing water due to issues with soil absorption.

Call California Foundation Works Today!

At California Foundation Works, we are proud to be your onestop shop for all home construction needs in Los Angeles. From retrofits to repairs to home replacements and yard drainage system installations, our team is ready to meet your needs as a LA homeowner.

We offer custom solutions that are designed to meet the exact needs of our clients and are tailored to their unique properties. This allows for projects to have durability and reliability. Whether you are seeking a home repair, are looking to expand your usable living space, or are concerned about an area of your LA home, give us a call. We are happy to answer your questions and address any concerns you might have.

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