Design Your Landscape for Flooding
Prep in and Around Your House | Strengthen Your Home • Floods | Hurricanes
Why does it matter?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, causing billions in economic losses each year. The National Flood Insurance Program states that 90 percent of all United States natural disasters involve flooding, making it essential to do all you can to prevent damage. Your yard and landscape are the best places to start.
What do I need to know?
Where it rains, it can flood. However, you can design your yard to help prevent damage by directing water away from your home and foundation with berms and culverts, planting suitable species to absorb water, and using landscape materials that allow water to flow through to the ground.
Where do I start?
- Encourage water to divert away from your home by taking advantage of any existing ditches or depressions.
- Dig small channels or add soil mounds or berms to route water in the preferred direction where it can empty in a safer area on your property.
- Plant native species with deep roots that tolerate wet soil in a garden at least ten feet away from your home in an area that tends to hold water. These plants will help absorb the excess water.
- Install gutter and downspout diverters to carry water away so that heavy rains do not dump water too close to your home and foundation. Keep your gutters and downspouts clean and debris-free to ensure steady water flow.
- Build up natural barriers with grasses and plants if your house is located by a hill or slope.
- Landscape with pervious materials such as gravel or grass and paver combinations to allow water to absorb more easily into the ground.
- Consider building a retaining wall with stone or brick to redirect water to areas with tolerant plants away from your home.
- Contact your local county or community extension office to learn about the best plants to use in your landscape.