How to Use Mulch to Limit Ponding


A pond forms when an area is unable to drain properly and eventually becomes inundated with muck and standing water. According to Fine Gardening, this problem is often caused by compacted or clay soils, and it may be remedied by regrading the yard or constructing a drainage system. Altering the water-holding capacities of the soil is another method for eliminating ponding. This method encourages water to seep deeper into the ground rather than pooling on the top of the soil. The use of mulch may assist in modifying the soil in ways that reduce or eliminate ponding.

  1. Make a note of the location that is prone to ponding. Place a length of garden hose around the periphery of the area that is giving you trouble so that it will be obvious when the water level drops.

  2. Make a decision on the kind of mulch that will work best in the area. The material used for mulch may be either organic or inorganic. According to the University of Illinois Extension, organic mulch may be made from a variety of resources such as wood chips, compost, straw, and even leaves. Gravel, decomposed granite, and even man-made items like recycled rubber and processed glass are all examples of inorganic materials that may be used as mulch. Organic mulch decomposes over time and has to be replaced at least once a year; however, it may also be mixed into the soil to enhance the general quality of the soil. Although inorganic mulch will remain for much longer, its usage will limit how the land may be used in the future.

  3. To prevent the formation of a visible pond, fill the area that collects water with mulch to provide a layer that the water can pass through. This will cause the water to no longer collect in the region. Your yard will see an instant improvement as a result of this procedure; but, the underlying issues, such as compacted soil or an inappropriate slope, will not be addressed. Depending on the severity of your ponding issue, it may be helpful to dig a trench across the area and fill it with gravel or another kind of inorganic mulch in order to enhance drainage. This may be done.

  4. Digging down to a depth of at least 8 inches to get below the compacted layer is necessary in order to incorporate organic mulch into the soil using a shovel or rototiller. First, you need determine whether or not the soil can be worked; to do this, pinch a handful of dirt and see whether or not it breaks apart. If it can be rolled into a ball, the consistency is still too moist.

  5. You should rake the mulch so that the surface slopes away from the ponding region, but you should take care not to divert any runoff toward your home. Mulch not only increases the level of the space, but it also raises the level of the area, which prevents water from pooling there. Additionally, the mulch enhances the way the soil drains, which means that water no longer pools on the surface.

    Things You Will Need

    • Garden hose

    • Mulch, organic or inorganic

    • Shovel

    • Rototiller, optional

    • Rake


    If you want outcomes that are both aesthetic and durable over time, include adjustments for ponding in the overall designs for your landscaping.


    By regrading your yard in such a manner that water flows away from the building, you may eliminate ponding issues that are occurring against your house or another structure. In spite of the fact that adding mulch helps to fix surface difficulties, there is still a possibility that the water will not leave the region; thus, you may wind up with sub-surface water pressing against your foundation. Because it will compete with your seedlings for nutrients if you till new organic mulch into the soil just before planting, you should avoid doing so. Allow it to degrade first, or work it into the soil in the autumn, so that it will have time to breakdown before you add plants. Either of these options will ensure that it will happen.