Sump Pump Draining into Yard? Why? What Can I do About it?

A sump pump in the crawl space or basement has been designed to keep the house dry, but it may result in the yard becoming a muddy mess. Why the yard is flooding may, or may not, be related to the sump pump draining into yard problems.

A sump pump draining into yard caused puddle next to a backyard fence.
Mosquitoes can breed in a water puddle in the yard that’s only half an inch deep.

Why Does My Sump Pump Flood My Yard?

Although it is extremely important to use a sump pump to prevent your basement from flooding, this can cause the yard to flood. This can in turn result in several other problems like water flooding the neighbor’s yard or just a soggy yard.

Although a yard will normally be wet after a strong rainstorm, it’s a problem if it stays wet for more than a day. This means that the ground isn’t able to drain all the water. Puddles and soggy soil can’t be maintained or used, and it also attracts mosquitoes and other pests.

A basement sump pump draining into yard should discharge water away from the house so that it does not re-enter the house. This could however cause puddles in the yard.

Poor Yard Water Drainage Can Be Caused by Clay Soil and a High-Water Table

In many parts of the United States, you will find clay soil if you dig through the topsoil. This clay can severely slow down water when it tries to pass through it. This will cause yards to flood after heavy rains.

Shallow groundwater is also common in many parts of America. As the soil is already saturated it means rainwater can’t permeate into the ground.

If you live close to a swamp, lake, natural spring, or river, it often means the water table is high. The water table will rise towards the ground surface during heavy rain and it will force the water through basement walls and floors. This will result in a sump pump activating to pump the water back outside. This water will then flood the yard as the ground is already saturated.

Use Approved Locations to Drain Sump Pump Water

The best place for a yard sump pump to drain water in cities is into the street’s drainage system. Don’t pump the water into the city’s sewage system. Not only is that illegal, but the water could also back up through sewer drains into your basement or the neighbor’s.

Cities all have different regulations. Here is one example:

In the City Of Eden Prairie MN which is a suburb of Minneapolis MN the City Ordinance says:

“No water from any roof, downspout, eave trough, rain spout, yard drain, surface, groundwater, sump pump, footing tile or swimming pool, foundation drain, yard fountain, pond, cistern overflow, air conditioning unit or system, areaway drain, industrial process, or other natural precipitation shall be discharged into the sewerage system… If a city drain tile or storm sewer system is available to the property, connection of said discharges to these systems shall be mandatory.”

If the area where you live doesn’t have street storm drains, check with the local government to determine how you can dispose of the water properly. You may find that there is a drainage ditch next to the road where you can direct your sump pump discharge into.

Another option is to create a water garden using plants that love being soaked in water.

Teenagers planting a rain garden.
Sump pump discharge water can be soaked up by a rain garden like this one. These annual wildflowers would be an excellent choice that also attacts butterflies and bees. 

Home Owners in Rural Areas Should Consider Dry Wells and French Drains

Dry wells can be used in areas where excess water does not drain easily and the sump pump draining into yard creates puddles. Dry wells  collect water underground and allows it to seep into the earth over time. Depending on the type of soil, the water may however drain too slowly to really be effective.

One solution to this problem is to increase the dry well’s size. You could also use a French drain to move the water to where it can drain away.

In extreme cases, you may have to use a yard sump pump at the French drain to pump the water even further away.

Does The Sump Pump Drain into The Yard Continuously?

Automatic basement sump pumps will pump water as long as it flows into the sump basin. This means that water is somehow flowing into the basement. Why it flows into the basement will determine the solution to the problem.

As mentioned before, this may be due to the water table being high. It is however also possible that the water that is pumped out of the basement ultimately flows back. To prevent this from happening, ensure that the sump pump’s discharge is far away from the house. Consider using a sump pump drain hose. 

Also make sure that water from roof gutter downspouts and the sump pump flows away from the house. Oftentimes this is accomplished by using an underground pipe that discharges into the street.

Large puddle in the backyard. This is what happens when the basement sump pump discharges into a yard with poor soil drainage.
This is what happens when the basement sump pump discharges into a yard with poor soil drainage.

Backyard Flooding Can Be Caused by Poor Soil Drainage

Clay and compacted soil will often prevent surface water from draining through the ground. This may lead to a flooded yard even when the sump pump does not operate.

To prevent this, the yard should be sloped away from the flooded area or house, allowing the water to drain away naturally.

Another solution would be to mix huge amounts of sand into the soil, although this is rather drastic.

The solution most commonly used is to add a French drain or dry well. You may however also need an outside sump pump to help with the French drain or dry well.

A Broken Water Pipe Drains into the Yard

If your water bill is higher than normal, this may indicate that you have a broken water pipe somewhere.

The city water line often runs for a long distance underneath the house and this line may leak. Although you may notice a wet spot on the basement floor if this happens, the wet spot may also be due to a high-water table.

When a water pipe inside of a wall is leaking, you will see that the floor and/or the wall is wet.

If your yard is wet when it hasn’t rained, it may be an indication of a broken city main water pipe. Broken pipes inside your property are your responsibility to repair.

Related articles:

Zoeller M53 Sump Pump Review. Best Value, Clog Free, Reliable

Zoeller M84 Pedestal Sump Pump Review (Zoeller 84-0001)

Zoeller M98 Sump Pump Review 1/2 HP Effluent and Dewatering

Sump Pump vs French Drain System for Yard: Do I Need Both?

Sump Pump Draining into Yard? Why? What Can I do About it?

Do I Need a Backyard Sump Pump with a Dry Well or French Drain?

Richard Quick author at Best Sump Pumps
Richard Quick
Author at Best Sump Pumps

The first time I helped to install a drain tile and basement sump pump system was 1978.

Since then I have worked for a city water utility where I worked with and maintained pumps.

My rental properties and personal homes all needed sump pumps.

As a modular home dealer/builder, those new homes needed sump pumps.

I put that experience to good use by providing reliable, useful, and practical advice on buying, using, and maintaining sump pumps.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top